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The Archaeology Field School – University of Reading

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  • Dig into the past

    Visit the University of Reading's Archaeology Field School

The Archaeology Field School

Develop your practical skills at the University of Reading Archaeology Field School. You'll get hands-on experience as you encounter the past and explore exciting excavations.

At our field school, you will be introduced to the techniques of a dig, from recognising archaeological contexts and features on the site through to cleaning, excavating and recording them. You will gain direct experience in all aspects of the excavation, from recognising ancient artefacts to learning how to read the wider landscape.

As well as technical expertise, the Field School will help you to develop transferable skills including observation and understanding, problem solving, team work and communication skills. You can tailor your experience at the Field School to suit your developing interests.

The Field School is currently excavating in the Vale of Pewsey the ancient land between the famous prehistoric monuments of Avebury and Stonehenge in a collaborative project with Historic England.

“This experience at the 'sharp end' of archaeology confirmed my love for this subject, and I felt I was part of a fascinating investigation into the past of our ancestors. Furthermore, I gained skills in [artefact] cleaning and recording, and improved my communication skills by creating friendships and assisting with numerous visits from the public.”

Emily Channon – second-year archaeology student


Your working week on site will begin on Monday with half a day's introduction to the site and to the field techniques being used, followed by an up-to-date site tour.

Members of the project team will then talk to you about the use of excavation tools and how to dig, the collection and treatment of artefacts, and how to record what you excavate.

During the week you will be given an introduction to the paper record system and the on-site database used at the Field School. You will also have the opportunity to attend short talks on other aspects of site recording such as surveying, planning, site photography and the use of environmental techniques.

On your first day at the excavation you will be assigned to a site supervisor and will begin digging as soon as possible. Supervisors will be on hand to give you constant guidance and you will be placed on each of the various site rotas, allowing you to try your hand at all aspects of excavation.

“I found the Field School to be both challenging and confidence-rewarding, because it enabled me to test my archaeological knowledge in a practical way but also build on the skills I had begun to develop before university.”

Madeleine Firestone – second-year archaeology student

Find out more about the Field School


​Apply for an A-level bursary

We are offering a small number of competitive bursaries to A-level students wishing to study archaeology at university.

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