Archaeology rocks- Council for British Archaeology

Archaeology Matters

CBA volunteering

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The Council for British Archaeology is at the heart of the UK's archaeology community. Our aim is to create opportunities for archaeology for all and open up this fascinating field to everyone.

We keep you in touch with what's happening in UK archaeology, whether you want to take part in a dig or join your local archaeological society.

We also offer a number of ways you can get involved with us through volunteering, from helping to protect historic buildings, to getting involved with your local CBA Group or inspiring young people through our Young Archaeologists' Club.

Join our First World War community recording project

Are you researching local places, buildings and sites associated with the First World War and its Home Front, or have you discovered associations through your family history research?

The CBA is developing a site recording toolkit, including an online form, for centenary projects across the UK. The form will capture local knowledge and submit it to the relevant Historic Environment Record or Sites and Monuments Record. Enhancing our understanding of the physical legacy of the Great War will enrich our history and influence future protection.

The recording form, thesaurus and guide has been produced by the CBA in partnership with English Heritage, the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers UK, the Welsh Trusts, Cadw, Historic Scotland, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Archaeology Scotland, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency  and the Legacies of the Home Front project led by the University of Bristol and the University of York.

The toolkit can be found on the  on the Home Front Legacy website.

Take part in a dig

The CBA is here to keep you in touch with what's happening in UK archaeology, visit the Discover section for resources and links.

  • Many excavations and projects welcome volunteer help, though some may make a charge for this. Check out our regular CBA Briefing for fieldwork opportunities.
  • You may be able to volunteer with your local archaeology group or society. To find out what’s happening in your area, visit our Archaeology Online section, and join in the conversation in the CBA’s Community Archaeology Forum.
  • Some commercial archaeological companies and units will accept volunteers and this can provide a great opportunity to work alongside and learn from a team of professional archaeologists working within commercial archaeology*. Visit our Archaeology Online section for a list of archaeological companies and contractors which you could contact.

*Please note that some units may be reluctant to take volunteers due to health and safety concerns, and because the fast-pace and short-term nature of much commercial work may not suit the needs of a volunteer.

Help to protect historic buildings

The Council for British Archaeology receives more than 4000 listed building consent applications a year for England and Wales.  Our role in the planning system is to flag up any issues of concern in order to protect the historic environment.

Much of our listed building casework is carried out by local agents: historic buildings interest groups who make site visits and assess the impact of proposals on the character and significance of the historic building and site.

We are looking for new volunteers to cover parts of the country where we have no agent group to advise on listed building cases. Ideally, the group will have a good knowledge of the area’s built heritage and history and can read plans and drawings, although some training is provided.

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Inspire young people

Our Young Archaeologists' Club has a network of local YAC Branches around the country who rely on teams of volunteers to run them. We are always looking for new adults to get involved as Branch Leaders, Assistants and Helpers.

YAC Branches offer their members a huge range of different activities. You might find yourself organising and running activities to help young people:

  • Find out how archaeologists excavate
  • Try their hand at historic crafts such as spinning and weaving or flint knapping
  • Visit archaeological or heritage sites
  • Try out food from different periods of time
  • take part in a real live dig!

Help is also needed to run the Branch and look after membership administration.

Get involved with your local CBA Group

The network of voluntary CBA Groups around the UK provide information and resources, carry out and publish their own research and organise events and activities to raise the profile of archaeology and encourage more people to get involved. Get in touch with your local Group to find out more volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer at the CBA office

Here at the CBA secretariat in York, there are often opportunities to contribute to conservation and community projects and help us with our day-to-day work.

We are also looking for CBA champions to help raise our profile at a local level and promote our membership programme.

Volunteering FAQs

If you have a passion for archaeology and would like to get more involved, read our FAQs to point you in the right direction.

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