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Archaeology Matters

Community Archaeology Bursaries Project


The CBA Community Archaeology Bursaries Project provided year-long workplacements for 51 community archaeologists across the UK.

The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Skills for the Future programme, with additional support from English Heritage, Cadw and Historic Scotland. The project enabled the CBA to offer year-long workplace learning bursaries designed to equip would-be community archaeologists with the skills, experience and confidence to work with voluntary groups and communities.

  • Read about the experiences of one of our placements.

Project aims

  • To equip individuals with the skills to work effectively in community archaeology
  • To enhance the capacity of the heritage sector to deliver sustainable training and share good practice
  • To demonstrate the value of heritage skills to modern life
Big Dig excavation team excavating test pit in Ochil Gardens, Dunning, August 2012
‘Professional on-the-job training in community archaeology’

Council for British Archaeology workplace learning bursaries

Workplace learning

Bursary holders learn by directly working with line managers, training providers and mentors at their host organisations in order to acquire the skills needed to run and support effective community archaeology projects.

The skills being acquired and developed are the kind of ‘soft’ or intangible skills that are needed when working with the voluntary sector and young people in particular. These include:

  • Interpersonal skills, for example: social skills, empathy, listening skills and coping with authority
  • Organisational skills, such as: personal organisation, and the ability to order and prioritise
  • Analytical skills, such as: the ability to exercise judgement, manage time or solve problems
  • Personal skills, for example: insight, motivation, confidence, reliability and health awareness


Placements are structured and monitored with an Independent Learning Agreement; this sets out SMART objectives for the year and is driven by the needs of the individual and the opportunities available within the host organisation. Reflective learning is reinforced throughout the placement with completion of monthly journals, an ongoing learning log and submission of a portfolio of the trainee's work for the NVQ in Archaeological Practice

Our first cohort of Community Archaeology trainees, December 2011

Bursary cohorts

Executed in five cohorts over a three-year period, the project provides a total of 51 paid bursary placements; of these, half had a specific focus on developing ‘youth-engagement’. 

Placement hosts

Placements were hosted by strategically identified heritage organisations across the UK that had existing experience of delivering strong and effective community archaeology programmes.

Current and previous hosts comprise a range of organisations and include:

  • Archaeological and Heritage Trusts
  • Commercial units
  • Local and National Park authorities
  • University departments
  • National museums
Placement line-managers and mentors receiving recognition, March 2012
Heritage Lottery Fund logo
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