Archaeology rocks- Council for British Archaeology

Archaeology Matters


Here is a list of excavations we have been informed about going on across the country. Please note that these are not organised by the CBA and we cannot accept responsibility for operating conditions of projects.

Roman Road Research & Excavations

Easter, May, and August Bank Holidays 2020

Chichester, from £10 per person

Easter 2020

At Exton the Grid of a potential Roman site has been found. Three Roman Road lanes go into the Grid, two go through it and on under Old Winchester Hill. The fourth 40' lane takes a different route - but connects with the N - S Grid of the settlement. From LIDAR this northern lane crosses the above Grid by the flood plain of the river Meon. We excavated both the Roman Lane and Grid (probably a street) here. The Grid was rammed chalk with Roman finds built up 50cm above the natural, its width agreed with the LIDAR 8m. Both Grid and Roman lane were buried deep under later Roman stone work, interpreted as an Edge or Quay to a water feature on the flood plain of r Meon. This was created by a large Causeway carrying the Principal E - W Grid and two minor Grid Lines across the Flood Pain (see above Report).

Over Easter 2020 a machine trench over 2 Grid Lines and 2 Roman Road Lanes will be excavated, and it is hoped to establish the state of Roman development over this Grid. The soils will be taken off to near the archaeology, and is an opportunity to experience archaeology as often occurs on professional digs.

May and August digs

The August Bank Holiday 2019 dig was on this Causeway, and found Principal E - W Grid Line. Its northern end was not reached and this will be continued in May 2020. What the Causeway was constructed of will be determined - to help determine how it was built.

May and August Bank Holiday digs will examine other Grid and Roman Lanes crossing the Quay to the water feature.

A training course of five modules is available. They cover: Site Layout and Recording, Excavation, Surveying, Finds Processing, Geophysics and new Roman Road methods. They consist of instruction and exercises. You need to book for at least 5 days to complete the course - but you can carry it over to next year. The training course is optional. 

Excursions can be arranged in the evenings to sites on the Roman Roads or other features with pub suppers after.

Reports and publications are available - see the booking form.

Experienced and novice excavators welcome. Further details contact Dr Richard Whaley, Field Works & School Director, 2 Rotherwick Court, Alexandra Road, Farnborough GU14 6DD (SEA appreciated), 01252 548115, 07599 875708 or visit the dig online Information and Booking Form -


Petersfield Excavations and Fieldwork

13th August to 15th September 2020

Petersfield, Hampshire

A continuation of Stroud Big Dig, Liss Archaeology are expanding exploration of the area with the focus for 2020 being Romano-British in fields near Petersfield.  A series of geophysical surveys have taken place as well as desktop background research including Lidar and old aerial photographs.   

2020 has large scale excavations planned plus, if the farming calendar permits, fieldwalking.  Further geophysical surveys are also planned.

Training is available in all aspects of archaeology, by request, all skills levels welcome. 

Volunteers from all walks of life are welcome to take part.  From 18 to 80’s, all abilities.  In addition to excavation, finds processing, sieving, soil analysis, recording, planning and drawing plus surveying take place to professional standards during the dig.  Students are encouraged to experience community-based, volunteer archaeology with a friendly group of like-minded people. Taster days available. 

Camping and accommodation readily available close by.  Site is approximately 1.5 miles from Petersfield mainline railway station.

Membership (£20.00 per annum, due 31.03, full-time students under 25 half price) is required for insurance purposes.  Membership forms and dig booking forms can be found on our website,

Dig fees at Petersfield are £6 per day (full-time students under 25 half price), payable in advance; Taster Days £25, max. 2 days.  Booking essential.  We are non-profit making covering costs only.  Tea and coffee provided at start of day and all breaks. 

Contact us: or via the website

Find us on Facebook, Twitter @lissarchaeology and YouTube


Bainbridge Archaeological Training Excavation 2020

7th to 11th September & 14th to 18th September 2020

Bainbridge, Wensleydale, £250 per person

Join Mercian Archaeological Services CIC in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales for this week-long training excavation, which focuses on the teaching of archaeological excavation methods.

As well as offering the very best in archaeological training and support, this training excavation is tailored towards enabling attendees to fulfil requirements of the Archaeological Skills Passport.

*Please note accommodation is not provided*

Archaeological Training Excavation: This course focuses on excavation; it is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced digger.

For those wishing to develop their skills, for students and post-graduates seeking to fulfil the practical experience requirements of their courses… for those wishing to pursue a career in archaeology, or improve their knowledge to give them the edge at work… for those looking to acquire cross-transferable skills… for volunteer diggers wishing to raise their game, impress their friends, and increase their enjoyment of archaeology and heritage through a greater skill set and knowledge base…. through to people simply wishing to learn for the love of learning…

About the site: The beautiful village of Bainbridge was formerly the administrative centre of the medieval Forest of Wensleydale, and the magnificent Bolton Castle near Leyburn dominates the valley to the east. A Roman fort looms large over the village of Bainbridge on the eastern side.

The site of the excavation is overlooked by a Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age Slight Univallate Hillfort. This fort occupies the high ground at the top of a steep slope on the southern side of the site.

We will be concentrating our excavations on the possible medieval manorial complex to the north of this fort, which has been identified from earthworks and recently discovered pottery.

The area is famous not only for its beautiful landscape, but also its world famous cheese, and as the backdrop to the television series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

School attendees will receive the following:

  • All techniques are taught and experienced throughout the week, a mixture of theory sessions and hands on training from our Archaeological experts.
  • Every attendee will be taught to excavate.
  • Delegates will be taught archaeological drawing methods.
  • Delegates will also receive training and experience in measuring and recording heights with a dumpy level.
  • Topics covered in the classroom sessions will include site formation and processes, stratigraphic excavation, context sheets, drawing and photography, alongside a Pottery Identification Training seminar.
  • Total Station training and surveying seminar and practical session.
  • Lectures are accompanied by ‘hand-outs’. These will be made available to attendees to download via a file-share. The details for access are provided prior to the field school. The file-share will be accessible to attendees from 1st August to 31st October 2020. The files can be downloaded at anytime during this window and are for students to keep. Mercian aim to be an environmentally friendly company and this helps us to work towards reducing our environmental footprint.
  • ‘Animal, Vegetable, Mineral’ artefact identification quizzes on most mornings!
  • This course is suitable for people of all archaeological abilities from beginner wishing to take their first step, to experienced diggers wishing to take the next step, and from university students and post-graduates needing more experience, to retired people wanting to fulfil a life’s ambition… all are welcome and will be treated equally… the experience is tailored to the individual through hands on personal supervision.
  • Field days include lunch (sandwiches) provided by caterers which will be eaten in our welfare area in the field.
  • A tuck shop is also available for snacks and drinks to be bought throughout the day.
  • On-site toilet facilities are provided.
  • All equipment is provided, although you are welcome to bring you own trowels etc (more details when you have booked

Evening field visits (there will be a chance to attend evening tours during the week) may include:

  • A tour around Brough Roman Fort, Bainbridge.
  • Trip to, and guided tour around Jervaux Abbey, Wensleydale.

You will receive training and experience in many techniques of excavation, including many Core Skills listed in the Archaeological Skills Passport:

  • Handtools (Trowel etc)
  • Handtools (Spade, Mattock etc)
  • Site Formation Processes
  • Stratigraphic Excavation
  • Context Sheet Recording
  • Site Photography
  • Dumpy Level and Staff
  • Archaeological drawing
  • Artefact Recovery, Recording & Storage
  • Site Safety


Mercian Archaeological Services CIC: Topographic Survey Training 5 day course

12th to 16th October 2020

Kings John’s Palace and the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire, £200 per person

In archaeology the ability to measure the location of a site, artefact, or earthwork is essential.

Nowadays many archaeological sites use either GPS or Total Station for site survey. Differential GPS can record points of circa 1cm accuracy levels in three dimensions, and can also allow real time on the fly measurements to be taken allowing large areas of land to be surveyed. The total station is an electronic theodolite and Electronic Distance Measurer that records point locations by measuring distance and angles.

This course will teach the required skills that are used on excavations and other sites for locating features using GPS and total Station.

The course will also go further to enable participants to learn the complex skills of archaeological topographic survey, recording a site with a combination of both objective and subjective survey methods.

Topographic Survey Training day course aims to help participants learn about the theory, science, uses, methods, logistics, deployment, data collection, data processing, and reporting, behind archaeological topographic surveying.

The course will include a mixture of classroom and field based working. This is a field based training course consisting of hands-on experience backed up by some work in a classroom style environment. YOU will undertake the work in a group and collect real data in the field.

The course will include:

  • Introduction and theory, working in grids, mapping in 2 D and 3D, working with co-ordinates and heights, ‘X,Y, & Z’,
  • Pythagoras and Right Angles,
  • Levelling heights in ‘Z’,
  • Laying out a trench from Ordnance Survey co-ordinates - ‘X & Y’,
  • Introduction to Total Station & GPS,
  • Undertaking the survey - data collection, including control points, total station survey and cross-sections with a dumpy level.
  • Introduction to mapping in 3D with a Dumpy Level.
  • Downloading data,
  • Introduction to 2D mapping,
  • Creating a Digital Terrain Model in GIS.

*Please note accommodation is not provided*


Mercian Archaeological Services CIC: Post-Fieldwork Training School 2020

26th to 30th October 2020

King’s Clipstone, £250 per person

This training school is designed to provide training and experience in various aspects of the post excavation process. All tuition and training will be carried out under the supervision of experienced tutors, with finds training lead by Mercian's ceramic specialist David Budge.

The course is designed to give delegates an understanding of what is involved in the post excavation process for finds, ranging from initial cleaning and processing of the finds as they come out of the ground, through to some of the specialist analysis that finds are subject to, through to illustration and preparation of the finds for publication.

The course is designed to allow delegates to gain experience of handling finds and to develop the ability to look at artefacts critically with a view to recognising the clues that give evidence of what they were used for and that can help to identify them.

The course also provides training in archaeological drawing techniques including preparing plans and /or sections for publication, and training in working with site archives to create site matrices.

Delegates will also learn archaeological GIS (Geographic Information Systems) including working with survey data, preparing maps, working with historic mapping, creating and working with 3D models.

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