The Sherwood Forest Archaeological Training Field School

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Delegates learning excavation techniques at the Sherwood Forest Archaeological Training Field School
Delegates learning excavation techniques at the Sherwood Forest Archaeological Training Field School (Credit: Mercian Archaeological Services CIC)

This is not an ordinary field school – this is a ‘training field school’ where you will learn about all aspects of archaeological excavation and receive hands on training and learning from archaeological professionals in the heart of Sherwood Forest. As well as offering the best in archaeological training and support, the Field School is tailored towards enabling attendees to fulfil the requirements of the Archaeological Skills Passport. This course 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 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.

Everyone is welcome – no previous knowledge or experience is required. You will receive training and experience in many techniques of excavation, including The Core Skills of the Archaeological Skills Passport:

  • Handtools (Trowel etc)
  • Handtools (Spade, Mattock etc)
  • Site Formation Processes
  • Stratigraphic Excavation
  • Context Sheet Recording
  • Site Photography
  • Site Grid and Trench Layout
  • Dumpy Level and Staff
  • Planning
  • Section Drawing
  • Collection of Samples
  • Artefact Recovery, Recording & Storage
  • Site Safety

Plus many higher level archaeological techniques that make up the Secondary Skills of the Archaeology Skills Passport including:

  • Survey (Total Station)
  • Finds Processing

As well as covering skill requirements for the Passport we also provide:

  • Pottery identification
  • Finds handling
  • Finds processing
  • Flint Knapping Demonstrations
  • History of Ceramics lectures
  • And much more…

All techniques are taught and experienced throughout the week, with hands on training from our Archaeological experts. Every attendee will learn to excavate, draw sections and plans, and fill in context sheets and paperwork.

Delegates will undertake workshops in surveying including:

  • Measuring and recording heights with a dumpy level
  • Laying out a trench in the field from co-ordinates
  • 3 dimensional surveying with a total station

Hands on learning and training is supplemented with seminars covering many of the subjects listed above – providing the theory behind the practice.

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 files can be downloaded and are for students to keep. Mercian aims to be an environmentally friendly company and this helps us to work towards reducing our environmental footprint.

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.  

Lunchtime demonstrations:

  • Prehistoric Technologies: pot-boiler stone making, flint-knapping
  • Pottery identification

Field Days include lunch provided by our field caterers which will be eaten in our welfare area in the field.

On-site toilet facilities are provided along with welfare tents.

All equipment is provided, although you are welcome to bring you own trowels etc (more details when you have booked).

As well as all the above you will learn about the history and archaeology of Sherwood Forest, and also about the designed royal hunting landscape and Palace at its heart. Mercian Archaeological Services CIC run the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project and are at the leading edge of research into this landscape of legends…

Location: King John’s Palace, Kings Clipstone, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Region: Midlands
Time period: Saxon/Medieval/Post Medieval
Accommodation provided: No
Level of experience required: None
Academic credit available: No, but designed around Archaeological Skills Passport
Extra on-excavation activities: Evening Field Trip to Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve; Evening Lecture on Sherwood Forest Outlaws and villains
Age limit: All ages, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult
Week A: July 11-15
Week B: July 18-22
Week C: July 25-29
Week D: August 8-12
Cost: £450 per person; £350 for students (full- and part-time with NUS)
Contact name: Andy Gaunt
Contact address: Staffordshire House, Beechdale Road, Nottingham, NG8 3FH
Contact email: [email protected]
Website address: http://mercian-as.co.uk/sherwoodforestfieldschool.html
Social media:
Facebook – /mercianarch
Twitter – @mercianarch
Instagram – @mercian_archaeological

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