At Mercian Archaeological Services; as a Community Interest Company set up to undertake Community Archaeology, Research and Training.
The opinions of the community, volunteers, site owners, customers, and our course delegates, are the most important thing to us, and we are very proud of our reputation for quality work.
Testimonials, Recommendations and References
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Mercian Archaeological Services CIC
Specialists in Community Archaeology, Public Involvement, Research & Training
© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 2021. Registered Business No. 08347842. All Rights Reserved.
“The most knowledgeable and eager to teach staff I’ve ever met in the industry! Will come again!”
S, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Really enjoyed the field school and highly recommend others to attend, to have a taste of what archaeology is about in a span of a few days. Many techniques taught in detail over the week. The supervisors clearly have passion for their craft and as a result, it made it more enjoyable to attend practice, theory and site tours. Their sense of humour and good banter between them made the atmosphere better as well. David, Sean and Andy were patient with us and walked us over completing the tasks step by step, encouraging/correcting us along the way.
The lectures were wonderful and presented in a fun way. Full of interesting trivia and funny stories. It really made me look at pottery, flint knapping and medieval idea of a forests differently. By the end, it made me respect the people of the past even more than before and appreciate their ingenuity and way of life.
Another welcome part of the school was the freedom for attendees to focus on more digging as an alternative for the lectures. Especially beneficial for people who attended the previous week and heard the lectures but decided to come back for more fieldwork. Or people from a more academic/theoretical background looking for more hands on experience.
Meeting people of similar interests, interacting with them was a good way to pass the time and find out more about the world of archaeology through their experiences, whether it is academia or fieldwork. Talking with our tutors regarding the topic at hand or a completely different one was great as well. Grateful to them for willing to answer multiple questions for more information on future career prospects and their advice.
Of course, big thank you for Roy, our chef, for his service and tasty food.
Thank you again for the opportunity to experience archaeology at King’s Clipstone.”
V.Z. Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Thanks so much for a great week. I really enjoyed all the talks, demonstrations and hands on activities (and the banter).
It taxed my brain and my joints!
For someone who’s never done anything like this before, it was a brilliant introduction to Archaeology and information about the local area.
Special thanks to Roy, who’s meals must now be legendary.”
V, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“I just wanted to drop you an email to say a HUGE thank you for running such a wonderful field school last week -
if you would like a testimonial, please feel free to use the below,:
I had a wonderful time with Mercian; the guys are passionate and knowledgeable in a way that's infectious! I have no idea how they cram so much information into such a short space of time, but I came away brimming with new ideas and inspiration. A great way to learn while meeting like-
C, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Just wanted to say thank you to all of you again for this week, it was amazing! There was just so many new things to learn about! So thanks for helping me start my pre reading for uni! Phenomenology sounds really interesting, definitely something I want to study more in the summer, and I’ve now got loads of books ready to order thanks to you lot!
I really hope I can come again in the future, if I’m off in October I’m definitely coming to the next one, it was lovely working with you!
Thanks again, and good luck with the other field schools! Keep in touch”
N, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“I did want to say how much I enjoyed the whole week. All of the staff were unfailingly informative, patient and humorous. My brain was absolutely filled with fascinating information by the end of the week -
SA. Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Thank you so much for a really wonderful week of archaeology. Odd as it may sound, it was my first ever dig, despite being in the middle of a doctorate at the University of Sheffield’s department of archaeology! I am a coppersmith by trade, so my specialisms lie in professional metalworking and material culture, as well as heritage crafts and traditions. Finding the opportunity to break down the various aspects of archaeology into easy concepts and explore fundamental ideas was a revelation. I now have a much clearer framework for my studies, as well as better access to the literature through my new understanding of terms.
Furthermore, the quality of teaching was first rate. We were given a clear history and context for the dig at Kings Clipstone, and were encouraged to work in diverse groups, where knowledge and bonhomie could be shared. Andy, David and Sean each have specific areas of expertise and led tutorials in subjects such as contexts and stratigraphy, archaeological photography and drawing, levelling, finds identification and handling – whilst all the while relating it back to the developing dig. This ongoing conversation between the practical experience and theory, reinforced the new ideas and made learning very easy, in a relaxed environment.
Most of all, it was a laugh from beginning to end. The weather was great, the food was excellent, and the guys were really good fun. After the difficult recent times we’ve all been through, the week was an absolute tonic and all I can think about is how soon I can come back for another one!”
SE, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“I just want to say a big 'thank you' to you, David and Sean for such an enjoyable field school. It was everything I hoped it would be: fun, interesting, the learning of new skills, and lots of laughs and encouragement along the way! You guys are so knowledgeable not only on the discipline of archaeology, such as surveying, excavation and pottery finds, but also on the local area, which made it so enjoyable. I also really enjoyed the evening trip to Sherwood Forest and learning more about the landscape; it's a very special place.”
BD, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Just wanted to say thank you to you all for an awe inspiring week of archaeology
What more could you ask for.
I really enjoyed the week and hope to come to kjp again in the future.”
BG, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Just wanted to say a big thank you for a fabulous week.
Both Phil and I didn't know much about archaeology or Sherwood Forest when we arrived but we've come away with lots of knowledge which we can use to discover things in our forest. So much of what you talked about has made sense of things here. The teams colossal knowledge shines through.
Huge thanks to Andy for the tour round Sherwood your enthusiasm is infectious.
We met some great people of varying ages on our course and have a WhatsApp group to keep in touch.
We wish you all the very best for the future in these uncertain times. We will of course spread the word to encourage others to join you.”
B&P, Sherwood Forest Field School 2021
“Fantastic experience and had an amazing time. Everyone was so friendly and inspired me to learn more. Thank you.”
KR, Sherwood Forest Field School Week D 2021
“Had a fantastic time at the Sherwood Field School! Staff were so knowledgeable and patient, and activities were varied and really fun. Thanks so much -
MS, Sherwood Forest Field School Week D 2021
“A very thorough introduction to archaeology skills with knowledgeable and approachable and kind staff! Thank you all.”
NR, Sherwood Forest Field School Week D 2021
“Had and awesome time and learned so much, So good I came back a second time!”
JP, Sherwood Forest Field School Week D 2021
“Very knowledgeable, engaging and comprehensive sound lads.”
G, Sherwood Forest Field School Week A 2021
“Very informative, fun, friendly.”
KP, Sherwood Forest Field School Week A 2021
“Friendly and very patient staff. I learned a lot.”
KD, Sherwood Forest Field School Week D 2021
“Brilliant week, I learned so much and the Mercian team was amazing! Thank you.”
EB, Welby Week 2 2021
“Thanks for a great week at Welby last week. I really enjoyed myself.
I learnt a lot and enjoyed the digging, surveying with the dumpy, drawing and photography talks. The flint knapping demo was fascinating.
It was good to be on site again and be working with real people.
Thanks for your clear explanations and supervision in the trench. Filling in context sheets and even surveying made more sense.”
J, Welby Week 1 2021
“Thoroughly enjoyable and informative course. I’ve learned so much. Will be back next year!”
EH, Welby Week 2 2021
“Learnt so much from a very dedicated and knowledgeable group of people”
JY, Welby Week 2 2021
“A great week, spent with a team that truly enjoy sharing knowledge with others.”
JG Welby Week 2 2021
“Definitely coming again!! So much knowledge and much more to learn”
Welby Week 2 2021
“Fantastic week. Great amount of knowledge from staff. Highly recommend”
MT Welby Week 2 2021
“A fantastic introduction to so many archaeological skills. Great from start to finish of the course.”
ST Welby Week 2 2021
“Educational, friendly, entertaining and interesting”
AT, Welby Week 2 2021
“A great week-
RN Welby Week 2 2021
“Very interesting, very knowledgeable and tremendous fun”
RF, Welby Week 2 2021
“Brilliant staff and lovely group. Informative and so much fun!”
Welby Week 2 2021
“Digging is addictive”
ER, Welby Week 2 2021
“A fantastic introduction to archaeology. The team at mercian posses a great spread of interests and knowledge from pre-
SJ, Bainbridge 2021
“The week at King's Clipstone was brilliant! I was really surprised by the sheer volume of knowledge and tasks we got through without feeling overloaded at any point. It was great to learn how to interpret different facets of the site and how to use a variety of instruments and techniques to record it, from the traditional to the very modern. Everyone had the chance to have a go at every task (the team deftly organised us around the downpours) and was guided appropriate to their experience.
Between tasks were interesting powerpoint presentations and fun find-
Andy, Sean and Dave are a great team who really care about their projects and share their love of archaeology in an enthusiastic, engaging and accessible manner. They were very patient and professional with us and were always willing to help with whatever problem or query we had. I would also like to add they are completely down-
A huge thank you to the guys at Mercian for giving me a fantastic introduction to the world of archaeology!”
(LD, Week B 2019)
“Great week of intensive Archaeological training with the experts. I was very impressed with all the activities arranged which gave a comprehensive overview of the job of an archaeologist and the skills needed. Many thanks to Mercian for the experience with a special thanks to Roy for supplying the culinary delights for lunch.”
(SH week B 2019)
“Well I'm back to work today after what was a truly memorable experience with you last week. Having done a couple of volunteer digs, I wasn't quite sure what a training school would entail but you managed to get just the right balance of teaching new skills, taught sessions and opportunities for practical work. Throw in the hugely informative evening walks and you provided the whole package. I have spent the weekend watching you all on TV, reading your reports, looking at historic mapping and relating some of the Forest/Park elements to my own area. I will definitely be booking again in the future and will be telling anyone who will listen how brilliant you all are! Please also pass on my thanks to Roy -
(KW week A 2019)
“Thank you for an amazing experience, and what a fascinating site? We were looked after so well, and you were all very informative and friendly. This is the sixth dig I’ve been on, and by far the most informative and fulfilling. I, and probably we, will be back.”
(LM, Week A, 2019)
“I have just experienced an inspiring week with Mercian archaeologists at King John’ Palace, Kings Clipstone. Thank you for the learning, fellowship and fun. Keep up the good work you guys.”
(FS, Week A, 2019).
“Thank you so much Andy, Sean and David for such an enjoyable week! I had a great time learning new skills and meeting wonderful people. The evening tours were great as well and thank you also to Roy and Mickey! Best part of my trip by far, when I am next in the country I will see what you guys are up to! Best wishes”
(LI, Week A, 2019)
“Had the most amazing time. Everyone is very friendly and it was informative and very practical course. I’ve learnt a lot. Thanks.”
(GC, Week A, 2019)
“Thank you for inspiring my son. He has told his Dad all about it and he has got all of his facts right. Seems he has absorbed most of what you all said during the week :) Hope to see you again next year”
(PA, Week C, 2019)
“Excellent week -
(CL, Week A, 2109)
“Fantastic training school in fundamental archaeology”
(JM, Week A, 2019)
“ … just wanted to say how much we’d enjoyed our almost week. We loved being immersed in the timelessness of the Sherwood Forest landscape… say goodbye to Roy from us -
(E & LH, Week B, 2019)
“Thank for such a warm welcome, fantastic training and delicious food… a brilliant week… -
(CJ, Week A, 2019)
“I just wanted to send you an email to again say thank you for last week; learnt a lot and had a lot of fun doing it.”
(LH, Week B, 2019)
“Thank you all so much for your time and care… Shaun, David and yourself were absolute stars! I enjoyed your camaraderie and passion for your subject immensely. Thank you all so so so much for a wonderful week!
I hope that i will be able to join you again in the near future.”
“Great coverage of archaeology, local history and excellent social context”
(FS, week A, 2019)
“Wonderful and very informative course. I will be back. Thank you!”
(LM, Week A, 2019)
“My hubby has been there this week. I bought the course as a surprise for his birthday and he has absolutely loved it. Thank you for making his week so enjoyable”
CH week B 2019)
“Perfect Everything! Thank you very much!”
EO & LBH, Week B, 2019)
“Fantastic. Learnt so much and much to learn. Would love to come back!”
(DM, Week B, 2019)
“Great time, learned a lot to enhance my journey towards an archaeological career. Thank you very much!”
(RC, Week B, 2019)
“Excellent training session by top archaeologists. Amazing knowledge. Thanks.”
(SH, Week B, 2019)
“Enjoyed every moment.”
(AE, Week B, 2019)
“It was an amazing experience and I hope to return as soon as I can… I hope everything continues to go well and thanks again. I learnt so much.”
“Absolutely Amazing! Learned lots, had a blast.”
(DC, Week B, 2019).
“Very instructive on both the theory and putting it into practice.”
(JT, Week B, 2019)
“A brilliant week -
(LD, week B, 2019)
“A great variety, fun an learnt a lot -
(LH, Week B, 2019)
“I’ve had a lovely time at the tin tabernacle. I came for the archaeological fieldschool, and over the five days I have met some great people; eaten like a king every meal, and learnt more about pottery than I ever expected to know in a lifetime.“
(CM, Week C, 2019)
“I’d highly recommend this wonderful field school set amongst all the history and legend of Sherwood Forest.”
(KA,2018 Week B)
“I wanted to thank you, Sean and David for a brilliant week at the Summer Field School at Kings Clipstone. I had a fantastic time and it was not only an extremely educational week, but great fun!”
The week really set me up for starting my Master's degree in Archaeology and thanks to Mercian, I feel prepared and excited for this new stage in my career. The course was perfectly structured, from taking us back to basics and helping us to understand key archaeological concepts to developing our knowledge of more advanced concepts. I learned SO much while having such a good laugh!”
I honestly can't thank you and recommend you all enough, I will definitely be returning for more field schools and courses! (and the lunch club!!)”.
(KF, 2018 Week A)
“Thanks for a great experience on your field school last week (20th -
I realise that over the 5 days we could only get an introduction to the many skills involved but it did create a desire to learn more even in someone who is just doing it for fun.
I openly admit that the experience of revealing a piece of 10th century pottery during the cleaning activity is something that gave me a real buzz. To be handling something that was made by human hands a thousand years ago was magical…
The week was a wonderful experience which was also enhanced by Roy's meals.
My thanks again to you all for allowing me to share a great 5 days and to gain so much from all your undoubted skills and enthusiasm. It has left me wanting more.”
(BS, 2018 Week C)
“Thank you so much for our field school experience, it was brilliant. I am very happy to write you a testimonial from a higher education perspective, endorsing the opportunity for undergraduates.”
(KY, 2018 Week C)
“Thank you guys for giving so many people such a great opportunity. Absolutely fab and I learned lots! I’m glad we had the lectures too-
(LS, 2018 Week B, via Facebook)
“I just wanted to leave a review of sorts, as this was one of the most enjoyable and truly educational field schools that I’ve been to! Whether you have experience in archaeology or not, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn, in a welcoming environment; all three Mercian members are extremely knowledgeable in their various fields of expertise and are able to teach aspects of archaeology that might usually be a bit daunting in an accessible, understandable, often comical way. This is a great field school to experience a wide variety of archaeological work (surveying with equipment, digging, finds processing, site photography, plan drawing)-
Thank you Andy, Sean & David for an excellent field school experience and I hope to return for another!
“The welcome from the Mercian team was warm, with coffee provided by Roy (the onsite caterer… I’ll say more about him and his culinary skills further on...) and the training group was a lovely mix of all ages and experience. We had a welcome talk and introductions, which was lighthearted and relaxed, then a site tour and a fascinating background history of the medieval palace site and how it functioned and related to the surrounding area. This set the field school into a lovely context as part of the long-
The course itself was amazing, with depth and meticulous attention to detail in all aspects of core skills such as excavation, context sheet recording, plan and section drawing and site photography, and secondary skills such as finds processing. I loved the pottery and small finds identification sessions, and the animal, vegetable, mineral’ object quizzes....and we even got to have a go at flint-
We learned a massive amount in the space of a week. The teaching involved not just the correct processes, but also the whys, the wherefores and often the maths (yes, maths!) behind technical approaches such as trench layout from co-
The excavation part of the course was interesting and rewarding… finding and identifying medieval pottery and other small finds on a medieval site is always exciting…
I wish I could have been there for longer! It was a fantastic experience and I came away feeling a lot more confident in my developing skills.
Now I have to talk about the food. Oh goodness me. Roy, the site caterer, is a magician. A two course hot meal every day cooked onsite in a tent, ranging from full-
“Thanks folks! I had a really awesome time for that week. Andy, Sean, Dave and Mickey -
(KG, 2018 Week A, via Facebook)
“Just want to say thanks for a great week. I learned lots and had a great time. The week was well organised and the mix of skills, hands on experience and theory was just right. Hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
(LS, 2018 Week B)
“I just wanted to say thank you, Sean and David for a very enjoyable week. I came away buzzing with all the information you’d tried so hard to impart and determined to keep in touch with your work and community archaeology in general. A big thank you too to the wonderful chef.”
(2018 Week A)
“I so enjoyed the archaeology field school with Mercian Archaeology last year that I've been back again this week for more! Just home after a week of trench planning and digging, finds sorting, surveying and lots of concentration on flint technologies for me this year -
(LF, 2016 & 2017).
Some feedback from Customers at our annual field schools and training shools:
On Mercian and young archaeologists:
"Firstly we all thoroughly enjoyed the dig. I have nothing but praise for the archaeologists on the dig. They were helpful, informative and friendly and each took a lot of time to involve the girls and explain about how a dig is organised and the techniques that were used. The lunchtime lectures were a definite added bonus giving us some theory behind the practical work. I would certainly recommend Mercian Archaeology to any other amateur group, particularly a group containing children, as at no point did they talk over their heads or make them feel uninvolved or intimidated. It was a fabulous experience for us all." -
Talks and presentations:
“Thanks for a really interesting presentation in Radcliffe last night, the small but keen group really appreciated it” -
“I would just like to thank everyone involved in the Peel and Spa Ponds presentation to our group (Forest Town Nature Conservation Group) yesterday evening. A totally captivating, exciting and informative presentation, many thanks -
Volunteers at the Heath End Excavation in Leicestershire:
"I thought they were excellent – well qualified, experienced, thorough, well equipped and prepared, patient and very good at talking things through – their mini lunchtime “lectures” were enjoyable and instructive and – they were good fun! A template for the most part of how things should be done and would recommend and rate them highly. I benefited hugely."
"I felt that the archaeologists were clear in all that they did and said and helpful in all aspects of the work. I only had to ask a question and they were there instantly with helpful information and advice. They were very encouraging and didn’t treat me like a complete amateur; they were patient and able to simplify more complicated explanations! They also realised that they were with a group of older enthusiasts and did a lot of the heavy work themselves! They were very pleasant and approachable young men."
"I learned a great deal from the experience and particularly enjoyed drawing the profiles of sections of the dig. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I was able to spend on the dig and look forward to the next outdoor season."
"I would certainly recommend Mercian to other groups. They were immediately just part of the TARG Team, a very useful and knowledgeable part, explaining measuring, stratigraphy, photography and drawing in terms understandable to amateurs such as ourselves. As well as these specific disciplines there was also a great sense of exchanging information and experiences."
"Mercian Archaeological Services were very friendly and stood back so all us members could have a dig, instead of taking over the dig. Once again I thank you for a super time."
"Although I was there for only a short time, they made you feel part of the team straight away and were interested in your thoughts and ideas and willing to show you how best to proceed. Their small lectures were adequate and uncomplicated. I would recommend Mercian Archaeology to other groups as they seemed to know their stuff and recorded all aspects. Overall the dig was professional, relaxed and very enjoyable."
"...would have no hesitation in recommending them for similar activity in running/supervising any other group of volunteer amateurs"
“I… really enjoyed my time learning with the archaeologists. I did ask many questions and got good and full answers, everybody had the chance to do some digging which we all like to do, me in particular.”
Picture:Archaeological volunteers at the 2016 excavation. ©Lynda Mallett 2016
Community Archaeology is a skilled specialism that demands the highest commitment and standards.
We believe that large commercial archaeology companies cannot necessarily provide the personal service you will receive from a dedicated community archaeology company.
Please scroll down to read and and listen/watch some of the fabulous testimonials we have received from satisfied customers.
The Sherwood Forest Trust, Dr Patrick Candler Chief Executive
“The Sherwood Forest Trust is very pleased to endorse Mercian Archaeological Services as the leading Community Archaeology Company operating across Nottinghamshire…”
The Friends of Tynghowe
Some lovely feedback on Mercian and our work from our friends at the Viking Assembly Site of Thynghowe:
“In conjunction with Mercian Archaeological Services CIC we trained a significant group of volunteers to undertake a week's archaeological investigation.
Our relationship with the three archaeologists Andy Gaunt, Sean Crossley and David Budge from Mercian has been crucial -
As a community group working on this site we have developed our own expertise and insight and a certain level of ownership. The Mercian guys have been acutely sensitive to that and have shown us -
So an honesty and an extraordinary working relationship has developed between us – we the Friends of Thynghowe have gained the scientific skills and knowledge – Mercian appreciate that our group will pass on and keep vibrant all the information and discoveries of this incredible site.”
Lynda Mallett of the Friends of Thynghowe says some very kind words as she gives Mercian her seal of approval at the University of St Mary’s in Nova Scotia in a presentation to the Nova Scotia Archaeological Society:
Mickie and Martin Bradley, Site Owners King John’s Palace, Clipstone, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire:
“Mercian’s work is always of the highest quality and undertaken to the highest professional standards…
…Andy Gaunt published his Master’s dissertation on the medieval landscape of Clipstone and has identified the landscape as being that of a medieval designed landscape around the palace…
… Mercian are well-
Mickie (Michelle) Bradley site owner of King John’s Palace gives Mercian a glowing testimonial…
Paul Jameson, Chairman, The Battle of Hatfield Investigation Society:
“Mercian really do meet our exacting standards and our ethical outlook”.
“Therefore, BOHIS have no qualms in recommending Mercian Archaeological Services CIC to any local archaeology Society community group wishing to undertake a community archaeology project”.
”as our chosen partners they have helped successfully deliver an HLF funded project in November 2015, "Does the Heritage of the Welbeck Estate include a King Killed at Cuckney?”.”
Indeed, their “Integrated Report” (of the project) was called, “an extensive and influential piece of work”.”
“The project was completed on time and on budget”.
“They always respected BOHIS’s ownership of the project and never attempted to take control of it.”
“Mercian were always professional on and off site & impressed us with the overall management on site, specifically of note was their conscious efforts to ensure that on-
"I have worked alongside them, their work is considered and professional and to the highest standards. At all times they share information and knowledge to volunteers and visitors. Their encouragement has helped us achieve so much not only on this project but also with other groups in the area." -
"We thought the teaching was very good, both informally and via the lunchtime talks and handouts. The handouts were especially appreciated. You were patient, encouraging and prepared to answer questions both in general terms and in detail. Our members especially appreciated the fact that you did not talk down to them." -
"Mercian are some of the most trustworthy, reliable, hardworking and honest people I've worked alongside" -
"Andy's knowledge and understanding of Sherwood Forest and its surrounding area cannot be equalled. He is essential to so many projects." -
The following is a small part of Mercian's excellent feedback from Community Groups, Volunteers and Site owners:
Friends of Ashby bath Grounds, Ashby-
“We understand that the HLF, who funded the project, were very please that all the objectives had been met and that a significant number of people had learnt more about archaeology and the history of the Ashby Bath Grounds”.
“We would recommend Mercian Archaeology Services to anybody who wishes to undertake a community archaeology project”.
Sat Sian (NEBOSH, I Eng, BA), Sian Safety Consultancy Limited:
“I Have found Mercian Archaeological Services CIC to be a safety focused organisation who diligently produce site specific risk assessments of a high standard which I appreove/ammend and sign off.
These are briefed to all staff, volunteers and visitors to site.
The attention to detail and overall vision and ethos of the organisation in terms of Health and Safety as well as environmental and welfare issues are to be admired.”