As well as the above all school attendees will receive the following:

Evening field visits:

*Please note accommodation is not provided*


Payment options

You can book your place for any of the weeks of the field school via a number of ways:



By booking a place on the field school you are agreeing to abide by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC’s TERMS and CONDITIONS and by our CODE of CONDUCT.  

Click here to view full terms and conditions including our health and safety policy

*Please note accommodation is not provided*

Some information about available accommodation is provided on our Information page in order to help you in your searches. But this information should not be seen any form of recommendation or endorsement, and Mercian are not responsible for any accommodation booked by delegates.

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


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.


Fieldschool booking form- choose your week, and your payment option below and click “Buy Now”


Bainbridge Archaeological Training Excavation

Bainbridge Archaeological Training Excavation 2024

At Bainbridge, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.

Price £450 per person, or £350 per student (in full time education, NUS card holder or international equivalent*)

Places are limited so please book promptly to avoid disappointment.

Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Community Archaeology East Midlands, Mercian Archaeological     Services Community Archaeology for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Sherwood Forest,     Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community     Archaeology East Midlands, Community Archaeology Leicestershire. Archaeological


Week 1: 9th - 13th  September, 2024.

Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1  DEP




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1 Balance




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1




This training course focuses on excavation and recording skills but there will also be a chance to undertake a number of techniques that make up the Secondary Skills of the Archaeology Skills Passport including:

 Archaeological Training Excavation:

As stated above 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…

Archaeological Skill Passport

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 (see below).

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’.

About the site

A great starting point for information on the area around Bainbridge is the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Archaeology webpage:

A further resource relating to Bainbridge and the wider landscape is the ”Out of Oblivion - A Landscape through time” website.

This site is based on the Historic Environment Record (HER) maintained by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

The aim is to “increase your enjoyment of the Yorkshire Dales and to help you understand more about the unique cultural landscape of the area created through the interactions of people and nature over thousands of years”.

Historical and Archaeological background:

The name Bainbridge comes from its location at the place where the “Cam High Road”, a Roman Road crossed the river Bain. To learn more about the Cam High Road see the  webpage

A Roman fort overlooked this crossing and a settlement grew around the fort named ‘Virosidum’.

The modern village is  overlooked by the remains of this fort - ‘Bainbridge Roman fort and annexe’, which is located on the eastern edge of Bainbridge.

More information about the Roman Fort and settlement can be found on the following pages:

List Entry Number: 1017920

Historical Environment Record No: MYD4272

Virosidvm, Roman Fort & Minor Settlement:

The village of Bainbridge grew in medieval times in the shadow of this fort and on the crossing of the Bain.

Bainbridge was formerly the administrative centre of the medieval Forest of Wensleydale.

The site of the excavation lies in fields to the south of the village core.

The site contains a large number of earthworks.

These include a linear holloway identified as the “Cam High Road”, a Roman Road which runs to the south of Bainbridge, and a Slight univallate hillfort dating from the late Bronze Age to Iron Age (see below).

Many other earthworks are identified as being associated with the late medieval Manorial complex for Bainbridge which is believed to have occupied the site.

Pottery discovered on mole-hills during recent topographic survey by Mercian, has suggested occupation on the site throughout the medieval period.

The excavation will be testing theories regarding the medieval occupation of the site.

Bainbridge slight univallate hillfort - Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC)

Due to the very rare status of Slight Univallate Hillforts, and particularly one located so far north, the Bainbridge site is protected as a Scheduled Monument.

The following entry comes from the Scheduled Monument listing for Bainbridge Slight Univallate Hillfort:

“Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart.  Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance”.

“Although the enclosing bank and ditch at this site have been affected by later agricultural works, leaving them partially levelled or in-filled, the hillfort remains identifiable and will retain significant archaeological remains”

The entry gives further details about the site itself:

“This hillfort is situated on a natural spur above the River Bain. It is oval in plan, 41m in diameter overall and enclosed by a single ditch averaging 6m wide and 1m deep at its deepest point on the west edge. It becomes less distinct on its east side and near the field wall which bisects the site, where it is barely visible. An outer upcast bank is very distinct on the west side where it stands 1.2m above the base of the ditch. Much of this bank has been ploughed out on the north east and east sides and merges with the slope to the south and north. Excluded from the scheduling is the modern field wall which traverses the monument, although the ground beneath it is included”.

Picture: The Bainbrige Slight Univalate Hillfort, Late Bronze age to Iron Age, viewed from the South. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The Bainbrige Slight Univalate Hillfort, Late Bronze age to Iron Age, viewed from the South-southwest. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Bainbridge Univallate hillfort with the later Roman Fort situated on the hill to the northeast. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Fieldwork has begun at the site in 2018 with a topographic survey by Mercian, as well as LiDAR analysis and other desk-based historic map work and research.

Alongside this a photogrammetric survey was very kindly undertaken in May 2018 by Tony Hunt of Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping ( Some of the results can be seen below.

Photogrammetric survey from a drone, undertaken by Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping,

Photogrammetric survey from a drone, showing cross-section of hillfort,  undertaken by Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping,

Photogrammetric survey from a drone, showing cross-section of hillfort,  undertaken by Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping,

Photogrammetric survey from a drone, undertaken by Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping,

Previous Archaeological work:

Archaeological Field School 2021

Test-pitting 2018

The village of Bainbridge was recently subject to a Community Archaeology test-pitting project in 2018; managed by the Community Heritage Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA), Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons, on behalf of the Yorkshire Dales Young Archaeologists Club along with local schools and community groups. The project was funded by the YDNPA’s Sustainable Development Fund.

A 5,000 year old flint arrowhead, an almost complete Roman-era pot, and a bullet from a Lee Enfield British Army rifle were among the 12,000 ‘finds’ uncovered in Bainbridge last year during the ‘We Dig Community’ archaeology project”.

Bainbridge Big Dig – the results can be seen at:

Topographic survey

Steve Moorhouse

Steve Moorhouse undertook a survey of the site in the 1990s which was published in 2003.

(Moorhouse, S. 2003. Medieval Yorkshire: a rural landscape for the future. In, (Manby, T. G., Moorhouse, S. & Ottaway, P. 2003. The Archaeology of Yorkshire: An assessment at the beginning of the 21st century. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No.3. pp 181-214).

2018- Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

In two phases during 2018 Mercian have begun surveying areas in the western part of the site not previously surveyed by Steve Moorhouse. Pottery discovered during these surveys (mentioned above) suggests occupation at the site across the medieval period.

Views around the site and across Wensleydale.

Everyone is welcome… no previous knowledge or experience is required…

Information about Bainbridge and Wensleydale.

You can find out all about the village of Bainbridge via Yorkshire Dales Website at:

 Information on the nearest town and shops:

The Town of Hawes:

The Village of Askrigg:

Please note Mercian are not responsible for accommodation and do not recommend anywhere in particular to stay.

Bainbridge Archaeology

If you are coming to our field school and staying in Wensleydale, why not  stay a while and have a look at some of the other things there are to do in this beautiful landscape…

You can follow us on social media at:

Places to visit of interest near Bainbridge:

Gayle Mill

Aysgarth Falls

St Oswald’s Church, Askrigg

Hawes ropemakers

Middleham Castle

Bolton Castle -

Bolton Abbey Estate -

Fountains Abbey - National Trust -

Pendragon Castle -

Richmond Castle -

Ribblehead Viaduct -

Ripley Castle -

Dales Countryside Museum -

Historic market towns:


Ripon (including Ripon Cathedral)

Richmond (including Richmond Castle and museums)



City shopping:

Leeds, also visit the armouries Museum at Leeds

York, including a visit to York Minster (and the remains of the Roman fort) and the Yorkshire Museum.

For food and drink lovers:

Wensleydale Creamery -

Yorkshire Dales brewing company, Askrigg

Black Sheep Brewey -

Humble pie Fawcett and Guy, Askrigg

Elijah Allen, Hawes

2024 Dates:

Week 1: 9th - 13th


Week 2: 16th - 20th


Click the image below to see the 2019 training excavation photo gallery

Book your place by paying in FULL £450:


Pay £200 non-refundable DEPOSIT to reserve your place:



Book your STUDENT place by paying in FULL £350:


Pay £150 non-refundable STUDENT DEPOSIT to reserve your place:


Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1 STUDENT




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1 STUDENT DEP




Students, & Under 18s:

Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 1 Balance




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2  DEP




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2 Balance




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2 STUDENT




Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2 STUDENT DEP




Students, & Under 18s:

Bainbridge Dig 2024 Week 2 Balance




Book your place by paying in FULL £450:


Pay £200 non-refundable DEPOSIT to reserve your place:



Book your STUDENT place by paying in FULL £350:


Pay £150 non-refundable STUDENT DEPOSIT to reserve your place:


Week 2: 16th - 20th  September, 2024.

*Please note accommodation is not provided*

Thank you

Please note that Archaeology can be quite physically demanding, so please contact to discuss any limiting factors with regard to you undertaking fieldwork. There are aspects of the course such as finds processing that are less physically challenging. Please contact us if you have any issues.

Please note we do not provide accommodation. We can provide a list of local accommodation from camping to hotels- but it is the responsibility of the individual booking on to the field school to organise their own accommodation.

Any list provided should not be seen as a recommendation by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC.

To pay by cheque or bank transfer, please contact us below stating which week you wish to attend and how you wish to pay.

or If you require more information before booking please contact us via our email:

Please have a look at the Information page for more details to enable you to come along and join the training excavation and to get the most out of the experience.

The page contains information on getting to the site, ideas about where to stay, what to wear, what to bring, and more.


Feedback from previous customers:

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“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 - I learned so so much and am already seeing if I can come back in October!

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-minded people. Enjoyable and educational!”

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 - and my stomach was full of equally fabulous food. It was an unexpected pleasure to have such excellent catering for my vegan diet and I was never made to feel that I was making life difficult. I would happily have stayed another week if I could have. I am looking forward to the Zoom round-up of the summer dig - such a good idea.”

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

-terrific talks and walks

-didactic demonstrations

-boundless banter and

-substantial sustenance!

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 - hopefully will be back!”
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- really informative and a lot of fun!”
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-history through to industrial era. They also have an equal verity of talents, skill sets and knowledge across all archaeological disciplines. They provide a good balance of important professional learning content as well as engaging in an incredibly down to earth fashion encouraging fun and supplying terrible jokes allowing everyone to feel welcome and relaxed.”

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-identification quizzes or lunch with excellent, hearty meals provided by Roy. Additionally, on two evenings, we were treated to in-depth tours of Sherwood Forest and the local villages, exploring the history, geography and literature of the area.

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-to-earth and a great source of humour and funny stories!

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 - its worth coming just for his lovely food!”

(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 - great learning experience!

(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 - we loved looking forward to his lunches and thank you for catering for allergies.
(E & LH, Week B, 2019)

Thank for such a warm welcome, fantastic training and delicious food… a brilliant week… - lots of learning, laughter, great food and plenty of sunshine.  What more could you ask for?

(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.”
(L T-R, Week A, 2019)

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 - didn’t want it to end! Learnt and laughed a lot!

(LD, week B, 2019)

A great variety, fun an learnt a lot - thank you one and all!
(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 - 24th August). As a first time experience of getting my hands dirty on a historical site it proved to be all I could have hoped for. The range of elements covered in the training gave me a valuable in depth understanding of the degree of skills involved in discovering the past history of the site…
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- it helped when digging to have an idea about what we were seeing when we were digging. The field trips meant we saw how King John’s Castle fit into, and changed the environment around it. It’s a pity Hong Kong doesn’t have half term, or I’d be back sooner.
(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)- you get to try it all and the staff is so approachable, happy to answer questions. If you have the chance to attend this school, you’ll be happy that you did; regardless of your level of experience with archaeology, you will learn a lot, likely with a good bit of laughter along the way.
Thank you Andy, Sean & David for an excellent field school experience and I hope to return for another!

(K C-L, 2018 Week B, via Facebook)

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-standing research and hard work by Mercian, who are a not-for-profit, Community Interest organisation... Their ethos is outstanding. They have a firm emphasis on research, community engagement, training and education - all underpinned by their very obvious passion for the local Sherwood Forest archaeology and history.
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-knapping at the end of the week. I think I might manage a stone tool or two now, should things get apocalyptic... :-) Seriously, it was great fun.
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-ordinates, use of dumpy level, total station, and so on. Now, I don’t have a particularly refined maths brain, and it’s a (very) long time since my GCSEs but Andy presented it in such a way that we could apply and use it effectively. I was pretty impressed that his approach made it stick!
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-on roast dinners to kebabs, cottage pie and fish and chips and some rather naughty puddings. His homemade cinnamon sponge with homemade jam has custard was divine. I think there must have been some ex-army field catering experience there...but the food he produced every day was amazing and delicious.”
(KA, 2018 Week B).

Thanks folks! I had a really awesome time for that week. Andy, Sean, Dave and Mickey -- thanks so much for the endless knowledge and all subtle requests to just tell me a story. And the potatoes. I don't think I'm going to look at clay pipes the same way again... I'll definitely recommend this dig to other people and I'll watch for your future events.
(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 - just fantastic! Flint knapping, experimenting with tools - heaven. Andy, Sean and David at Mercian are so knowledgeably, professional and caring and are doing wonderful work at King John's Palace, it's a privilege to be part of it.
(LF, 2016 & 2017).

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