Fieldwork is a core element of all of the undergraduate degrees at the Institute of Archaeology. You are required to undertake a minimum of 70 days on field projects. Fieldwork grants are available for the full 70 days. The first year begins with four days spent on an Experimental Archaeology course currently based at West Dean in Sussex. ‘Prim Tech’, as it is fondly known, provides a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn about pre-industrial technologies and to socialise with fellow students. The first year ends with a formal 12-day field training course, also based at West Dean. In recent years these course have been based on the excavation of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery, a Downland landscape, a Medieval castle and several Roman villas in various locations.
Following on from the field training course, BA/BSc Archaeology and Egyptian Archaeology students are required to undertake the additional days on a variety of field and post-excavation projects and to document this experience in a portfolio which is assessed at the start of the third year. For your first project after the training course, you are expected to join an approved excavation in Britain. There are also opportunities to work with a member of the Institute’s staff elsewhere in the world. Currently, staff are working on projects in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa as well as the Near and Far East. Classical Archaeology students spend this time undertaking a study tour of the Mediterranean, while Archaeology and Anthropology students can combine fieldwork projects from both disciplines. The remaining days of the 70 days requirement may be spend learning additional field or field-related skills or undertaking fieldwork for the third year dissertation. Alternative arrangements can be made for any students with disabilities for whom a full fieldwork programme may present particular difficulties.
Students are able to claim a grant towards the cost of travel and subsistence. Fieldwork costs vary with location of the projects; this grant may not cover all your expenses if you choose to work abroad. A booklet, The Survival Guide for Archaeological Fieldwork, detailing the type of clothing and other equipment needed is available from Charlotte Frearson (Undergraduate Programme Administrator). At 2010 prices, £250 would cover basic costs for a trowel, boots, waterproof clothing, a sleeping bag, a tent and other essentials.