Institute of Archaeology


UCL’s ‘Prim Tech’ Course is moving to Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire

15 July 2019

From September 2019, Butser Ancient Farm will be hosting the UCL Institute of Archaeology’s annual ‘Prim Tech’ course, marking a partnership in teaching, research, and public engagement in the technologies of the past and their contributions to sustainability in the present.

Photo of, from left to right, Maureen Page (Butser Ancient Farm Director) with her dog, Fagan; Sue Hamilton (UCL-IoA Director) and Simon Jay (Butser Ancient Farm Director) outside the farm's Iron Age round house.

The ‘Primary Technologies’ course has been run every year by the UCL Institute of Archaeology since 1982. It introduces first year undergraduate students, at the very beginning of their time at University, to the basic elements of technology, essential crafts and skills. These include making stone tools, extracting copper from ore, making and firing clay pots, processing crops to make bread, and learning about constructing ancient buildings.  As well as these core skills the students learn how important experiments are in understanding the past, how to build useful experimental approaches to archaeology and how to use the results to interpret data in more nuanced and sophisticated ways.

In considering where to relocate this course, after more than a decade based in West Sussex, Butser Ancient Farm was an obvious choice. Founded in 1972 by the celebrated experimental archaeologist Peter Reynolds, Butser has been a pioneering force in understanding ancient farming and prehistoric technologies and is internationally recognised for its contribution to the field. Run today as a community interest company, Butser Ancient farm is a powerful force in school and adult education in exploring the human past and in providing opportunities for unique experiences and experiments in the technologies encompassed by past societies and still used by many traditional societies.

According to Butser Ancient Farm Director, Maureen Page:

  • “I am excited to welcome UCL Institute of Archaeology to Butser Ancient Farm. For us this signals a new chapter in the farm's development. We value this collaboration as it will enhance our ability to promote current research and encourage the enthusiasm of new archaeologists, enabling us to bring this knowledge and understanding to a wide and varied audience. Experience, experiment and education were the founding principles of Butser Ancient Farm for Peter Reynolds and this opportunity will help us to reinforce these principles.”

UCL Institute of Archaeology Director, Sue Hamilton indicated:

  • “I’m thrilled by this collaboration and it could not be at a better place. The common ethos and interests of the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Butser Ancient Farm makes this a compelling partnership centre around investigating ‘primary technologies’ to better elucidate the past and provide more alternatives for sustaining present-day environments and resources.”

Further details