Institute of Archaeology


40th anniversary of Experimental Archaeology course

10 October 2022

The recent Archaeo-Tech event, hosted by Butser Ancient Farm and run by colleagues from the UCL Institute of Archaeology and Archaeology South-East (ASE), marks the 40th anniversary of our Experimental Archaeology course for new undergraduates.

ArchaeoTech 40th Anniversary at Butser Ancient Farm (Sept 2022)

Kiln firing during 40th Anniversary ArchaeoTech course at Butser Ancient Farm (Sept 2022)

Each year our new undergraduate students start their degree programme with four days camping and experimental archaeology, Archaeo-Tech. This provides them with an informal but immersive way to get to know their fellow students and to be introduced to archaeological issues, before they study them in lectures. 

Archaeo-Tech, was first established in 1982 when it was run by Peter Drewett on fields adjacent to his house, with the support of Richard Reece, Mark Newcomer and others. It has been held at various locations over the intervening years, and was moved to Butser Ancient Farm in 2019.

Due to COVID, the September course has not run for two years, although students were invited to participate in an Archaeo-Tech in April 2022. But, we were very pleased to be able to fully utilise our partnership with Butser again at the start of this academic year, especially given Butser’s forthcoming 50th anniversary. 
Our students were able to participate in a wide range of activities including flint knapping, building construction (wattle and daub), pottery making and kiln firing, metal working, crop processing, landscape walks and a review of archaeological reconstructions at Butser.

40th Anniversary ArchaeoTech at Butser Ancient Farm (Sept 2022)

This year, with the exception of one day, the weather was kind to us!
The course takes a huge amount of organisation. Bill Sillar and Charlotte Frearson liaise with the students and staff contributors from the Institute of Archaeology in Bloomsbury, while Matthew Pope, Letty Ingrey and Alice Duleba-Dowsett from Archaeology South-East organise the logistics for setup at Butser. 

According to Matthew Pope of the Archaeo-Tech co-ordination team:

  This 40th anniversary of the experimental archaeology course was one of the most enjoyable and enriching courses in memory.  Archaeo-Tech brings together everyone in a unique way at the start of every term and gives our students not only skills in materials, archaeological interpretation and experiment design, but a great introduction to the spirit of the department. The course has been transformed through its new home at Butser Ancient Farm, which provides us with both tremendous support and iconic location for us to work in.” 

Life-time friendships have been made at Archaeo-Tech and we have former staff and students from its entire history still coming back to contribute today.
Thanks are given to all who participated in Archaeo-Tech this year and a very warm welcome to our new students!

40th Anniversary ArchaeoTech at Butser Ancient Farm (Sept 2022)

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