The Archaeology of London

Ref: C2419095

This course will explore some of the fascinating archaeological evidence for London’s past. We will discuss key ‘moments’ in the development of London and consider the practical challenges and opportunities of urban archaeology. Using a broadly chronological approach, we will discuss the development of London from prehistory to the present. Class-based sessions and practical tasks will prompt discussion on different ‘moments’ in the history of London. We will consider urban growth in the evolution of the capital, exploring such issues as the role of the Thames, population change, marketing and trade, life and death, and defence and administration to consider what life was like during different periods of the capital's history. We will also explore the growth of Greater London and its villages, including a local focus.

Course aim

To explore the archaeology of London through its cultural monuments, topography and material remains to appreciate the rich archaeological evidence of the capital, both in inner and outer London.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • 1 Recognise some of the factors influencing the development of London.
  • 2 Have an enhanced appreciation of archaeological sites and materials of prehistoric, Roman, medieval, and later London.
  • 3 Have an appreciation of some archaeological discoveries in the local area.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • The tutor will provide regular feedback throughout the course.

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Nothing else required other than enthusiasm and a willingness to contribute to the class, and a notebook and pen or other notetaking device will be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Reading and websites are suggested through the course. If you are very keen to undertake reading beforehand this is an interesting book London: The Illustrated History, C Ross (Author), J Clark (Author), S Hall (Editor), Museum of London, 2011

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Further activities, reading and courses will be suggested throughout this course, and at the end.

Download full course outline

The Archaeology of London Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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