Introduction to archaeological survey in the Yorkshire Dales

Ref: C3672682

The Yorkshire Dales contain some of the best preserved ancient landscapes in the country, but there are still areas that have never been investigated or recorded in detail. The course is based in one such location near Kilnsey in Upper Wharfedale, near the site of an important medieval grange of Fountains Abbey where there is also evidence for settlement going back perhaps two thousand years or more. This preliminary course will begin by developing students' skills in recognising ancient features, and will introduce strategies for recording areas of complex earthwork evidence. In addition to introducing basic recording skills using tape measures, we will look at how the latest technology including differential GPS and LiDAR can be used. We will identify targets that will be investigated by geophysical survey in a second course in July: the two courses are running separately and no previous experience is necessary for either.

Course aim

Based in an area with some of the best preserved ancient landscapes in the country, the course will develop observational skills and introduce traditional survey techniques and the latest technology.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

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

  • Recognise ancient earthworks.
  • Carry out a preliminary walk-over survey.
  • Use tape triangulation and offsets to record earthworks.
  • Understand the roles of differential GPS and LiDAR in earthwork surveys.

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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • You will need full waterproofs, waterproof walking boots and a packed lunch and flask/drinks. The nearest toilet facilities will be approximately a 10-15 min. walk away from our survey location.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

Introduction to archaeological survey in the Yorkshire Dales

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This course has been cancelled.


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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