Introduction to archaeological survey in the Yorkshire Dales

Ref: C3672683

This course will introduce setting out and conducting geophysical surveys to investigate ancient landscapes. The Yorkshire Dales contain some of the best preserved historical earthworks 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. We will investigate targets that were identified during the earlier fieldcourse in May, but the two courses are running separately and no previous experience is necessary for either. These fieldcourses are part of a long-term investigation of the landscape of Kilnsey, and are expected to run again in the future so that students will be able to continue to develop their skills.

Course aim

The course will introduce techniques that may reveal evidence lying hidden beneath the surface, in an area of exceptional earthworks indicating ancient settlement and agriculture.

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:

  • Understand the roles of earth resistance and magnetic surveys on archaeological sites.
  • Carry out an earth resistance survey.
  • Carry out a gradiometer survey.
  • Demonstrate a preliminary understanding of the results.

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

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
  • Full waterproofs, waterproof walking boots, packed lunch, drinks. Nearest toilet facilities approx. 10-15 min. walk away from survey area. To operate the magnetic survey equipment students will need to wear metal-free clothing and footwear.

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


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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