Archaeology: How does an excavation work?

Ref: C3675735

Most of us have seen an archaeological excavation on TV, but how do archaeologists go from digging a foundation ditch and fragments of pottery to a picture of a whole building and pots. This course will take us through the process of digging and how we record what we have found. We will look at the various scientific methods used to help us and the principals of stratigraphy that ensure that what we dig makes logical sense. It will also introduce the ways that we make everything we have recorded tell a story that people will be interested in. Our courses are about learning together by talking about the past, having our own ideas and building the confidence to chat and learn. We are a relaxed and welcoming group, why not join us?

Course aim

What are the principals that make an excavation work? This course will introduce how we identify features and excavate them in the right order. We will look at the different ways we record our excavations and take the evidence to build a story.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • You do not need prior knowledge of archaeology, but if you have been studying aspects of the subject this will help you understand how we make sense of what we find.

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

  • I will be able to show that I understand how to recognize an archaeological feature in the ground.
  • I will be able to discuss which are the most appropriate methods of excavation using a variety of tools.
  • I will understand the variety of scientific methods used to support archaeologists, especially for dating materials.
  • I will demonstrate that I can use a Harris Matrix to order the different layers that have been excavated.
  • I will be able to discuss the way that evidence is used to tell the story of an archaeological site.

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 be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

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
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course information sheet

Archaeology: How does an excavation work?

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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