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The Oakington Archaeological Project: Life on the Edge

Location: United Kingdom

June 16, 2014 to July 14, 2014

Session dates: 
Single Session

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, June 7, 2014

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



University of Central Lancashire, Manchester Metropolitan University & the Institute for Field Research

Project Director:

Dr. Duncan Sayer, University of Central Lancashire; and Dr. Faye Simpson, Manchester Metropolitan University

Project Description

The Oakington Project is a multidisciplinary research effort that focuses on life during the Early, Middle and Late Anglo-Saxon Periods (ca. CE 450-1,000).  The project has three research components that are designed to produce a nuanced understanding of Oakington: The relationships of its inhabitants with their environment, each other, death and their dead.  This is a public archaeology project and community involvement includes research questions focused around the engaging of local people in research activity as a central focus of our activities.  For 2014, we will continue our bioarchaeological research at the site’s cemetery (dated to the early Anglo-Saxon period).  We will also continue our excavation and careful study of domestic dwellings and ditches at the site.  This is a public archaeology project, design to engage the local community in the research at Oakington.  Students should expect that interaction between team members and the public will be enriching, complex and may, at times, be challenging.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early, Middle and Late Anglo-Saxon Periods

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full program length

Minimum age: 
18 years old

Experience required: 
No previous experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements

Students, supervisors and at least one director camp 50 yards from site in their own tents. Students are responsible for keeping the campsite tidy and a daily rota of litter pickers maintain the appearance of the camp.  A single, large marquee at the center of the site is used as a communal dinning location, public work/relax place, and provides shelter during rainy days. There are site buildings in the car part that operate s a lab, office, tool store and finds processing area.
The project is very fortunate to have access to the Parish recreation building. This includes a fully equipped kitchen, oven, sink and dishwasher. The parish installed a washing machine for our sole use. We have access to the public showers. Students on the project are organized into daily routines – cooking, cleaning (rec building), tidying (campsite and grounds) lunch, and washing up.

All room and board costs are included in tuition (excluding weekend meals)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Connecticut College
Number of credits offered 8 semester credit units (equivalent to 12 quarter units)


Contact Information
Institute for Field Research
1855 Industrial St. #106
Los Angeles
424 226-6130
Recommended Bibliography: 

Carver, M. 1992. The Age of Sutton Hoo. Woodbridge, Boydell.

Hamerow, H. 2004. Early Medieval Settlement. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Lucy, S. 1999. The Anglo-Saxon Way of Death. Sutton, Stroud. [Ch 1: 1-16, Ch 2: 16-65, Ch 5: 123-154]

Reynolds, A. 1999. Later Anglo-Saxon England: Life and Landscape. Stroud, Tempus.

Sayer, D. & Dickinson, S.D. (2013) Reconsidering Obstetric Death and Female Fertility in Anglo-Saxon England World Archaeology 45(2): 285-297 doi:10.1080/00438243.2013.799044

Sayer, D. 2009. "Is there a crisis facing British burial archaeology?"  Antiquity 83: 184-194.

Sayer, D. Mortimer, R. & Simpson, F. 2011 "Anglo-Saxon Oakington: Life and death in the East Anglian Fens." Current Archaeology 261: 20-27

Taylor, A., Corrine, D. & Hines, J. 1998. "An Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Oakington, Cambridgeshire." Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 86: 57–90.

Welch, M.  1994. Anglo-Saxon England. London, English Heritage.

Williams, H. 2006. Death & Memory in Early Medieval Britain. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Ch 4: 117-144]