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Bradford Kaims Wetlands Excavation

Location: Bamburgh, Northumberland, United Kingdom

June 11, 2017 to July 15, 2017

Session dates: 
Stay anywhere from 1 to 5 weeks. 2 week minimum recommended. June 11th- June 17th, June 18th- June 24th, June 25th- July 1st, July 2nd- July 8th, July 9th- July 15th,

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, July 8, 2017

Deadline Type: 

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Bamburgh Research Project

Project Director:

Graeme Young B.Sc. Paul Gething B.Sc.

Project Description

Bradford Kaims Wetlands Field School runs between June 11th and July 15th, 2017. Work starts Monday June 12th 2017. Prices are £300.00 per week if paying by cash or cheque (advance payment necessary) or + 5% if you wish to pay via PayPal (available as a booking option on our website)  

For year round details of us please go to our blog: full details of our last season are on there if you go back through the articles.

Students book using the online booking form on the ‘Field School’ section of our website or email project director or field school coordinator:

The Bradford Kaims project has been running since 2010 and is a project run as part of Bamburgh Research Project, with collaborations from the local community and palaeo-environmentalist Dr. Richard Tipping. The project was supported in 2012 by English Heritage and the National Lottery scheme.

The wetland itself is known as Newham bog, an ancient wetland that formed following the retreat of glaciation 12,000 years ago. Our investigations so far have revealed a promontory reaching out into the bog that has evidence of human activity around the edge of the marshy lake. We have uncovered two massive features that have been interpreted as Burnt mounds. These Bronze age features are fascinating and there are several theories about what function they served, from prehistoric saunas, to smoking meat and fish, and even brewing.

In addition to the mounds there are further cut features including pits, and slab hearths or troughs. Finds from the sites include many Neolithic flints and even an Aurochs bone preserved in the peat. We are hoping we may be able to locate weirs or even jetties in the waterlogged deposits around the lake edge, as excavation progresses. The kaims site offers a completely different digging experience for students, and we are lucky to be working with Dr. Richard Tipping from the University of Stirling, who has joined us to conduct extensive environmental sampling of the wetland landscape, using deep peat cores to chart the landscape changes the the end of glaciation. This is also a very fun activity with immediate results as you can see the changes from clay to marl to peat bands very clearly. With geophysics results showing many more potential early features of human activity, this is a good year to get involved in this expanding part of the project.

The project is open to ANYONE - as full training will be provided. 

You can also find us through the following links:

our website:


YouTube channel:

Twitter @ 

Period(s) of Occupation: Mesolithic to Bronze Age

Bradford Kaims Project, Northumberland Wetlands Initiative is a training dig run by Bamburgh Research Project, part funded by English Heritage. We are examining the palaeo-environmental evidence dating back to the last ice age that is preserved in a series of peat bogs in the region of north Northumberland, UK near Bamburgh Castle. A season of fieldwork involving test-pitting, excavation, environmental sampling, coring and survey will be undertaken between June 11th and July 15th, 2017 Students will get the opportunity to experience: Coring, environmental sampling, excavation, post excavation processing, lithics analysis and archaeological survey techniques and will receive full training.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 week

Minimum age: 
12 accompanied, 16 unaccompanied

Experience required: 
No experience necessary as full training will be provided

Room and Board Arrangements


Camping accommodation is included in the fees and is located at Bluebell Farm Camping and Caravan Park. They have full facilities in the village of Belford just 5 miles from Bamburgh Castle. The campsite has a toilet block with showers, washbasins & WCs, free wireless internet access, and secure storage. A service wash arrangement is available at an additional charge on-site, or you can use the public laundrette at the end of the campsite driveway.


A 2-person tent will be provided for you. You will not be permitted to bring your own tent due to campsite rules. If you will be attending with another student and wish to share a larger tent please get in contact.


Storage space will be available, so if you have lots of baggage we should be able to store it for you. If you are coming from overseas we may be able to purchase a tent on your behalf or take delivery of one you order online.


We do not provide food but there are modest cooking facilities available, as well as additional BBQ facilities throughout the camping area. We will host a weekly BBQ. We provide the fire, you bring whatever you want to throw on – this usually happens at the beginning of the week to help new students settle in. A daily prepared packed lunch is available from the campsite for a modest cost if you don’t want to make your own, which you should order in advance at the campsite reception.

Village Amenities:

There are numerous amenities within the village. Food outlets include take aways/restaurant/bar meals; there are three pubs, a golf club, community club, coffee shop, farm shop, and resource centre. The local shops include a post office, launderette, newsagents and small licensed supermarket, open 07.00 to 22.00 daily. There is a Doctor's surgery, dental surgery and chemist within the village. We will also have daily access to the local village club for events and socialising, and this has a games room, function hall and bar. They plan to host weekly events such as discos and karaoke for our benefit, and we will be able to have our weekly quiz and lectures there.

Campsite Details:

We are camping at Bluebell Farm Camping and Caravan Park. This is where you need to get to when you arrive at the project. This campsite is situated in the historic village of Belford, easily accessible by car or bus from the main A1 trunk road between Newcastle and Edinburgh. Buses run regularly from the mainline train station at Berwick upon Tweed about 15 miles to the north. The campsite address is: Bluebell Farm, West Street, Belford, Northumberland, NE70 7QE Tel: 01668 213362

Alternate Accomodation:

There are many different kinds of alternate accommodation in the local area, including other campsites, caravan sites, bed and breakfasts, hotels and self catering holiday cottages. There are even static caravans and holiday cottages available though Bluebell farm in Belford where we are staying. You need to contact them directly to book. A list of such places is located at the bottom of our Accommodation page.

An important part of any dig is the social side, getting to know new people from all over the world who have a common interest in archaeology. Our aim is that the experience of Bamburgh Research Project is both educational and highly enjoyable for all participants. All of our social events are open to all participants regardless of whether or not you choose to camp with us, but unfortunately we cannot normally offer transport between the campsite and private accommodations. Luckily, Belford is well positioned on bus routes and there are local taxi firms.

Cost: £300 per week if paying by cash or cheque otherwise + 5% via Pay Pal

Academic Credit

Number of credits offered : We offer to write a detailed Student Assessment for our those seeking credit through their University. Credit is not automatic. You must discuss with your University and then inform our staff on your arrival day if you will require an assessment.
Professional field archaeologists and post-graduate students form the core of our training staff. The BRP’s on-site Directors are the key members of this team and are present throughout the excavation season. Each area of excavation will also have a Supervisor and Assistant Supervisor who are responsible for the hands on tuition students receive each day. Students receive tuition in excavation techniques, from trowelling delicate deposits, defining and excavating cut features, sampling deposits, to de-turfing, mattocking and shovelling test pits. We explain the fundamentals of archaeological recording, and show students how to fill out context sheets and registers. We teach scale drawing of site plans and sections. Site photography is another part of this recording tuition. We also teach survey techniques, using the dumpy level, setting out grids and 3D recording of finds and grid points. Environmental coring survey is conducted by our staff and project participants under the overall direction of Richard Tipping. Our post-excavation tuition includes environmental sampling techniques, wet -sieving and sorting residues and flots. Sampling and care of waterlogged materials will also be taught. We have an active finds department, and participants will help with the post-excavation processing of all finds, from bulk materials to small finds. They will learn to use the small finds register, learn to recognise different materials and objects and how to process them for storage. Database and archive management is another part of this process. Participants will be inducted to each site with a health and safety discussion and given a tour of the site and the finds department prior to commencing excavation. Participants can also get involved with our outreach department, filming the site or create entries for our blog and social media output. Research opportunities available for Undergraduate dissertations and Post-Graduate research.


Contact Information
Graeme Young
23 Kingsdale Avenue
United Kingdom
NE24 4EN
Recommended Bibliography: 

Bennet, M. and K. L. R. Pedersen, A Neolithic Polished Flint Axehead from Near Louth, Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, 35:56:00, 2000,
Waddington, Clive & Kristian Pedersen (editors), Mesolithic Studies in the North Sea Basin and Beyond: Proceedings of a Conference Held at Newcastle in 2003., 2007, Oxford: Oxbow Books
Waddington, Clive, Geoff Bailey, Alex Bayliss, Ian Boomer, Nicky Milner, Kristian Pedersen, Robert Shiel and Tony Stevenson, A Mesolithic Settlement at Howick, Northumberland: A Preliminary Report, Archaeologia Aeliana (5th Series), 32: 3-12, 2003, Newcastle upon Tyne
Milner, N., O. Craig, G. Bailey, K. Pedersen & S.H. Andersen, Something Fishy in the Neolithic ? An Assessment of the Use of Stable Isotopes in the Reconstruction of Subsistence, Antiquity, 78: 299, 2004,