‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ Course 2024

Location: 6W24+WJ Mansfield, UK

Season: May 13, 2024 to May 17, 2024

Session Dates: 2024 Dates: Week of 13th - 17th May 2024

Application Deadline: May 12, 2024

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Project Director:
Andy Gaunt

Project Description:

This 5-day Landscape Archaeology course combines class-room lectures, field visits, and site tours of the landscape, to give an immersive learning experience, introducing students to the wide and exciting field of landscape archaeology.

The course uses the legendary landscape of Sherwood Forest as the main case study, with site visits to Creswell Crags, Thynghowe and Robin Hood’s Hill, Laxton and Wellow villages,  The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve, and  Thoresby Park, and also includes examples from around the UK and the wider world, to enable students to experience the subject first-hand and to begin seeing the landscape in a new way.

The course studies not only the changes in landscape use over time, but also how peoples relationship to the landscape, in terms of it was viewed and imagined, changed over time as well.

The course introduces the history of landscape archaeology as a discipline and the evolution of the philosophies of landscape archaeology including those of processual and post-processual archaeology.

It also presents many of the methods available for examining, recording and viewing the landscape, and for reconstructing historic landscapes, including:

  • topographic survey,
  • geophysical survey,
  • LiDAR and landscapes,
  • multi-spectral data,
  • historic mapping analysis,
  • aerial photography,
  • archaeoastronomy, and the relationship of landscapes to skyscapes.

The physical landscape is explored including:

  • the geological formations (and geological history),
  • soils,
  • topography,
  • rivers,
  • and in particular the resultant impact these physical aspects have on subsequent settlement patterns and land-use

The human landscape is then studied in relation to this underlying physical landscape, including the evolution of landscapes over time from prehistoric to present day.  

  • settlement patterns,
  • toponymic survey (place-name studies) and what place-names reveal of the physical and cultural landscape.
  • Villagescapes and daily life,
  • geology and the built environment,
  • agricultural practices (pastoral and arable),
  • the importance of different plants and their uses, and the impact on the landscape (focusing on Sherwood Forest).

The course then looks at different layers of cultural, and imagined landscapes:

  • political and administrative (including Viking assembly, hunting, and Forest law as local case studies),
  • human landscapes and experience,
  • philosophy and landscape,
  • art, poetry, literature and landscape,
  • skyscapes and monuments,
  • semiotics (the signs, language and symbols) of landscape,
  • allegory and landscape (literary, religious and cultural – case studies include Clipstone and the Designed medieval landscape),
  • legendary landscapes (including Robin Hood).
  • Enclosure, and clearing of the common land,
  • 18h and 19th century English Landscape Garden design, and the Dukeries Estates, including Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton,
  • Romanticism, notions of beauty, the sublime, and the picturesque, and their impact on  17th 18th, and 19th century landscapes
  • and much more…

The course then looks at some of the ways archaeologists attempt to understand the subjective human experience of landscapes in the past including:

  • Cognitive landscapes
  • Phenomenology of landscape

The course is located at King John’s Palace in Sherwood Forest, and includes site visits around the Sherwood Forest landscape.

The course includes entry to, and a guided tour of the Palaeolithic Rock art at the site of Creswell Crags, as well as many other sites in the world famous Sherwood Forest landscape.

This course is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced archaeologist. For those wishing to develop their skills, for students and post-graduates seeking to fulfil the experience requirements of their courses… for those wishing to pursue a career in archaeology, or improve their knowledge to give them the edge at work… for those looking to acquire cross-transferable skills… for volunteer wishing to raise their game, impress their friends, and increase their enjoyment of archaeology and heritage through a greater skill set and knowledge base…. through to people simply wishing to learn for the love of learning…

Everyone is welcome… no previous knowledge or experience is required…

Indoor training will take place at the Tin Tabernacle, King John’s Palace. Kings Clipstone. The outdoor elements will take place around the landscape of Sherwood Forest including the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

Period(s) of Occupation: All periods


Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 week

Minimum Age: 15

Experience Required: No Experience Required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation not provided

Contact Information:

Andy Gaunt

Staffordshire House Beechdale Road




United Kingdom

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