Lincoln Archaeological Field School 2019: Exploring Roman and Medieval Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, GB

Season: June 10, 2019 to July 6, 2019

Application Deadline: May 24, 2019

Deadline Type: Exact date


Program Type:
Field school

RPA Certified:

School of Humanities Bishop Grosseteste University Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

Project Director:
Dr Duncan Wright

Project Description:

Lincoln Archaeological Field School 

The Lincoln Archaeological Field School is a university-based training excavation which offers you the chance to gain fully-transferable academic credit at the same time as learning the key skills of archaeological fieldwork. The 2019 season will run from 10th June to 6th July and is now accepting applications from international and UK students, as well as volunteers. Based in the stunning historic city of Lincoln, England, you will have the chance to experience layers of history both on and off site. This year the Field School will continue to excavate the site of a friary in the heart of ancient Lincoln, and expects to encounter significant Roman and medieval archaeological remains. All training on the Field School is provided by qualified and highly experienced staff, with teaching delivered through a combination of practical on-site training as well as lectures and workshops.

The Field School offers you the chance to gain fully transferable academic credits, and is worth 5 US credits (or 10 ECTS or 20 UK credits). Credits will be awarded on completion of a fieldwork assignment, set at the beginning of the Field School. If you choose to earn credits, you will receive academic supervision and also be given access to our Digital Learning Environment, as well as the university’s well-resourced library and other facilities.

As archaeological excavation can be tough work, we operate a very civilized Monday to Friday working week. Having the weekend not only gives you time to rest but also offers you the perfect opportunity to explore Lincoln and beyond during your time with us!

In the summer of 2018 the archaeology department of Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) undertook an excavation at St Hugh’s, a property located on Newport, in central Lincoln. Located at the junction of Rasen Lane, St Hugh’s is a Grade II Listed Building, which was recently purchased by the university, with the aid of a European Regional Development Fund grant, in order to house the Lincolnshire Open Research and Innovation Centre. In addition to its built fabric, St Hugh’s is located in an area of significant below-ground archaeological potential, which the archaeologists at BGU sought to explore.

During the Roman period, the land lay adjacent to the northern extension of Ermine Street, a route that is perpetuated today as Newport. In the medieval period, the area developed into the suburb of Newport and was unusually demarcated by a formal boundary—a ditch and earthwork bank – which survived mostly intact until the eighteenth century, but which today only survives as a slight scarp in the grounds of the BGU campus. The suburb was served by two churches, St Nicholas and St John; the unequal distribution of land belonging to each church suggests that St John was a later parish, and that its property was carved out of the existing parish of St Nicholas.  The area which was later to become St Hugh’s was situated on the edge of Newport Green—a long, narrow market place which formed the backbone of the suburb. Perhaps more significantly, historic maps also indicate that the area later occupied by St Hugh’s was the location of an Augustinian Friary, the only major institution in the suburb, which was founded in the thirteenth century. There is little documentary evidence relating to the friary, and the boundaries, internal features and history of the house are poorly understood.

With the site having such significant archaeological potential, the excavation team decided to excavate two trenches at St Hugh’s; one at the front of the property, and one at the rear. Investigation at the front identified at least one Roman tenement fronting onto Ermine Street. Situated just outside of the city walls, the form of this structure and the character of the finds recovered, suggest that it was probably a trader’s tenement. This would likely have been comprised of a shop at the front of the property, behind which would have been a workshop and domestic space, and a yard or garden at the rear. Excavations found a burial at the interface of the inside and outside space, in what is often called an eaves-drip location, a feature formed by water falling from the roof of a building and creating a linear or curving indentation in the ground. Burials such as this are closely connected to traders’ properties, and may have brought good luck or protection to the building. As expected, little archaeology relating to the medieval period was found in the front trench, as this would have been occupied by Newport Green. However, medieval walls were identified in the back garden of St Hugh’s during the final week of fieldwork. These remains were buried at a significant depth (c.1.5m) due to later landscaping and, while it is difficult to be certain at this stage, it is highly likely that these deposits relate to the Augustinian Friary and post-medieval secular residence.

While the summer of archaeology in 2018 proved hugely exciting, and included the discovery of some wonderful finds and features, there is still plenty more to investigate. The 2019 season will excavate the Roman trader’s tenement and the medieval elements of the friary in more detail, helping us to understand key developments in the evolution of historic Lincoln.  

Period(s) of Occupation: Roman, Medieval

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: One week

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No previous experience required for participation as all training provided. Students requiring academic credits must be registered at a recognised university studying a relevant subject such as anthropology, archaeology, etc.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Optional self-catering accommodation during your attendance on the Field School is available in Bishop Grosseteste’s Halls dormitories at an additional cost. Located in the historic heart of Roman and medieval Lincoln, the accommodation comprises individual bedrooms around a shared cooking and living space. The University’s dormitories are all located in the uphill district of Lincoln with a number of restaurants, food outlets and other shops within a few minutes’ walk.  Cost: £250 per week (non credited) OR £1500 for entire school (with academic credit)

Academic Credit:
20 UK CATS credits, equivalent to 10 ECTS credits or 5 US credits (subject to approval for transfer from your host institution). credits offered by School of Humanities Bishop Grosseteste University Lincoln, UK. Tuition is During the 2019 season Field School students will be given formal tuition in the following activities: Archaeological project management including health and safety, Geophysical site survey techniques, Artefact and landscape 3D modelling, Excavation strategy and decision making, Stratigraphic (single-context) recording systems, Completing archaeological context descriptions, Plan and section drawing Surveying and levelling (including DGPS survey), Archaeological photography, Processing and recording archaeological artefacts, including basic conservation methods, Processing environmental archaeological samples, including flotation sieving, Introduction to the post-excavation process..

Contact Information:

Dr Duncan Wright

School of Humanities, Bishop Grosseteste University




United Kingdom

Phone: +44 1522 583774

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