Sherwood Forest Archaeological Training Field School

Location: Kings Clipstone, Mansfield NG21, UK

Season: July 22, 2024 to August 16, 2024

Session Dates: Week A: 22nd - 26th July, Week B: 29th - 2nd July, Week C: 12th - 9th August, Week D: 12th - 16th August,

Application Deadline: August 11, 2023

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Project Director:
Andy Gaunt

Project Description:

This is not an ordinary field school – this is a ‘training field school’ where you will learn about all aspects of archaeological excavation and receive hands on training and learning from archaeological professionals in the heart of Sherwood Forest…

As well as offering the best in archaeological training and support, the Field School is tailored towards enabling attendees to fulfil the requirements of the Archaeological Skills Passport.

This course is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced digger.

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 diggers 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…

You will receive training and experience in many techniques of excavation, including The Core Skills of the Archaeological Skills Passport:

Handtools (Trowel etc)
Handtools (Spade, Mattock etc)
Site Formation Processes
Stratigraphic Excavation
Context Sheet Recording
Site Photography
Site Grid and Trench Layout
Dumpy Level and Staff
Section Drawing
Collection of Samples
Artefact Recovery, Recording & Storage
Site Safety

Plus many higher level archaeological techniques that make up the Secondary Skills of the
Archaeology Skills Passport including:

Finds Processing

As well as covering skill requirements for the Passport we also provide:

Pottery identification,
Finds handling,
Finds processing,
History of Ceramics lectures,
And much more…

As well as the above all school attendees will receive the following:

All techniques are taught and experienced throughout the week, with hands on training from our Archaeological experts. Every attendee will learn to excavate, draw sections and plans, and fill in context sheets and paperwork.
Delegates will undertake workshops in surveying including:
Measuring and recording heights with a dumpy level
Laying out a trench in the field from co-ordinates
Hands on learning and training is supplemented with seminars covering many of the subjects listed above – providing the theory behind the practice.
Information from lectures is made available via online ‘hand-outs’. These will be made available to attendees to download via a file-share. The details for access are provided prior to the field school. The files can be downloaded and are for students to keep. Mercian aim to be an environmentally friendly company and this helps us to work towards reducing our environmental footprint.
This course is suitable for people of all archaeological abilities from beginner wishing to take their first step, to experienced diggers wishing to take the next step, and from university students and post-graduates needing more experience, to retired people wanting to fulfil a life’s ambition… all are welcome and will be treated equally… the experience is tailored to the individual through hands on personal supervision.
Field Days include lunch provided by our field caterers which will be eaten in our welfare area in the field.
On-site toilet facilities are provided along with welfare tents.
All equipment is provided, although you are welcome to bring you own trowels etc (more details when you have booked).
As well as all the above you will learn about the history and archaeology of Sherwood Forest, and also about the designed royal hunting landscape and Palace at its heart. Mercian Archaeological Services CIC run the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project and are at the leading edge of research into this landscape of legends…

Evening field visit (optional attendance):

Field Visit to Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve- learn about Forest Law, the History of Sherwood Forest, and see some of the archaeology in the Country Park- also visit the Major Oak, legendary hideaway of Robin Hood!

About King John’s Palace and Sherwood Forest

The Sherwood Forest Archaeology Training Field School focuses on the royal hunting lodge and palatial enclosure of the King’s Houses, now known as King John’s Palace, and the designed landscape that surrounded it.

King John’s Palace was the Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest in the Medieval period.

The site was visited by all 8 kings from Henry II to Richard II, with King John possibly holding a proto-parliament there in the early 13th century and Edward I holding Parliament there in 1290.

Recent archaeological work by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC has helped to reveal the size and importance of the site, and has also interpreted the surrounding lordship as a ‘designed’ medieval romantic hunting landscape.

The palace was sat at the heart of medieval Sherwood Forest and provided amenities for hunting, royal retreat, and the entertaining of foreign royalty and important members of society.

Period(s) of Occupation: All periods, focusing on Early Medieval, Medieval and Post-medieval

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 week

Minimum Age: 15

Experience Required: No Experience is required

Room and Board Arrangements:
Accommodation is not provided

Contact Information:

Andy Gaunt

Staffordshire House Beechdale Road




United Kingdom

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