The West Suffolk Prehistoric Landscape Project

Location: Bury Road, Bury Saint Edmunds, UK

Season: July 22, 2024 to August 30, 2024

Session Dates: Week 1: 22/07/2024 - 26/07/2024
Week 2: 29/07/23 - 02/08/24
Week 3: 05/08/24 - 09/08/24
Week 4: 12/08/24 - 16/08/24
Week 5: 19/08/24 - 23/08/24
Week 6: 26/08/24 - 30/08/24

Application Deadline: July 19, 2024

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Past to Present Archaeology

Project Director:
Eleanor Boot

Project Description:

The West Suffolk Prehistoric Landscape Project is Past to Present Archaeology’s newest research initiative, focusing on investigating the peoples of the Bronze Age in Western Suffolk, United Kingdom. Currently, little evidence exists to help archaeologists understand Bronze Age migration and settlement in the region, and we want you to help us discover how Bronze Age communities lived, farmed, produced tools and items for everyday use, and buried their dead.

For the past two years we have been excavating one of the sites many ring ditches to better understand the nature, extent and function of the feature. In addition to excavation we undertook OSL (courtesy of Dr Andy Carr, University of Leicester) dating to provide more concrete chronology to the archaeology. The project was supported by community members as part of this growing crowd funded research project. Last season, multiple pits and postholes were found to be present within our targeted ring ditch. The site was found to have multiple occupation layers spanning from the Late Mesolithic through to the Bronze Age identified by hundreds of lithic artefacts and a small pottery assemblage. Two cremations were also discovered, one of which was excavated and is currently being analysed, and the other has been covered for a future excavation season. OSL dates suggest a date of 1300 BC for our study ring ditch, which places this monument in the Middle Bronze Age.

We are looking for participants to help crowdfund our research, and to take part in our excavations to help characterise the extensive archaeology. As you know, running archaeological research projects can be a very expensive exercise, so if you aren’t able to participate, but would still like to support our project, you can help support us by donating to our crowdfund page, which is available on our website. All money donated will be reinvested into the project and help cover costs of running the excavations and processing the results and archives.

You will receive archaeological training and instruction in:

  • Site conduct and health and safety considerations
  • Setting out archaeological grids for excavation, fieldwalking etc.
  • Clean and identify archaeological features and deposits
  • Stratigraphic excavation and recording
  • Maintaining accurate site records
  • Archaeological photography
  • Archaeological interpretation
  • Drawing archaeological plans and sections to appropriate scales
  • Archaeological survey with Leica GPS
  • Environmental sampling strategies
  • OSL Dating practices
  • Artefact retrieval and finds cataloguing
  • Dry sieving for flints

Additional Project Activities and Events

  • Finds handling and discussions
  • Flintworking training
  • Finally, a group visit to the local pub for some grub

Catering and Board

  • A light lunch will be provided each day of the field school, including sandwiches, fruit, drinks, etc.
  • Drinks and biscuits will be provided during breaks each day of the field school
  • Participants are welcome to bring their own food and drinks with them to have on breaks as well
  • We have limited camping availability if you would like to stay on site with our team. Camping will cost £50 a week. If you would like to include camping in your experience package, you can choose this option on the bookings page

Period(s) of Occupation: The Bronze Age in Britain began in roughly 2400 BC, and continued up until 800 BC. It was a time of significant change across the country; the advent of metalworking saw an increased use of copper and bronze tools which would ultimately replace the stone tools used by their forebears, alongside the flourishing of new ‘Beaker’ pottery and changes in burial practice towards interring individuals with rich grave assemblages. The Bronze Age saw significant growth in agriculture and settlement, with sites such as Flag Fen, Must Farm, Avebury, Silbury Hill and most famously Stonehenge, whose iconic circle of sarsen and blue stones was first erected around 2500 BC in the centre of a previous Neolithic monument and continued to undergo rearrangement over the next several centuries.

For 1 Week: £450 or £350 for students booked with valid university email address

We are also offering a 3 day environmental processing course for £275, but spaces are limited. See the Prehistoric Suffolk webpage for more details.

Flights are not included. Accommodation is not included, however you are welcome to camp on our campsite for an added £25 (you must bring your own tent with you). Campsite includes: Toilet, shower and cooking facilities.

Bookings for both the excavation and camping can be made via our website.

Project Size: 50+ participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 week

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
Please refer to Notes above

Academic Credit:
We will sign Archaeological Skills Passports

Contact Information:

Eleanor Boot

4 Gedling Street, Suite 80, Unit 6 Sneinton Market




United Kingdom

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