The West Suffolk Prehistoric Landscape Project

COVID-19 NOTICE: Please be sure to reach out to the project contact to find out the status of their upcoming season. Many projects have altered fieldwork plans and the information below may not reflect that.

This listing expired on September 3, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Bury St Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds, UK

Season: August 22, 2022 to September 2, 2022

Session Dates: Week 1: 21/08/2022 - 26/08/2022 Week 2: 28/08/2022 - 02/08/2022

Application Deadline: July 31, 2022

Deadline Type: Exact Date


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

Past to Present Archaeology

Project Director:
Rupert Birtwistle

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.

Our excavations are taking place on a landscape littered with prehistoric enclosures and ring ditches near Bury St Edmunds, UK. The summer of 2021 marked the breaking of ground on this long-term research project. Four exploratory trenches were dug among a landscape filled with prehistoric enclosures close to Bury St Edmunds. Within the trenches our team of archaeologists and volunteers investigated a cluster of large ring ditches that had been revealed through extensive geophysical survey, and thought to be either evidence of a Bronze Age barrow cemetery or enclosure ditches to a settlement. Our first season of archaeological work aimed to characterise these ancient monuments through dateable evidence, and in doing so we learned that these ring ditches were likely associated with both prehistoric settlement, possibly acting as enclosures around houses, and barrow cemeteries.

Our 2022 season aims to further explore the features and monuments examined last year to achieve a more concrete understanding of their purpose and contribute to the wider discussion around Bronze Age settlement in Suffolk and Prehistoric Britain. We are also pleased to welcome back volunteers to become involved again in this exciting project!

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 at: 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

  • There will be a weekly evening lecture (lectures TBC, and published soon)
  • 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: £400

For both weeks: £750

Flights are not included. Accommodation is not included, however you are welcome to camp on our campsite for an added £50 (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: 1-24 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:

Rupert Birtwistle

4 Gedling Street, Suite 80, Unit 6 Sneinton Market




United Kingdom

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