Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities In Sussex 2003

Subject List

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Many of you will have seen archaeologists locally, or on the television, on programmes such as Time Team, and wondered how you can have a go yourself. This page is designed to tell you how, if you live in Sussex that is. Digs are attended by a wide variety of people, of ages anywhere from sixteen onwards, with quite a few retired people getting involved. The insurance at digs doesn't usually cover those under sixteen, but younger people can get involved by joining their local branch of the Young Archaeologists Club, who do get involved with fieldwork throughout the year. You usually don't have to pay anything to go on a volunteer dig, but societies do like you to become a member for insurance purposes, though the cost is usually fairly low. Please also make sure that your tetanus jabs are up to date.

What You Will Need

You will need to bring some items along to the dig, some are essential, and some are optional, the essential items are :

  • A Four Inch Pointing Trowel - From a DIY store. To get digging, you will need a trowel. Make sure it is cast in a single piece rather than riveted, or it will fall apart fairly quickly.
  • A Kneeling Mat - Found in any garden centre. To save your knees from being shredded by sharp flint. Some people prefer pads that can be strapped to the knees instead.
  • Food and Water - Rather unsurprisingly, there are no restaurant facilities at most digs, so bring enough to eat and drink for the day. On a hot day, you can get through litres of liquid.
  • A Hat - To keep the sun off, and the hair out of your face.
  • Sunblock - Sensible clothes that will stop you from burning and sunblock are essential in hot weather.
  • Waterproofs - Even on a hot day. You will always remember the day you were caught out.
  • Sensible Footwear - No townie shoes in the middle of a field, a good pair of waterproof walking boots are favourite.

The optional items are :

  • Gloves - If you have girly soft hands like me, gloves will stop you getting blisters and keep you warm if you join one of the mad groups that dig until the ground freezes solid.
  • Camera - So you can show all your friends the big hole you dug last weekend.
  • Sense of Humour - Actually this is essential.

Archaeological Societies In Sussex

Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society

One of the more active societies in the county, they excavate for about 9 months of the year.

Mid Sussex Field Archaeology Team

Currently winding down as a society, they are still excavating at Barcombe Roman Villa, but generally doesn't accept new members. Many of the diggers have moved on to the nearby Culver Project.

Sussex Archaeological Society

This is the main archaeological society for the county. They don't do a large amount of fieldwork, but they dig for a few months each year, and have an excellent library.

Worthing Archaeological Society

A fairly active group in West Sussex, mostly digging Roman sites.

Chichester & District Archaeology Society

An active group in Chichester, which due to its location, digs a lot of Roman sites.

Wealden Iron Research Group

A group specialising in the investigation of iron-working in the weald of Sussex & Kent.

Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group

The Hastings group usually have a summer excavation as well as undertaking watching briefs.

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