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…

What You Will Learn

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
  • Planning
  • Section Drawing
  • Collection of Samples
  • Artefact Recovery, Recording & Storage
  • Site Safety

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

  • Survey (Total Station)
  • Finds Processing

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

  • Pottery identification,
  • Finds handling,
  • Finds processing,
  • Flint Knapping Demonstrations,
  • History of Ceramics lecture

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
  • 3 dimensional surveying with a total station
  • Hands on learning and training is supplemented with seminars covering many of the subjects listed above - providing the theory behind the practice.
  • Lectures are accompanied by ‘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.    
  • Lunchtime demonstrations:
  • Prehistoric Technologies:
  • Pot-boiler stone making,
  • flint-knapping
  • Pottery identification
  • 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)

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. You will also visit the Major Oak, legendary hideaway of Robin Hood!

Evening Lecture (Optional)

Lecture on Sherwood Forest Outlaws and Villains - Starts at 7pm. 

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.

As part of the field school attendees will have the opportunity to learn all about Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood, outlaws, foresters, the landscape of Sherwood Forest in medieval times, the forest law, courts, offenses and judiciary, the Palace at Clipstone, monasteries, chapels, and hermitages, hunting parks, Nottingham Castle, Sheriffs and much more about life in Medieval Sherwood Forest.

All included as part of the field school.