16 Jul 2022
by Rachel Arbury

My name is Rachel Arbury and, three days after handing in my master’s dissertation, I was lucky enough to start a new role as Youth Engagement Assistant at the Council for British Archaeology (CBA).

My job is primarily to administer the Young Archaeologist’s Club, help with projects focused on young people under the age of 25 and get involved with the other exciting work the CBA does. The Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) is the only UK-wide club where 8-16 year olds can participate in real archaeology and discover why it matters. It is something I’m very proud to be a part of, both officially and as a volunteer Assistant Leader at my local YAC branch in Leeds. 

YAC was established in 1972, as Young Rescue, and currently has over 2,000 active YAC members across more than 70 branches around the UK. This large number got us thinking; what are the potentially thousands of ex-YAC members up to now? Were they still working in the sector or had they gone on to other careers? Were they volunteers or members of archaeological groups as adults? Did they have any fond memories of their time as a YAC member they might like to share?

So … we asked! 

And they answered! 

I set up a short expression of interest form and sent it out through as many channels as I could think of, including social media, colleagues’ networks and our existing YAC network. To date, 40 people have signed up to kindly tell their story. 

There is an ex-Young Rescue member who joined in 1975 and fondly remembered their annual summer camps, a member that left in 2019 that has just started studying archaeology at university, and lots more in between. 

You can read the responses received so far here - https://www.yac-uk.org/yac-alumni.

All their stories share one common aspect, their fondness for YAC and the experiences they had as young people that impacted, even if only slightly, what they do today. 

I’ve really enjoyed collating and sharing these experiences and am thrilled that I get to play a part in providing an educational, supportive and, most importantly, fun place for young people to get involved in archaeology.

The next stage of the project will be to provide our current members with examples of possible routes into archaeological or heritage-based professions, and careers in other sectors, while continuing to demonstrate the positive impact archaeology has on people’s lives.

If you are interested in joining our YAC Alumni Network, please complete the details requested here - http://eepurl.com/gRBWOH

If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer YAC Leader or Assistant Leader in one of our existing branches or would like to set up your own YAC branch, please get in touch - [email protected]

Rachel Arbury

Council for British Archaeology

Contact details

Rachel Arbury

Council for British Archaeology