Getting Started in Archaeology
Find information and advice on this page about where to start to get into archaeology or to take an interest further
How to Get Involved
There are lots of ways to start or pursue an interest in archaeology. Here are some of the best ways to get started with this interesting and rewarding hobby.
Visit a Museum or Archaeological Site
Visits to museums and historic properties are a great way to enjoy archaeology in your spare time. Many museums have archaeological displays and showcase finds from the local area. Entrance to musuems is usually free and they are often open seven days a week. There are some great museums in Greater Manchester and if you are able to travel there are some great archaeological sites to visit including Mellor Iron Age Fort, Castleshaw Roman Fort and Arbor Low.
Take a look at our Events pages for more information about archaeology events in Greater Manchester and the UK.
Volunteer on an Excavation
Volunteering on an excavation is one of the best ways of getting involved with archaeology. Archaeology groups and clubs usually take part in free excavations every year and offer free training but you can also volunteer on open excavations to really get stuck in. Some of the larger training digs will charge you to attend but in return they will train you in everything you need to know to excavate safely and responsibly.
These two websites have directories of open excavations throughout the UK.
This website gives details of excavations you can join abroad www.pasthorizons.com/worldprojects/
Join a Local Group
Our best advice for getting started in archaeology is to join a local archaeology club. In Greater Manchester there are many archaeology clubs that are involved in all kinds of archaeological activity from archaeological survey, excavation, historical research, public events and finds processing. Some groups meet every month to share updates on their new projects whilst others host speakers on a variety of subjects. Whether you want to train to dig or are interested in local history, there's a local archaeology club for you.
For a list of local archaeology groups in the Greater Manchester area see the Local Groups page.
Read Archaeology Magazines
There are some great magazines which report news and information about the world of archaeology in the UK. These magazines can keep you updated with news and event information as well as interesting articles and viewpoints from different areas of archaeology.
Two of the best magazines are 'British Archaeology' produced by the Council for British Archaeology, a national organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of archaeology in the UK. You can also become a member of the Council for British Archaeology, attend local meetings and receive the magazine as part of your membership.
'Current Archaeology' is also a popular magazine reporting news and detailing articles of archaeology in the UK. www.archaeology.co.uk
Join a Young Archaeology Club
There are around 65 Young Archaeologists Clubs in the UK. They are open to young people aged up to 17 who are interested in archaeology. Young archaeologists take part in lots of fun activities including digging and learning about the past.
To find a Young Archaeologists Club near you see the YAC website.
For details of the Manchester Young Archaeology Club see our Local Groups page.
Watch Archaeology and Play Archaeology Games
The BBC website has some great games and lots of information about archaeology and history. Explore the BBC history website for interesting articles, national events and news about upcoming history programmes.
Or skip to the kids site for lots of fun and games on a history theme www.bbc.co.uk/history/forkids/
Twitter Feeds and Facebook
There is a lot of information available through websites, twitter feeds and facebook pages about archaeological activity in the UK. We use our twitter and facebook page to update archaeology news from around the UK including updates from local heritage organisations and national museums. You do not need to join twitter or facebook to see these updates, recent news and updates through our twitter feed is displayed on the home page of this website.
Follow us @digdiscoverenj
Like our page on facebook www.facebook.com/digdiscoverenj
Education and Training Courses
You can take your knowledge further with a education or training course. This section details some of the different types of courses available and where to go to learn more.
Dig Discover Enjoy
Online Training Courses
College and University Courses
Dig Discover Enjoy host a number of training days throughout the year where you can brush up on your archaeological and excavation skills. Learn more about pottery identification, recording on site or brush up on the basics in our get ready to dig courses.
Details of our training courses and event will be updated on the Events page. You can also join our mailing list to be the first to hear about our upcoming training courses.
If you want to try a short course to learn more about archaeology we can't recommend enough this free online course from Coursera. All you need is access to a computer with internet and an email addres. The course is 8 weeks long and you complete as much or as little of the course as you like, just watch the talks each week or complete the quizzes and assignments as well. The highlights for me were learning to write in Cuneiform and finding archaeological sites uisng Google Maps.
Sign up to the course on this site www.coursera.org/course/secrets
Details of other online courses can be found on our Events page.
If you are thinking of turning your love of archaeology into a career there are a number of ways you can get started. Although nothing beats joining a local group to get experience, the usual training route for professional archaeologists is to take a college course then go onto a degree in their chosen field.
Maths and English Skills
Archaeology is a fun and practical activity but good maths and english skills are essential for good archaeological practice and recording. Brush up on your maths and english skills with free courses from the Manchester Adult Education Service and Stockport Council.
Archaeology Distance Learning Courses
There are a number of univeristies offering distance learning courses in archaeology at a range of levels. Take a look at these websites for more information.
Access to Higher Education Courses in Greater Manchester
Details of the Archaeology and History Access Course at the Manchester College can be found on this website
The University of Manchester offers a BA (Hons) Degree in Archaeology http://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/archaeology/
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