University of York Archaeology excavation field trip

My Archaeology excavation experience

Hey guys! I’m Amy, a 1st Year Archaeology and Heritage student, and I’ve just finished a four-week excavation of a Roman town in Malton!

If you didn’t know, when you take any kind of Archaeology degree here at York you get four weeks of excavation experience that is paid for by the university (four days a week, for four weeks). If you’ve ever looked into volunteering at a dig, you’ll know that it can cost thousands of pounds just so you can work for them. So to get a dig that’s completely funded (apart from food and drink, you have to bring that yourself) is especially exciting.

Where we’re digging

Malton is a really interesting site and I’m so happy to be working there, luckily it’s exactly the type of thing I’m interested in!

The site is the vicus outside a Roman fort – a vicus is a settlement that grows up around a fort. Living there would be people such as the family of the soldiers and the merchants that provided for the fort.

What we’re looking for

The dig is in its fourth year and it concentrates mainly around the Roman road that runs through the surrounding fields and the fort itself.

The purpose of the dig is to work out how the vicus changed as it got further away from the road. So, the trenches have been opened from either side of the road and are quite thin but move outwards through the (estimated) width of the settlement.

We can’t really report on what we’ve found until the finds are published after work finishes at Malton and that could be years. But I can direct you to my blog where I’ve been talking about everything we’ve found so far. Plus, some potential interpretations from these finds.

An amazing experience

It’s been amazing to work with the experienced department professionals as well the lovely people on my course. Most people have never done anything like this before. So learning this skill for the first time, with a group of passionate and driven individuals, has been an incredible experience.

As a heritage student, I spend a lot of time working with the public. Everyone who came to the site agreed that it was amazing and it’s so fulfilling to be able to share this history with the people closest to it.

The highlight of my year

This dig has been the highlight of my year at York. For me, it has really cemented that this was the right course to take.

If you have any questions about the dig then please message me via my blog. I’ll leave you with some photos from the last four weeks…

~Amy 🙂

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Hi, I’m Amy and I’m originally from Gateshead (near Newcastle) but moved to York to do an Archaeology and Heritage degree. I’m in my first year and I’m in Alcuin College.