What archaeology in the National Trust means to me

Its hard to chose a favourite place for archaeology, as its everywhere I look. Where ever I go I see the landscape alive with people from the past. Oxen ploughing the fields in the valleys of West Dorset, the miners trudging home from the Levant tin mine, the Cornish sea mist dusting their hair. The noise of the blacksmiths and animals in the outer bailey of Corfe Castle, a Roman soldier on Hod Hill fort, wondering why the local Iron age people lived in round houses made of earth and thatch. The children smashing the cider jar trying to taste a drop left by the farmer and scattering to hide in behind the stooks of corn.
Each lump and bump has a story to tell, the clues are all around mounds of earth, deep ditches objects eroding from banks, ploughed up in the fields or the coppiced trees that make up our woodlands.
When digging or surveying a site I often take a moment to just be, to think about the feet that have gone before, the voices of our ancestors that worked, lived and loved as we do and I am happy that I can stand in the same place and enjoy the amazing landscape they helped to shape.

Nancy– NT archaeologist

34 thoughts on “About

    • Hi Natalie, at the moment any post excavation work I have is based at Warminster, I will e-mail you with more information. I did a lot of volunteering at museums and found what I did there helped with my post excavation work, so always worth contacting your local museums or archaeology societies as they often run their own digs. Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Hi Gill and Steve, First we need to know were you are based so we can get you conected to the right person 🙂 I will message you at your e mail address with more details, ( when our systems is back up and running properly! ) no previous experience needed 🙂 cheers nance

  1. Just visited Badbury Rings 7th March, there looks to me like some illegal digging, shallow, spade cut, on the temple site. The digging is right beside the buried chain link barrier on the hill-fort side. Several pits, some backfilled. Not good! Please inform Martin Papworth or his team.

    • Thank you for informing us of this, we will get out to have a look and also alert the Rangers who look after Badbury so they can monitor what is happening and check the site when out on the estate.

  2. Hello, My names Chris and I did some digging for a few days on the Godolphin Dig; Let me know when the next dig in Cornwall might be as I’m always up for some archaeological shovelling.

    I’d also be really grateful if you could draw on your experience to help recommend me some good sources to go to for my dissertation research. I do a Contemporary Crafts degree at Falmouth Uni (so we generally do more making than writing) anyway I’m hoping to write something on the premise of this topic below:-

    “Throughout history the practice of crafts has defined the story of the human race; from pre-historic to the modern day we are defined by what we make.”

    I’ll be grateful for any input. Thanks.


    • Hi Chris, I will pass your contact on to Jim our archaeologist based in Cornwall as he will know better than me what digs maybe coming up 🙂 Your course sounds interesting and your dissertation topic is very interesting! I will need to have a think about it but the first reference that comes to mind is Steven Mithens book The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion and Science (1996) there will be relevant sections in there I would think. It would probably be worth posting on the Council for British Archaeology facebook site, a request for ideas. The Journal of Material Culture would be a good source of information I would think. Hope this helps, I will keep my thinking cap on 🙂 cheers Nance

      • Hello Nance, Thank you very much for re-nudging my details to Jim. And many Thank for those sources, I’ll follow up on them. When I’m ready with a bit more direction I think it’ll be worth my while doing some casual interviews; so chances are I will be in touch about that in the future; I think it would be a valuable and enjoyable way to dig into the topic. Cheers again, Chris

  3. I am near Chedworth Roman Villa over the May day bank holiday weekend 2015 and wonderered if there are any opportunities for volunteering with the excavations. Im in Year 12 at college and am considering archaeology for uni. But have been advised to get a taste of whats involved before I apply.

    • Hi, good to hear you are hoping to study archaeology at college. Sadly we are not digging at Chedworth until the last two week of August, will you be back in the area then? The advice you have been given is very good, you could try your local history and archaeology societies if you have any as they often have digs and do over kinds of archaeological work eg fieldwalking. . Also check the Council for British Archaeology web site under Participate – fieldwork and conferences some sites will charge but the range of cost is wide. Some universities also offer space for volunteers on their student digs, but again there is usually a charge. I worked at a local museum as a volunteer to get some experience ( it lead to weekend payed work and summer jobs 🙂 ) You could try your local National Trust archaeologist unless its the south west and that would be us! Hope this helps
      cheers Nancy

  4. Hi Nancy, I live in Withington, just down the road from Chedworth and would like to put forward my interest in volunteering and regular paid work on the field. I have worked voluntary for the National Trust previous with my photographic work (write ups for magazines) and also have recently sent off some photographs to a professor currently writing a study into ancient tombs within National Trust places. I would really like to be more hands on working with a team out on the field. Thanks for your help in advance. Kind regards Marie

  5. Hi Nancy, I am an MA student in Archaeology at U of Bristol. Would love to get involved in volunteering this July and late August/September with any type of archaeology-related work in the area. I’d love an opportunity to work with NT and wonder if you can advise what is the best way forward? Thank you!

  6. Hi there,

    I’m currently studying Archaeology as Sixth Form down in worcester – and as part of my course, I have to complete a set piece of coursework. I’m carrying out a bit Experimental Archaeology, with it’s basis set around the mosaics of Chedworth Roman Villa. I was wondering if there is any information/reports available about the recent digs there that I might be able to have look at?


    • Hi Kristina, we have quite a few documents and reports that would be useful to you, I will send direct to your e mail probably by WeTransfer as they maybe quite big 🙂 Good to hear that you can study archaeology at your Sixth Form and that you are doing some experimental work. cheers nance

  7. Hello,

    I am studying Historic Building Conservation (MSc) at Bath Uni and am doing a paper on the philosophy behind the conservation techniques for Roman Mosaics. I wonder if there may be an opportunity to find out a bit more about the decision making process and conservation issues relating to the recent excavations and new shelter at Chedworth Roman Villa?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Jenny,
      Yes I am sure our conservator involved at Chedworth can help you, mention that I have suggested you contact her I will e-mail you with details and a copy of the initial report from the excavations and re excavations of the west range mosaics.

  8. Hi Benoit, there are many way to get involved in archaeology in the uk, check out the Council for British archaeology site http://new.archaeologyuk.org/ and Current Archaeology https://www.archaeology.co.uk/digs The National Trust can offer volunteering opportunities and experience, it depends were you are based/will be as to who best to contact. Let me know where you are/will be and I can send you the best contact to see if there are any opportunities. Also quite a few universities can offer places on there digs e.g. Bournemouth https://www1.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/our-faculties/faculty-science-technology/our-departments/department-archaeology-anthropology-forensic-science/big-dig
    Hope this helps, do get in touch again if you need any more information 🙂

  9. Hi Nancy,

    My name is Elliott Bailey, and I am currently working at the Dorset History Centre on creating a schools learning pack for the ‘Unlocking the Bankes Archive’ project. Please could you contact me via email re. photo permissions for some of the photos and documents used in the section relating to Kingston Lacy as a WWII american army hospital.



  10. I am writing a paper hopefully for publication in an academic journal. I would like to include an item about a geophysics examination of Cadbury camp Hill fort just north of Tickenham in North Somerset done I believe by Martin Papworth in about 2001. Can you tell me please how I can find a report or how I can get in touch with Martin Papworth.

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