The Lincoln Archaeological Field School is open to all students taking history, archaeology, anthropology or related degree programmes who wish to gain transferable academic credits in fieldwork.
This summer, the Field School will continue its investigation of the medieval settlement and landscape of Harpswell, located about 12 miles north of the historic city of Lincoln. Excavation promises to be even bigger and better than last year’s and will revisit the site of a suspected high-status or manorial residence and its associated precinct. The highlight of the 2016 investigation was the uncovering of a substantial masonry structure, which appears to have been part of a formal walkway or approach. The main aim of the 2017 excavation is to discover where the approach led to, with the tantalising prospect that it is the route to a residence of the Archbishop of York, known to have existed at Harpswell during the medieval period.
All training is given by qualified and experienced staff. Practical on-site training will be complimented by a number of workshops both on site and in the University’s Archaeology Lab. Tuition will be a mix of formal lectures and workshops supported by on-site training in practical skills. Students are further supported with study materials delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment.
The 2017 season will run from 19th June to 15th July (application closing date is 31st May). The Field School is worth 5 US credits (or 10 ECTS or 20 UK credits). Self-catering accommodation for students can also be provided at the University’s Halls of Residence.
Comprehensive details of the Field School can be found on our website at: www.diglincoln.com
The Harpswell Landscape and Community Project is a multi-faceted archaeological and historical research framework exploring the development of Harpswell, Lincolnshire, a village located approximately 12 miles north of Lincoln, England.
Harpswell today is perhaps best known for its complex of archaeological earthworks, the majority of which relate to Harpswell Hall, a seventeenth century and later residence of the Whichcote family. The earthworks of the area were mapped in detail by the Royal Commission, who also noted how the post-medieval development of the hall and garden within an emparked setting led to the clearance of earlier medieval settlement (Everson et al. 1991, 107). Surviving elements of Harpswell Hall’s designed landscape that remain standing today include a prospect mound or viewing platform and a large, water-filled moat which acted as an ornamental garden feature.
Before construction of the hall, documentary sources indicate the existence of a large medieval community at Harpswell. The taxable population of the manor more than doubled between the Domesday Survey of 1086 and the early fourteenth century, making it one of the most populated settlement areas in West Lindsey at the time. It is likely that Harpswell was a significant centre even earlier in the medieval period, given the presence of Late Saxon/Early Norman fabric in the parish church. Situated at the foot of a dramatic limestone scarp, it may also be significant that the church stands on the site of a spring and possesses a potentially ancient dedication to St Chad (Everson et al. 1991, 46). Evaluation trenching by a commercial archaeological unit during the early 2000s identified the remains of several further substantial medieval buildings, hinting again at a thriving population.
It was during the medieval period that a residence of the Bishop of York was established at Harpswell, the location of which has never been determined with certainly (Everson and Stocker 2006). In the summer of 2016, however, a team from Bishop Grosseteste University undertook a detailed archaeological excavation in the undeveloped area to the south of the church as part of The Harpswell Landscape and Community Project. The investigations identified a complex and likely high-status medieval site, with occupation commencing in the Late Saxon period and ceasing at some point in the sixteenth century.
The highlight of the 2016 excavation was the uncovering of a substantial masonry structure, which appears to have been part of a formal walkway or approach. It is possible that these remains relate to the Bishop of York’s residence referred to in documentary sources for Harpswell, a manor which would have been one of the southernmost holdings in the entire diocese. Following the exiting developments of the 2016 season, the main aim of the 2017 excavation is to discover where this enigmatic approach led to, with the tantalising prospect that it is the routeway to the lost Archbishop’s residence.
Accommodation is available optionally in Bishop Grosseteste’s Halls of residence at an additional cost of £510 for 29 nights self-catering accommodation (check-in on Sunday 18th June, check-out on Monday 17th July). Located in the historic heart of Roman and medieval Lincoln, the accommodation comprises individual bedrooms around a shared cooking and living space. The University’s accommodation is located in the uphill district of Lincoln with a number of restaurants, food outlets and other shops within a few minutes’ walk. Transport will be provided each day between the University and the excavation site, which is a 20-minute bus ride from Lincoln.
Volunteers are welcome to join the excavation for any period of one or more weeks between w/c 19th June until 10th July 2017. Volunteers fees are £200 per week which includes basic induction and on-site guidance with regard to excavation and recording methods. Volunteers cannot, however, gain academic credits for their involvement. University accommodation is not available to volunteers. The Field School usually has space for around a dozen or so volunteers per week — please complete an application form and detail your preferred dates and return to firstname.lastname@example.org