• University of Reading

Archaeology: from Dig to Lab and Beyond

Get an introduction to studying archaeology, exploring exciting discoveries in the Vale of Pewsey, near to Stonehenge and Avebury.

52,148 enrolled on this course

Archaeology: a human skull is examined in the lab.

Chart the progress of an archaeological excavation from dig to lab and beyond.

We’ll show you around our field school at the Vale of Pewsey, a relatively untouched site compared to its famous neighbour, Stonehenge.

An excavation is more than just digging with a trowel. You’ll investigate how and where to dig, collect, record and store precious finds and take a closer look at what you can learn from a discovery once you’ve found it.

One of the most intriguing finds of all is a burial site and you’ll examine the archaeological methods employed in the study of the dead. How can you recreate the life, health and occupation of an individual just from their skeletal remains?

Hear from our course team

You can take this course at any time. However, if you’d like to engage with our subject expert mentor, they will be joining the course discussions during 13 June 2022 – 26 June 2022.

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What topics will you cover?

Week 1:

  • The transferable skills needed to be an archaeologist
  • Introduction to the Neolithic period
  • Planning an excavation
  • How does a dig work?
  • Storing, handling, recording and transporting artefacts

Week 2:

  • Introduction to the medieval period
  • Human bone analysis
  • Archaeological science: what can isotopes in bone tell us?
  • Museums: the ethics of storage and display

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain how an archaeological dig works, from the planning stages, through excavation, to the analysis and storage of artefacts
  • Summarise the basic characteristics of key archaeological periods from the Mesolithic to the post-medieval period (c.8000 BC–AD 1900)
  • Describe the main ways in which archaeologists analyse human skeletons
  • Debate some of the key issues facing archaeology today
  • Understand the transferable skills you will acquire from studying archaeology

Who is the course for?

No prior experience of archaeology is needed. This course is designed for anyone interested in studying an archaeology degree at university. However, anyone with an enthusiastic interest in archaeology is very welcome to join us too.

Who will you learn with?

Duncan Garrow teaches and researches later European prehistory (with a particular focus on Britain) and archaeological theory at the University of Reading.

I am a human bioarchaeologist (bone specialist) specialising in the recognition of disease in children and adolescents. I am a lecturer at Reading and run an MSc in Professional Human Osteoarchaeology

I am a field archaeologist who has worked on excavations of all periods, all over the world. I specialise in the teaching of archaeological field techniques, and organising large excavation projects.

Who developed the course?

University of Reading

The University of Reading has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research and enterprise.

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Buy this course

$54

One-off payment

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  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
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