Getting Involved in Archaeology
There is no one particular path into archaeology, but if you are interested in learning about the different areas of work then best thing to do is try to get involved with a few things as a volunteer. The links here should help you find some good places to get started.
At the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service we are always happy to hear from prospective volunteers, so please contact us using this form. Let us know something about yourself, the kinds of things you are interested in and when you are likely to be available. We would prefer it if you were able to give us a block of time or a regular recurring day, so that we can provide you with training and structure your work accordingly, but would be happy to talk about whatever you feel able to offer.
If you are a GCSE, A' Level or university student and would like to undertake a work experience placement with us we would be very pleased to hear from you. In the past we have hosted placements ranging from a few days to several months, so get in touch and we can talk about the possibilities.
If you want to get involved in the wider world of archaeology, the main organisation for archaeology in the UK is the Council for British Archaeology (CBA). You’ll find loads of information and advice on their webpages about getting involved, training, careers and so on. They publish British Archaeology magazine, which is well worth reading, and a Briefing which features details of lots of fieldwork opportunities which come up nationwide. There is an East Anglian branch of the CBA, CBA East, which organises meetings and events throughout the region. There are a number of online guides to getting started in archaeology, including that hosted by Current Archaeology magazine.
Within East Anglia then there are a number of voluntary groups you could get involved with, some of which charge a small membership fee. The main Suffolk group is the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, who run lectures, publish newsletters and a journal, and who also have their own very active Field Group. Anyone wishing to get involved in voluntary field projects would be wise to contact them. The main Norfolk groups equivalent is the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, who also run lectures and publish a journal, while the Norfolk Historical and Archaeological Research Group take a more hands-on approach to the subject. Again, both societies welcome volunteers. Other particularly active societies are the Waveney Valley Archaeology Group and Stour Valley Community Archaeology, both of whom welcome volunteers, and links to other local groups and societies can be found on our Links page.
If you are after fieldwork experience and training, the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project has been running an archaeological field school and research excavation in north-west Norfolk for over twenty years now. They run courses throughout the summer and engage in other archaeological activities during the rest of the year, and many professional archaeologists have taken some of their crucial first steps at Sedgeford.
Once you have a bit of experience, it may be possible to gain voluntary work with one of the many commercial archaeological units which operate in the region. Details of many of these can be found on the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists' website.
Archaeology jobs and advice tend to be advertised on the British Archaeology Jobs Resource, where you can also find lots of additional guidance and advice. More professionally focussed advice and guidance on archaeology can be found on the website for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, which is the main professional body for archaeologists.