Archaeology Field Summer School

Do you want to earn credit while combining theory with practical experience? Are you interested in British history and the Medieval Anarchy period, a time of turbulence and civil war? If so, this two-week field-based summer school is for you.

Programme dates 4 July to 17 July 2021
Application deadline

Applications for 2021 are now closed.

Programme fee £2,795
What's included?

We offer a £100 discount for mobility partner students (please contact us if you are unsure about your status) and for early-bird applicants who apply by 1 April 2021.
Credits Upon successful completion of the programme students will receive 10 academic credits, suggested as equivalent to 5 ECTS or 3 US semester credits.

About this programme

Is it for me? 

The summer school is open to students with or without previous site-based experience. Our expert faculty staff will help you to develop your excavation, post-excavation analytical, anthropological, and archaeological skills. 

What will I learn? 

Together we will uncover an exciting and important moment in British history. You will learn how to apply anthropological archaeology theory through practical experience. This summer school will teach you to critically assess an archaeological site within its historical and physical landscape and analyse your excavated finds in laboratory sessions.

Academic programme

Over the course of the summer school you will: 

  • Spend at least eight days on site, gaining hands-on technical training by excavating and processing finds 
  • Learn to use cutting edge geophysics and photogrammetry equipment, including Ground Penetrating Radar, Magnetometry, and Airborne Photogrammetry 
  • Develop a range of career-ready skills including archaeological survey, archaeological excavation, and recording techniques such as archaeological drawing methods, the use of record sheets and the documentation of finds 
  • Learn how to assess the significance of an archaeological site within its heritage setting in general, and that of the medieval landscape of Gloucestershire in particular 
  • Understand how to connect material culture with written records 
  • Learn how to describe and explain the chronological relationships between various archaeological deposits 
  • Undertake analysis in the Archaeological Science Laboratories at the University of Bristol’s main campus 
  • Become familiar with laboratory protocols, working closely with the materials your digging generates  
  • Develop your teamwork and communication skills.

This summer school is a field-based programme using a live archaeological dig site. Please be aware of the following: 

  • This summer school includes physically demanding excavations on a full-time basis.
  • You may be asked to work outside in varied weather conditions.
  • You must follow all directions as to site safety and protocol at the risk of being asked to leave site.
  • You will be asked to provide suitable clothing and footwear.

Contact us directly at if you have any questions about the physical nature of this summer school. 

Archaelogical site information

The summer school forms part of a five-year training and community research project entitled the Hazel Anarchy Research Project (HARP) that is based in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Bristol. HARP provides students with practical archaeological skills and experience within the context of the social dynamics of the Medieval Anarchy Period.

The primary focus is a T-shaped building with several rooms, possibly from two construction phases, and several smaller, stand-alone structures. Pottery and coins unearthed during early community excavations and an assessment of the structural remains date the surviving phase of the complex to between the late 11th and mid-12th century AD.

The Medieval Anarchy Period (1135-1153) was a time of rivalry, fear, faction and violence as Empress Matilda and King Stephen fought for the throne of England and Normandy. Churches were fortified and the peasantry suffered greatly as armies crisscrossed the country, ravaging estates and burning property in the first English Civil War. It has inspired writers, TV shows and movies. 

To date, archaeological research has been focused on large fortifications and castles. This site is therefore a unique opportunity to record the social dynamics between rural populations that supported the different parties. 

In addition, the site is in an area with a strong Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman presence, and it is anticipated that some finds will be from these periods.

Entry requirements

You must meet all of the below requirements to be eligible for this summer school.

Study level Currently studying at undergraduate level
Subject requirements We welcome applications from all majors, but the summer school is particularly suited to anthropology, archaeology, geography, art history, history, sociology, conservation and heritage, classics and museum studies majors.
Academic requirements GPA equivalent to 60-63% on the UK scale, C on the ECTS scale, or 3.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale
English language requirements If English is not your first language, you need to meet our English language Profile C. You can see the tests and levels we accept by clicking the 'English Language Proficiency Tests' tab. If you took the CET-4 or CET-6 tests please contact us directly in order to find out what scores we will accept. 
Age 18 or over

If you have any questions about your eligibility please contact us at

Applications for 2021 are now closed. 

More information

Find out more about your summer experience by viewing our Archaeology Field School Programme Outline 2021 (PDF, 186kB). 

You can read the course description on our faculty web pages. 

Learn more about our Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, where you will be based.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Tel +44 (0)117 4283070

Life in Bristol

We provide accommodation, meals, transfers and a programme of exciting social activities. Find out more about what your time in Bristol will be like.

The teachers are really helpful and always available to explain things that you maybe didn’t understand. I improved my way of studying and learning things. And last but not least I made lots of new friends from every part of the world. It’s been amazing, thank you!


Coronavirus and your application

The University of Bristol plans to deliver Bristol-based summer schools in 2021. However, the University continues the evolving covid-19 pandemic both at home and abroad. All applicants will be updated with a decision as to whether or not the University can move forward with in-Bristol programmes in early May.

Please be advised that the University of Bristol will adhere to UK government policy regarding travel restrictions and health and safety on campus. You can find out more about our current campus policies here. You can find out more about UK government travel advice and regulations here

We strongly suggest that all applicants read the Terms and Conditions - Global Summer Schools 2021 (PDF, 130kB) document prior to accepting any offers they may receive. 


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