Your Choice of Activities & Training
There are six principal activities from which members can choose their personal preferences, although we like to encourage everyone to try their hand at as many of them as possible. We usually meet every Wednesday from 10 till 3pm during the summer, weather permitting. Our winter programme may vary. To learn of our latest location or pick-up point please use the Contact Us link.
- Surveying the Site
Having identified a site of potential importance using a wide range of historical records, and obtained permission from the land owner, we use desk based research to investigate any restrictions that may prevent our project plans (eg. SSSI, Ancient Monument, Countryside Stewardship Schemes, etc.).
We then survey the site to identify any natural or man made hazards and study geological mapping to determine the structure of the ground to be excavated. Only then do we mark out the areas of interest.
Our ‘digs’ normally take place between mid March and mid November on Wednesdays and sometimes Saturdays.
Work on a new site often commences by digging test pits to help decide more precisely where to concentrate the main excavations.
The classic scene on an NWAG (or any archaeological) site is of diggers on their knees cautiously scraping the site surface with a trowel. There is a lot of that to do, but the incentive to keep at it is the inexhaustible expectation of an interesting ‘find’. It doesn’t have to be a gold coin, every sherd of pottery or a rusty piece of iron challenges us to identify its age and use and its context within the site. It’s just like pieces of a puzzle, every piece once identified helps to reveal the total picture.
- Artefacts (‘finds’) ~ Extraction, Cleaning & Recording
We must accurately record the location and depth of all artefacts (finds) and a decide whether they should be removed from the site or left in situ.
The cleaning and storage of artefacts is a separate activity, usually undertaken off site and often during inclement weather and the winter months.
- Scale Drawings & Photography
Members with these talents are encouraged to assist: Photographs and dimensioned drawings are key to the accurate recording of all artefacts, foundations and other physical traces of past human activity.
- Historic Documentary Research Group
NWAG has a strong historic records research expertise. This activity is as exciting as the digs themselves (but with the extra bonus of being weather proof !). Both activities give rise to ‘finds’ which ultimately help us formulate the substance of our final reports. If you are inclined towards this activity, you need a lot of patience, good eyesight or a good pair of spectacles !
- Report Writing
Following completion of a site excavation and documentary research, conclusions are formulated and the Report is written by the Report Writing Group who meet at least once a month throughout the year. It is preferable that Members wishing to assist should have some experience of formal report writing.
- Training & Courses
We provide training in all aspects of our work which is mostly informal and ‘on the job’. We meet up with new members to discuss this at an early stage. There are no tests but we do encourage frequent reviews with members to ensure they are receiving the right support and encouragement during their ‘learning curve’.
There are also courses provided by Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service (WAAS) each year for those interested in more formal archaeological training.