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Community & Public Archaeology Overview

Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA) has wide experience and an excellent track record in community archaeology and heritage projects. For more than 11 years, ACA community projects have involved thousands of people from all walks of life making new discoveries about their heritage, learning new skills, meeting new people and achieving something uniquely different and enduring in their local area. ACA's wide range of activities include archaeological excavation, field-walking, test pit excavation, local history, oral history, history trails and much more. If you, your community or your society already have an idea for an archaeological, historical or heritage project, ACA can help make it happen, providing advice, expertise, training and supervision as needed to make it a memorable success for everyone involved. If you don’t yet know exactly what to do, but would like to find an exciting way to explore your local archaeology, history or community heritage, ACA can suggest ideas and help you develop and run a project that’s right for you, your group, your community.

ACA can help with project planning, applying for funding, running projects, training and supervising activities, post-project analysis and report writing. We are experienced in community projects of all sizes, and in working collaboratively with organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage as well as scores of community groups. Feedback from community participants on our projects is consistently excellent, with more than 97% recommending their experience to others. 

Below is a detailed list of how ACA can help with running a project:

 Prior to the fieldwork:

  • Notification of fieldwork to local county archaeologist
  • Health and safety guidance
  • Risk assessments
  • Insurance
  • Promotion and recruitment of volunteers (handouts, social media, website)
  • Press releases
  • Media consent (photo/film release forms)
  • Background research to the site
  • Sourcing equipment and materials

 During fieldwork:

  • Introduction talk on either how to dig/what to expect from the excavation days, health and safety briefing
  • Provision of archaeological digging equipment (limited amount)
  • First-aiders
  • On site archaeological knowledge – identification of finds etc.
  • Training of volunteers on how to excavate
  • Recording materials and training on how to draw and record the archaeology
  • Assist with open days and tours for the public

After the fieldwork:

  • Finds processing (including conservation if needed)
  • Specialist finds reporting
  • Graphics
  • Production of archaeological grey report of results
  • Additional publications in local journals if required
  • Notice of the completed fieldwork and results to the HER, online on ADS OASIS
  • Local talk in village or for society if needed on the results


ACA is part of the University of Cambridge, one of the top universities in the world, and as such is able to involve its community heritage projects in learning about, and helping advance, the latest research, building up more knowledge for everyone through wider participation in hands-on discovery.

"ACA's unique blend of providing trained archaeologists but keeping community ownership of sites and involving volunteers of all ages has made this the most succesful element of my project." (CB, manager of HLF Landscape Partnership Project 2011-13)

"TThe Cambridge team led the dig with great professionalism and good humour, for which many thanks" (GA, ACA community excavation volunteer in 2015).

"I really enjoyed spending the weekend doing this dig as I found out much more about the history of my garden and that prehistoric people passed through this area of the dig. I learned a lot more about the history of the village as a whole and it has made me more interested in archaeological projects" (OP, ACA community excavation volunteer in 2016).

"This excavation was really fun. The site archaeologists were really helpful and friendly which made the whole process easier, they were also there to help out and show you what to do in anyway needed" (ES, ACA community excavation volunteer in 2016).

For more information on current and forthcoming opportunities for members of the public to get involved with Access Cambridge Archaeology, or to learn about our past projects, please click on the links below:


Current & Upcoming Projects

Past Projects

Societies and Further Study

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