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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - England - Thornton Abbey Field School - 2012

Europe - England - Thornton Abbey Field School - 2012

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2012-07-01
End Date 2012-07-27

Multiple Sessions Yes
Multiple Session information 1-6th July 8-13th July 15-20th July 22-27th July
Archaeology Field School Location
Thornton Abbey, Ulceby, Lincolnshire, England

Archaeology Field School Tuition and Credits

Sponsoring College/Institution
University of Sheffield
Academic Credit
A full certificate of participation outlining contact hours and tuition can be issued in lieu of formal credit
Archaeology Field School Tuition
Tuition and supervision is provided at all times by members of project and university staff.
Archaeology Field School Room and Board
Accommodation is in the form of camping (tents and air beds available on request). All meals are provided.
Archaeology Field School Travel
Additional Information on Tution/Room and Board/Travel Costs
The cost is £195 UKP (approx. $310 USD) per week session. This fee includes supervision, course materials, all food, accommodation (camping) and transport and weekly pick up and drop off at the local train station (Thornton Abbey).

Archaeology Field School Description

Thornton abbey was founded as an Augustinian priory in 1139 by William Le Gros and over the next two centuries expanded into one of the richest houses in England. In 1539 the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII although it continued to be used as a college of secular priests until 1547 when it was finally suppressed by Edward VI. After passing through ownership of the Bishop of Lincoln and the Tyrwhitt family the abbey was acquired in 1603 by Sir Vincent Skinner. He demolished many of the church buildings to provide building material for a newly constructed mansion situated close to the medieval gatehouse. According to the antiquarian Abraham de la Pryme, no sooner had the house been completed that it "fell quite down to the bare ground without any visible cause". In part as a result of this disaster, Skinner fell into bankruptcy and died in a debtors’ prison in 1616, although his widow continued to live in the former abbot’s lodging which was converted into a more modest dwelling. Despite having one of the largest and best preserved monastic enclosures in the country, surprisingly little work has taken place at the abbey. The estate was acquired by Charles 1st Earl of Yarborough in the early 19th century, and he was responsible for excavating the church in the 1830s. Following portions of the site coming into state care in 1938, the Ministry of Works cleared some of the cloister area. However, since this date no excavation has taken place and the majority of the site remains in private ownership. Between 2007-2009 English Heritage undertook a detailed field survey of approximately one third of the monastic enclosure which highlighted the remarkable level of preservation of the many earthwork and subsurface features. Since 2011 The University of Sheffield, in collaboration with English Heritage, has been undertaking a five year research programme on the abbey precinct. This not only aims to complete the topographical and geophysical survey started by English Heritage, it will also include targeted excavation of the identified medieval and post-dissolution features in order to gain a better understanding of the site’s long history. During the 2012 season we will be continuing our excavation to the north of the church and the graveyard, in an area that has seen no previous survey or excavation work. Last year we located and excavated the monastic great barn, and we will now be looking at other imporant domestic buildings in this area. Our second main trench will be at Sir Vincent Skinner's mansion. Here we will be starting the excavation of one of the rooms, which has already been identified as the parlour. Students attending the field school play a central role in continuing the geophysical and topographical survey of this area, as well as taking part in the excavation of the trenches. Whilst all work is supervised by experienced staff from the University of Sheffield, volunteers get to take part in all the key activities.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type
Medieval, post-medieval, excavation, survey, geophysics
Time Period
AD 1139-1700 medieval monastic historical Tudor
Field School Setting/Conditions
Rural, 2 miles from the nearest village, 5 miles from the nearest market town
How is the project area accessed each day
10 minute (flat) walk
What is the daily schedule for the field school
Sunday-Friday working week (Saturday off) Hours 9am-5pm, with morning, afternoon and lunch break
Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation
Is there a professional certification for this field school
Directors and Instructors
Dr Hugh Willmott FSA Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield
Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn
Excavation & recording Geophysical survey (resistivity & magnetometery) Topographical survey (total station and real time GPS) Building recording Artefact handing & processing
On rain days will there be lab work?
Artefact analysis and other post-excavation work will take place
Will there be additional organized activities?
Will there be additional organized activities?
Is travel restriced during free time?

Archaeology Field School Contact Information and Website

Field School Website:

Field School Contact Information

Dr Hugh Willmott Department of Archaeology University of Sheffield Northgate House West Street Sheffield, S1 4ET England

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