Location: Poulton, Cheshire
Dates: Three two-week courses. Start dates: 29th June, 13th July, and 27th July
Cost: £400 per two week course
Age: 18+
Training / Experience: Suitable for all levels from beginner to those wishing to gain more experience in their desired specialism.
Accommodation: None offered, but there are several camp sites and B&B accommodation available locally. Details and assistance in locating suitable accommodation will be provided.
Organization: Poulton Research Project
Name: Dr Kevin Cootes
Address: Poulton, Cheshire, CH4-9EG (nearest postcode to the field)
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07741 192 799


Students excavating double burial. [Image: Poulton Research Project]

The Poulton Project is a multi-period rural excavation 5 miles south of Chester, which has produced extensive evidence for 10,000 years of human activity. The site was discovered during the search for a lost Cistercian Abbey, when excavation unexpectedly revealed the foundations of a medieval Chapel and associated graveyard, with an estimated 2000 burials. Continual research has also uncovered Mesolithic flints and later tools of Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers. Notably, the site contains the largest Iron Age lowland settlement discovered west of the Pennines. An extensive and high status Roman landscape is indicated by structures, industry and field boundaries, which have produced a large assemblage of ceramics, metal and building material. The Poulton Project offers students the opportunity to excavate well-preserved archaeology from a variety of periods.

This year’s excavation is focusing on two areas. The first is a Roman enclosure ditch and boundary system with possible Late Iron Age origins. Our excavations have shown this to be an area rich in material culture, especially animal bone and pottery. We are continuing to investigate and characterise the nature and date of the enclosure and surrounding activity.

Our second area focuses on a medieval secular graveyard. We will be continuing our excavation of the burial ground and analysis of the skeletons.

Find out more about this exciting dig:

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  1. Shirley Curtis
    April 30, 2007 @ 4:16 pm


    I really enjoyed my time here. Mike (director) and Alan were really friendly and extremely helpful. A broad range of techniques were covered including excavating human remains, planning, surveying and the art of cooking a perfect bacon butty!

    No stuffy academics here 🙂


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Great if you are interested in osteoarchaeology, prehistoric archaeology, or just being part of a great team!

  2. Andrea Jenkins
    April 22, 2009 @ 4:18 pm


    Totally amazing experience…. well worth the money… Mike and Alan are great and help out as much as you need.. and both great guys.. lots of knowledge to be gained. Would reccommend Poulton to every body….. gaining skills in a variety of archaeological practices….


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? As a student of Forensic Anthropolgy I would say this is a great way of getting hands on experience.

  3. Colin Armstrong
    April 25, 2009 @ 4:18 pm


    Easter 2009
    Mike and Alan are excellent instructors who run the course, you also get to meet various volunteers associated with the Poulton Project. It is a fantastic site and very well run.
    The documents provided are also excellent. All tools and equipment provided.
    The facilities are basic but as to be expected on such a site.
    NOTE Poulton also run other shorter courses such as Post excavation skeletal analysis which take place in a nearby farm with superb faculties. The farm and site are owned by the Fair family
    I am a senior technician at Liverpool John Moores University, whose role has developed and changed over the past year to cover forensic sciences and Human osteology. We have already had opportunities to use material from Poulton and many students have undertaken field work at Poulton, either as part of a module or as volunteers. They all enjoy the experience and many, like myself look forward to the next opportunity to visit the site.
    The course is highly enjoyable — you do not realise you have given 100% concentration for many hours, and how tired you can become even though you may only move a few metres in the day.
    It is great that the site is open to all interested people not just students.



    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Great site. Well explained course. Easy to understand but very professional standards in all areas.

  4. Kate Bridge
    May 5, 2009 @ 4:20 pm


    April 13 to May 1, 2009: I just finished my 2nd consecutive year participating in a 3 week training program with the Poulton Research Project. I highly recommend it for both students and volunteers. Mike Emery, the director, along with the talented team of people who assist him provides comprehensive training at this extraordinary site. My plan is to return again next year.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? I concur with Colin (see next review), “Great site. Well explained course. Easy to understand but very professional standards in all areas”.

  5. Kani Seifert
    August 10, 2010 @ 4:20 pm


    This was my first archaeological experience and I’m chomping at the bit to go back. The opportunity to immediately start digging skeletons is unbelievable–I don’t think other digs would let newbies do this! The training in recording, surveying, drawing, and record keeping was superb. It rained everyday, but the damp didn’t stop me from wanting to continue digging. The people are friendly and funny. I found no big egos within the staff–if anything, Mike and Alan make the dig pleasurable, even in downpours! I’d recommend this as a top training experience and as a memorable vacation.


    Would you recommend it? Yes
    What is your top bit of advice? Take Raingear and be prepared to get muddy.