Types of activities for local archaeology societies

You have probably looked at the examples of projects done by local archaeology societies and community groups. You may want to do something similar to them, as it is better not to reinvent the wheel, after all. This page, however, gives you some more ideas about what avenues of investigation are open to you.


It is useful to have copies of detailed 1:2,500 scale Ordnance Survey maps covering the area you are investigating on all types of fieldwork or for any field visits you want to make in preparation.

Research topics

These topics may be easy places to start getting into archaeological investigation:

  • Building recording. You could start to record your own house, if it has some age, or perhaps the local church. You will be surprised how few historic buildings have a full building survey. You will find more detail if you follow the links below. There are also links to architectural history websites from the Links page.
  • Topographical survey of an archaeological monument. Follow the links below to find out how to do a topographical survey of a monument, and why it is useful. You must seek permission from the landowner before embarking on a survey. It is non-invasive and does not disturb the earth, so is a less nerve-wracking way of starting rather than excavating.

Projects under these headings are more likely to be eligible for funding as they tie in to county, regional or national research aims.

  • Woodland archaeology. Woodlands are often overlooked areas of archaeological activity. There is usually relatively good preservation of past remains, if the woodland is not a modern plantation. Woodland archaeology ranges from post-medieval saw-pits to scheduled monuments like Grim's Ditch. Woodland survey can be a simple walkover to identify any remains as tree cover makes more formal survey difficult. The National Trust sometimes does woodland archaeology, click for contact details. As for every type of archaeological investigation, you must get permission from the landowner.
  • Landscape archaeology. This can involve both desk and field-work. By looking at the landscape in its entirety, rather than looking at archaeological sites in isolation, the complex history of man's impact on the landscape can be unravelled. Historic maps and aerial photographs can be studied for clues which can then be proofed on the ground. Again, permission must be sought from the landowner.

For a more detailed look at suggested research topics for our region, you can look at the Solent-Thames Archaeological Research Framework.

Types of archaeological investigation

Click here to follow a route through an archaeological project, starting with getting permission and running through all the non-intrusive techniques that do not involve digging into the ground and then on to excavation and what to do after the fieldwork. It is not a set route where every step has to be followed but is organised in order of relative intrusiveness. It is advisable to start with less intrusive techniques and progress to more intrusive as you gain more experience and get help from experts.


Click here to start the archaeological investigation route with: getting permission.


Click here to find other ways to get involved in archaeology.