Archaeology Live! 2016

The days of archaeology sitting inside a glass cabinet are over! York Archaeological Trust are delighted to invite you to pick up your trowel, join the team and take part in our excavations in the heart of our historic city.

The All Saints, North Street excavations. Image courtesy of David Dodwell

The All Saints, North Street excavations. Image courtesy of David Dodwell

The Archaeology Live! training excavations are an innovative way to get a hands-on experience of the discipline and to receive expert training from full-time professional archaeologists. Created back in 2001, the project was one of the first excavations to be entirely funded by the people who take part and 2016 will mark our sixteenth season of totally crowdfunded archaeology! Whether you are starting out on a career in archaeology, or just want to experience the excitement of a live  excavation, everyone is welcome to take part!

For the first time ever, the 2016 excavation season will see us excavating two separate sites, both within the ancient Bar Walls but on opposing sides of the River Ouse. This will give us a wonderful opportunity to see the different kinds of archaeology present in the Fortress and Colonia sides of the Roman city.

All Saints, North Street

We’ll be making our return to the grounds of All Saints Church, North Street to pick up where the 2015 season left off. The excavation will cover many periods of York’s history, from early 19th century burials, to medieval occupation deposits, as well as evidence of the city’s Viking and Roman past.  This excavation is open to anyone aged 16 and above (14 if accompanied by a guardian) and offers the opportunity to work on complex archaeology and human remains.

Click here to learn all about the site and how to get involved!

St. Saviour’s, St. Saviourgate

We will also be excavating in the grounds of the church of St. Saviour’s Church on St. Saviourgate, York. This marks a return to the site following a ten year absence; our 2006 season was held here and produced some spectacular results. In 2016 we aim to learn more about the early modern and medieval buildings, roads and surfaces we know to occupy the site, we’re also looking for evidence that the church may have a Viking predecessor! This site is only open to previous Archaeology Live! trainees and has the potential for some amazing archaeology.

Click here to learn more about the site and how to get involved!

Recording medieval walls, St. Saviour's, 2006.

Recording medieval walls, St. Saviour’s, 2006.

When are we digging?

Spring Excavation

March 28th – April 8th (Monday-Friday)

Summer Excavation

All Saints: June 27th – September 16th (Monday – Friday)

St. Saviour’s: June 27th – August 19th (Monday – Friday)

Autumn Excavation

TBC (email to register interest)

Weekend Excavations (All Saints only)

April 9th to April 10th: Fully booked

May 28th to May 29th: Fully booked

*Extra date due to high demand* July 9th to July 10th: Fully booked

August 27th to August 28th: Fully booked

Post-excavation courses (2016)

November 28th – December 2nd

December 5th – December 9th



The week six team, All Saints 2015

Course Information

From a one day taster, to an intensive four week course, there are options to suit everybody.

One week and longer courses

Taster courses

Weekend courses

How do I book?

To book a place, just send an email with your preferred dates and any questions you may have to

One of the team will get right back to you with booking forms and any further information that you require.

What will we find?

This is always the big question, but in the case of our sites, we do know the answer – a lot! Urban archaeology rarely fails to deliver wonderful finds and features, especially in the unparalleled layers beneath the streets of York!


Looking down on the Rectory walls.

Looking down on the Rectory walls, All Saints, 2015.

The archaeology of All Saints and St. Saviour’s covers a date range of over two millennia. Finds and features from the Roman period to the 20th century and everything in between will be unearthed. To catch up on previous seasons, look through our archive of site diaries.


The Archaeology Live! training excavation provides a way to learn about and participate in excavation, recording, planning, finds processing, environmental sampling, and processing.  Any other specific requests for training may also be available on application. Professional field archaeologists provide all the training throughout the course.

During Archaeology Live!, the archaeology will be excavated and recorded by the trainees; the trainers teach and assist when required. It is a field-based training program where people learn by doing the excavation, and by discovering and recording the archaeology themselves, rather than by classroom-based tuition.

For more information contact:


Mobile: +44 (0) 7908 210026



  1. Just pages of interesting a brilliant information on the ongoing archaeology After reading I just want to become a part of your work Looking forward to a reply. Hazel SMith. Sheffield

  2. Hazel a smith.

    March 21, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Would it be possible to book a place on next years archaeology excavations please h a smith

  3. miss julie mann

    April 7, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Hi could you put me on your mailing list for 2017 thankyou kind regards Julie

    • Hi Julie,

      The best way to make sure that you’re kept up to date is to send us an email saying that you’re interested in digging with us in 2017. With the volume of correspondence we receive, everything’s easiest by email.


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