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Archaeology & Anthropology Field Schools

Europe - England - Thornton Abbey Mass Grave and Human Osteology Field School, England - 2014

Europe - England - Thornton Abbey Mass Grave and Human Osteology Field School, England - 2014

Archaeology Field School Location and Dates

Application Deadline
Start Date 2014-06-23
End Date 2014-07-04

Archaeology Field School Location

Thornton Curtis, North Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Academic Credit


Archaeology Field School Tuition

Total fee is 2,000 (approx. $3,300 USD)

Archaeology Field School Room and Board

Included in tuition fee

Archaeology Field School Travel

Archaeology Field School Description

Since 2010 the University of Sheffield has organised the successful Thornton Abbey Medieval & Monastic Field School (also running again July 6- August 1st 2014). In 2013 the remains of a large medieval mass grave were uncovered, which has been radiocarbon dated to the 14th century, the period when the Black Death swept across England. During the course of the excavation over fifty individuals were identified and excavated, although at least one third of the grave lay outside of the trench.

In 2014 we shall be returning to finish the excavation of the mass grave and are offering participants the opportunity to join in a specialist field school focussing on the burials. Students will be responsible for the actual excavation of the skeletons under the expert guidance of Dr Diana Swales, an experienced osteoarchaeologist from the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. As well as excavation of the human remains, participants will receive instruction in the lifting, cleaning and packaging of the bones.

Medieval mass graves are extremely rare in the UK, and only two other sites definitively associated with the Black Death, both from London, have thus far be excavated. Therefore this field school offers a truly unique opportunity to become involved in an internationally important research project. Places will be strictly limited to ten and allocated on a first-come first served basis.

Archaeology Field School Additional Information

Archaeology Field School Type

Historic, medieval, osteology, human bones

Time Period

Medieval, historic, 14th century

Field School Setting/Conditions

Rural England, but with easy transport connections

How is the project area accessed each day

Volunteers will be driven the short distance to and from site (10 minutes)

What is the daily schedule for the field school

Work schedule is Monday Friday with the weekend off

Number of years this Archaeology Field School has been in operation

Directors and Instructors

Dr Hugh Willmott, University of Sheffield
Dr Diana Swales, University of Sheffield

Specialized skills you will have the opportunity to learn

Excavation, identification and handling of human remains

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

Field School Contact E-mail:
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Field School Contact Website:

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