21 June—12 July 2021

Archaeology field school: geophysics at Ashton Court

Get involved in archaeology, find out about the principles and techniques involved in geophysics and help survey Ashton Court.

Ashton Court is a Grade I listed building on the outskirts of Bristol. It has been the site of a manor house for around a thousand years and from 1545 to 1946 was home to the wealthy Smyth family.

Archaeological investigations began here after parch marks appeared on the South Lawn during the dry summer of 2018. A geophysical survey revealed what was thought to be the remains of an earlier stable block and a programme of excavations followed in 2019.

Further geophysics is planned for 2021 and this archaeology field school is your chance to get involved.

The field school involves an online introductory session on how geophysics is used in archaeology, a half day session conducting a geophysical survey at Ashton Court and a follow up online session to share the results and discuss any findings.

Course details:

Monday 21 June, 7.30pm – 9pm
Online Zoom session: Find out about the principles and techniques and involved in geophysical surveys and find out about its application in archaeology through a range of case studies.

Friday 2 July or Saturday 3 July, morning or afternoon sessions
On site: A 2.5 hour session at Ashton Court surveying a real archaeological site. Sessions will be allotted nearer the time of the course. If you have a preference, please email Kate Iles.

Monday 12 July, 7.30pm – 8.30pm
Online Zoom session: Find out what happens to the data gathered on site and watch it being processed before discussing the results and the next steps.

Online lectures and the geophysics session are delivered by local archaeology company Archeoscan. A recording will be made available for those not able to attend the online sessions.

Suitable for: All sessions are suitable for complete beginners to those who have studied archaeology before but are keen to find out more. They are open to everyone aged 16 and over.

Archaeology gift pack

Add an archaeological gift pack to your booking for just £15 and receive a tailor made dig kit complete with trowel to get you started on your archaeological adventure. You will receive this pack at the Ashton Court session.

Available Tickets Price Qty *
Adult £48.00 (GBP) / ticket
Adult with gift pack £63.00 (GBP) / ticket
Concession £43.00 (GBP) / ticket
Concession with gift pack £58.00 (GBP) / ticket

* Please note that a maximum number of 10 tickets can be purchased for this event per order.


On-site access

Participants will need to be able to make their own way Ashton Court. Full directions will be provided nearer the time. On site facilities include a car park, café and toilets.

Archaeology is a physical activity but every measure possible will be taken to ensure that everyone can join in. If you have specific access requirements, please let us know in advanced and we will do our best to support you.

COVID Secure

The safety of our customers is paramount and extra measures put in place for the on-site element of this field school to make it COVID secure.

Numbers on site have been limited to ensure that participants can work in groups of no more than 6, at 2 meters apart.

All equipment will be thoroughly cleaned prior to the field school and between each session. Hand sanitizer and hand washing facilities will be provided.

Details of each participant will be kept for the NHS Test and Trace. These will be destroyed 21 days after the event.

If participants have to self-isolate, or experience Covid symptoms prior to the date of the survey, they will be asked not to attend the session at Ashton Court and offered a refund for the practical element of this field school.

These measures will be re-evaluated as new government guidance is issued and new measures added as necessary.

Wet weather

All archaeological fieldwork is subject to the weather and farming conditions and the dig day may need to be cancelled at short notice if conditions are deemed unsafe. If this happens, you will be notified as soon as possible and an alternative date arranged or  a refund for the practical element of this field school offered.

Participants Charter

Full details of the site will be issued by Archeoscan in a Participants Charter nearer to the date of this field school. This will contain full details on what to bring, where to go and what to expect. You will also receive a full health and safety briefing on site.

About this programme

The archaeology study sessions programme and field schools are directed by Kate Iles, curator of archaeology. This field school is run by Archeoscan, a local company providing opportunities for community involvement in archaeology.

Archaeology at Ashton Court is an exciting community project involving local schools and members of the public. It is run in partnership with Bristol Museum, the Bristol City Council Parks team, Bristol Archives, Archeoscan, Heritage Schools, Artspace Lifespace, the Friends of Ashton Court,

For more information or to join our mailing list please contact [email protected].