11 January—25 January 2021

Archaeology study sessions: the archaeology of caves

Caves are unique sites that can hold exceptional prehistoric archaeology.

What dark secrets were being played out by Palaeolithic people in the caves of Cheddar and Derbyshire? Why were Mesolithic people leaving strange objects and inscribing art deep inside their caves? Did cannibalism really take place in Cheddar?

Excavating caves can be challenging and at times difficult to interpret, but many sites offer an extraordinary insight into the lives of people in the past.

Join us for a series of three 90 minute online study sessions on Monday evenings as we explore some of the most fascinating prehistoric cave sites from the South West Britain and beyond with Dr Paula Gardiner.

Numbers are limited to allow participants to ask questions and discuss the topics covered.

Sessions will take place via Zoom on Mondays at 7.30pm (GMT) on:

  • 11 January 2021 – Neanderthals in the South West.
  • 18 January 2021 – Complex Mesolithic Activities
  • 25 January 2021 – Ritual, Symbolism and Art

The online lectures will be recorded and made available for those not able to attend this element. A reading list and further information will also be provided as part of this field school.

UPDATE: These sessions have now started, if you still wish to join please email Kate Iles for details.

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.

Speaker: Dr Paula Gardiner is an archaeologist specialising in the Mesolithic. Paula is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology & Archaeology, University of Bristol and part time-tutor at Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

How to take part

Due to COVID-19, study days will be run online via Zoom over several sessions.

Details of how to join each session will be sent to you along with a reminder about your booking in the week leading up to the course. You will also receive a confirmation email once you have registered.

Visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining meetings. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly.

Additional information


Concessions are available with proof of identity for people over 65, unemployed people, disabled people (carers free) and Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives.


Archaeological study sessions

Bristol Museums has run a programme of study days since 2013 and an archaeological field school since 2019. Due to COVID-19, this year’s study days will be run online and broken down into several linked sessions. Profits from study days and the field school help support the work of Bristol Museums.

The study day programme and field schools are directed by Kate Iles, curator of archaeology. For more information or to join our mailing list, please contact [email protected]