Fieldwork is a very important aspect of studying for an archaeology degree. Glasgow University's Department of Archaeology gives particular attention to this aspect of archaeological training, as is reflected in the number of weeks of field, museum or post-excavation work students are required to complete before being awarded an honours degree.
Due to this high investment in field training Glasgow archaeology graduates are often highly sought after by field archaeology organisations because of their level of field competence.
Participation in field projects provides an excellent opportunity to gain valuable work experience and enables contacts to be made with potential future employers. Time spent on such placements and the skills developed enhance employability within the cultural heritage industry where experience and motivation are important.
Fieldwork can be tailored to specific interests. Classics and Archaeology joint honours students, for example, may wish to participate in field projects focusing on sites in the Mediterranean, whilst Medieval History and Archaeology students can focus on sites of an historical age.
The departmental Field School is an excellent opportunity to get dedicated field training and is a good starting point. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of other fieldwork opportunities both in the UK and abroad.
Archaeology is a field-based science, which means that a vital part of your education will be to learn the skills and strategies of survey and excavation, and handling archaeological materials. Consequently, any student who wishes to study archaeology to degree level must be prepared to spend a significant period of their time on digs, in labs and in museums, learning the trade. Disabled students are particularly welcome: the Department is very happy to find alternative ways of gaining appropriate skills and experience, and has been active in researching ways of making this possible.
The fieldwork requirement depends on where you are in terms of studying archaeology.
Level 1 (first year)
There is no fieldwork requirement - however, if you are thinking about or intending to go into Honours archaeology, you are strongly advised to do two or three weeks.
Level 2 (second year)
If you are intending to enter Honours archaeology you must complete three weeks field experience prior to entry to Honours. This will normally be taken on the departmental field school. If you intend to take a Three Year Degree incorporating Level 3 archaeology, you are advised to complete three weeks fieldwork in the summer between Level 2 and Level 3.
Level 3 (Three Year Degree)
You must complete a total of three weeks fieldwork experience prior to graduation.
You must complete a total of eleven weeks field experience (including
the three weeks required for entry to Honours) prior to graduation.
You must complete a total of seven weeks fieldwork experience (including the three weeks required for entry to Honours) prior to graduation.
Nature of the Fieldwork
You may in principle undertake work in any museum or on any excavation or other fieldwork project including post-excavation, but you are expected to acquire a range of experience - excavation, surveying, planning, and artefact processing, for example.
The Student Handbooks contain more information about the process of getting proposed fieldwork approved by the department, applying for fieldwork, and the levels of financial support available.