Italian Ligurian 'caligraphico naturalistico' dish with bird motif, mid 17th century

Public Archaeology

Training excavations and community digs

One of the most effective ways to engage with archaeology is to learn how to dig it! Training excavations and community digs are thus one of the best ways to foster enthusiasm for our shared past. For charities and small organisations that lack the financial resources of larger development companies, the added expense of removing an archaeological condition can be enough to dissuade them from continuing with their project. Engaging with the local community can, when circumstances permit, offer a great solution that benefits everyone. Volunteers working under the direction of a reduced professional team from PCA obtain valuable work experience and training of a kind that is rarely readily available elsewhere, whilst the client receives archaeological services at a high standard but at a reduced rate.

A professional team from PCA helped to run this community excavation at Fulham Palace, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, which was staffed by archaeology students from UCL and Birkbeck Colleges as well as interested members of the public. PCA’s Kari Bower oversaw on-site finds processing (above left), whilst site director Alexis Haslam supervised the excavation (above right).


Volunteers from the Islamic community assisted professional archaeologists from PCA during an excavation on the site of the Baitul Aziz Islamic Cultural Centre at Dickens Square in Southwark in order to facilitate its extension. Prior to their deployment the volunteers undertook a comprehensive programme of training that was held at PCA’s offices (above) and went on to excavate the site to a high standard (below). One volunteer subsequently went on to become a professional archaeologist.


An effective way to reach out to different audiences is through the production of publications that are tailored to meet the needs of specific groups. In addition to peer-reviewed journal articles and our in-house monograph series, we also publish a selection of popular publications that can be easily understood by a lay-audience as and when requested. Titles from our publication series can be purchased direct from PCA or Oxbow Books.