The Bronze Age in Britain began in roughly 2400 BC, and continued up until 800 BC. It was a time of significant change across the country; the advent of metalworking saw an increased use of copper and bronze tools which would ultimately replace the stone tools used by their forebears, alongside the flourishing of new ‘Beaker’ pottery and changes in burial practice towards interring individuals with rich grave assemblages. The Bronze Age saw significant growth in agriculture and settlement, with sites such as Flag Fen, Must Farm, Avebury, Silbury Hill and most famously Stonehenge, whose iconic circle of sarsen and blue stones was first erected around 2500 BC in the centre of a previous Neolithic monument and continued to undergo rearrangement over the next several centuries.

Recently, Past to Present Archaeology began a new research initiative to study the Bronze Age communities of Western Suffolk. The project aims to add to the increasing amount of research-led archaeological investigation of Bronze Age Britain to help us to better understand how those inhabiting Prehistoric Suffolk lived, farmed, created and used tools, and honoured their dead.


Situated within a 15-minute drive from Bury St Edmunds, our field school experiences are perfectly suited to students aiming to increase their archaeological understanding as well as archaeology enthusiasts. Whether you wish to enhance your archaeological skills passport or simply desire to have an archaeological adventure, this is the perfect opportunity for you to train with our team of experienced archaeologists who will guide you and nurture your passion for archaeology. Volunteers are welcome to travel to site from the surrounding towns and villages, or you can choose to camp alongside our team during the two-week project. We look forward to seeing you there!

For the past two years we have been excavating one of the sites many ring ditches to better understand the nature, extent and function of the feature. In addition to excavation we undertook OSL (courtesy of Dr Andy Carr, University of Leicester) dating to provide more concrete chronology to the archaeology. The project was supported by community members as part of this growing crowd funded research project. Last season, multiple pits and postholes were found to be present within our targeted ring ditch. The site was found to have multiple occupation layers spanning from the Late Mesolithic through to the Bronze Age identified by hundreds of lithic artefacts and a small pottery assemblage. Two cremations were also discovered, one of which was excavated and is currently being analysed, and the other has been covered for a future excavation season. OSL dates suggest a date of 1300 BC for our study ring ditch, which places this monument in the Middle Bronze Age.


Join the Discovery

Project Dates 

Week 1: Monday 22nd July 2024 – Friday 26th July 2024

Week 2: Monday 29th July 2024 – Friday 2nd August 2024

Week 3: Monday 5th August 2024 – Friday 9th August 2024

Week 4: Monday 12th August 2024 – Friday 16th August 2024

Week 5: Monday 19th August 2024 – Friday 23rd August 2024

Week 6: Monday 26th August 2024 – Friday 30th August 2024

Our 1 week experience is offered at £450 per person for adults £350 per person for students (Student bookings must be made through a valid university email address).

A weekend experience option is available for those who wish to join us for a shorter duration. Our weekend experience is priced at £180 per person and can be booked from the weekends of July 27/28 to August 24/25.

Please note, when booking multiple weeks the weekend experience between the chosen weeks is free of charge. 


You will receive archaeological training and instruction in:

  • Site conduct and health and safety considerations
  • Setting out archaeological grids for excavation, fieldwalking etc.
  • Clean and identify archaeological features and deposits
  • Stratigraphic excavation and recording
  • Maintaining accurate site records
  • Archaeological photography
  • Archaeological interpretation
  • Drawing archaeological plans and sections to appropriate scales
  • Archaeological survey with Leica GPS
  • Environmental sampling strategies
  • OSL Dating practices
  • Artefact retrieval and finds cataloguing 
  • Dry sieving for flints


Additional Project Activities and Events

  • There will be a weekly evening lecture (lectures TBC, and published soon)
  • Finds handling and discussions
  • Flintworking training
  • Finally, a group visit to the local pub for some grub


Catering and Board

  • A light lunch will be provided each day of the field school, including sandwiches, fruit, drinks, etc.
  • Drinks and biscuits will be provided during breaks each day of the field school
  • Participants are welcome to bring their own food and drinks with them to have on breaks as well
  • We have limited camping availability if you would like to stay on site with our team. Camping will cost £25 a week. If you would like to include camping in your experience package, you can choose this option on the bookings page

Shorter Experience Packages


If you cannot join us for a whole week, but would still like to get involved, why not join us for a day instead. 

This shorter package will give you the opportunity to experience as much or as little as you like from the main activity list. If you simply want to refine a particular skill, or just stick a shovel in the ground, we can tailor your experience to you.

1 Day experience is offered at £100 per person/day and can be booked across all week days.

We recommend booking this experience starting from Week 2 as participants joining for a short period of time at this point can engage in more focused and hands-on activities, maximising their learning experience. 

Additionally, we are offering a weekend package priced at £180, for those of you that work.

Additional courses

Environmental Processing Course (3 days)

Past to Present Archaeology is now offering a 3 day intensive environmental processing course, for those budding environmental archaeologists wishing to understand the process of sample collection, flotation and collation of the results. Our 3 day programme aims to introduce participants to conducting environmental sampling in a real archaeological setting, with a chance to gain experience in this specialist field.

During the 3 days you will:

  • Take bulk and column samples
  • Process sediments in our flotation tanks
  • Undertake finds recovery
  • Learn how to organise and store flots for further analysis

Our Environmental Programme will run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for 3 weeks (starting 5th, 12th and 19thAugust 2024). Spaces are limited to 3 participants per course.

Price £275

Finds Processing Course (1 day)

This year we are also offering a finds washing course giving participants the opportunity to handle and learn about the artefacts as they are lifted from site. You will wash, bag and label artefacts accordingly, and also have an opportunity to visit the site and learn from our professional staff.

Price £80

If you have any queries about our field schools, please email us on:

Help us Crowdfund this Dig

If you are unable to join our summer excavations, you can still support our project in other ways. Every penny donated will be used to provide extra support on site, and enable greater efforts in the post-excavation laboratories. 

Results will be posted online as they come in, and you can even help us interpret the results!