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Durham University

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Student news

Unearthing England in your own time

(14 April 2021)

wall on a hill

From Hadrian’s Wall to urban Tyneside, our Archaeology Department have access to some of the best historical sites in the UK right on our doorstep. These last few months, they’ve been working incredibly hard to ensure that these remain accessible to all.

In a field where practical experience is crucial, our innovative team have been bringing Lindisfarne to our living rooms through a combination of Google Earth and carefully crafted educational videos.

Online tours

The adaptations allowed our Archaeology Department to ensure their memorable field trips remained front and centre of their popular Archaeology in Britain module.

The trips draw on existing research and the team worked closely with Archaeosoup – an educational video organisation founded by Durham alumnus Marc Barkman-Astles – to ensure they were to a high standard.

The tours themselves fill a gap, giving students a sense of what these sites are like in the field, whilst also plugging them into contextual supporting resources. They are laid out online for students to follow, accompanied by aerial shots to give a wider perspective of certain sites.

No tour unturned

This approach allowed of the usual excursions to take place in spite of lockdown restrictions with the added benefit of increasing attendance amongst those usually unable to make it – including mature students with caring responsibilities and others with mobility issues.

All students have responded positively to these changes and praised the fact they are able to remotely engage with these sites, retaining the ‘hands-on’ feel of the course.

Such is the success that our archaeology team have decided to move to a hybrid model for future teaching – retaining the online tours along with the original field trips.

With students welcomed to suggest new content for the future, this is the beginning of the virtual field trip story, not the end.

Find out more

The Department of Archaeology is a leading centre for the study of archaeology and one of the top departments in the world.