Undergraduate Fieldwork bursaries 2015 - James Danter at Rufford Abbey and Thornton Abbey

At the Department of Archaeology we offer our undergraduate students fieldwork bursaries to help fund their participation in archaeological fieldwork or work experience within the heritage sector. These present fantastic opportunities for our students to develop their skills and to enhance their CV. Successful applicants report back to the department about their experience. Here, BA Archaeology student James Danter speaks on his fieldwork at Rufford Abbey (run by Lincolnshire County Council) and Thornton Abbey (run by University of Sheffield).

James’s motivation to participate in the two excavations was to refresh his fieldwork skills. Whilst at Rufford Abbey James took the chance to lead his own test pit excavation and starred in an ITV news interview. The test pit excavation came to an necessary end when his team, much to their surprise, unearthed a tunnel roof.

His work at Rufford Abbey was quickly followed by the excavations at Thornton Abbey. At Thornton, James was able to further enhance his skills, being involved in the excavation of most of the site’s trenches and being given the responsibility to excavate several skeletons. A highlight was being present when a remarkable worked-bone pick was uncovered. Thornton Abbey also allowed James to improve his geophysical surveying skills at the nearby site of Nun Cotham.

I gained new experience whilst helping to undertake a geophysical survey which, despite the threat of an angry bull, proved to be very useful and interesting.

James Danter at Thornton Abbey

Test pit at Rufford Abbey

Mid-excavation at Thornton Abbey