Archaeology Matters



Archaeology Matters

Student research in partnership with community groups




Archaeology Matters is a core module for our second year single honours students (and optional for dual honours). Students work alongside local community groups to develop their research skills and understanding of the cultural, ethical and professional contexts of archaeological research and heritage conservation, through a collaborative field project.


Click the tabs to see the Archaeology Matters projects for each year.





Archaeology Matters exhibition

2017






Archaeology Matters 2017

This year, the Level 2 Archaeology Matters students were tasked by the Friends of Sheffield Castle (FOSC) to come up with an excavation strategy for the site of Sheffield Castle (formerly the Castle Market which was closed in 2013).

The students were divided into four groups and each group was allocated a particular time period to research, from the Anglo-Saxons to the 18th century. Based on their initial background research of previous excavations at the site, historical information etc., each group had to define their research aims and come up with an excavation strategy that, if implemented, would enable them to address those aims. Each group was supported by a mentor who they met throughout the semester, and who gave them advice and guidance on their projects. The outputs from their projects included an excavation strategy document and an exhibition which was aimed at engaging members of the public with their proposed strategy.



Archaeology Matters Archaeology Matters 2017




At the start of the term, the students were given exclusive access to Castle Market and were given a ‘guided tour’ of the site by Sheffield Council Senior Structural Engineer, Mr. Steve Mettam. The group was shown some of the surviving Castle features which are not visible, or accessible, to the general public. This visit was a great opportunity for them to see the Castle Market site as it stands now; to get a feel for the urban landscape; to think about what and where they would excavate, and to consider the potential challenges the site poses to excavation.

A key part of the students’ work was to produce an exhibition aimed at showcasing their excavation strategy to members of the public and FOSC. Their exhibition was held on 12th May at the University and was well attended by staff, students and people from across the city, including members of local historical societies and FOSC. The exhibition began with a short presentation from each group and then the students had the opportunity to discuss their work and answer questions from the guests.
 
The event was a great success and the students received fantastic feedback on their displays. It was obvious that their ideas and enthusiasm for the project really inspired those who came along.

















Archaeology Matters





Archaeology Matters 2017

Steve Mettam, Sheffield Council Senior Structural Engineer, gave the Archaeology Matters students a tour of the Castle Market site

Archaeology Matters 2017

Archaeology Matters

Archaeology Matters

2016

Archaeology Matters 2016

Student research in partnership with community groups

Parkwood Springs

Students are working with two different community groups associated with the Parkwood Springs area of Sheffield, to explore lost buildings and vanished communities. One group is working with the Friends of Parkwood Springs to establish the location and dimensions of the demolished Shirecliffe Hall, and are conducting a geophysical survey in March. A second group working with the Parkwood Springs Residents Group established the importance of a Victorian railway bridge as a sole access point to the village in the early-20th century, and will record the bridge in a standing building survey. They have also been collecting stories about living in Parkwood Springs Village before its demolition, focusing on ideas of community and distinctive local character, which was heightened due to the limitations of access to the rest of the city.

Archaeology matters image

Recovering the history of Shirecliffe Hall

Archaeology matters photo

The Engine House Enigma

Five students have worked with the Friends of Burngreave Cemetery to explore the industrial-period history of the cemetery area, and are looking into the remains of Pitsmoor Colliery, which stood on the site. They will be conducting geophysical survey at the end of March to locate a demolished Engine House, whose position and dimensions are not clear from any topographical features, nor from maps dating to the mid-19th century. They are researching local colliery owner William Pass, and using maps and records held at Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library to establish the extent of his properties, which included Pitsmoor Colliery.

Three students from the class will present a research poster on their ongoing projects, and their reflections on working with the public, to the Post-Medieval Archaeology Conference in Sheffield in April. Their findings will be exhibited to their community groups and the public on the 11th of May in the Diamond, University of Sheffield.


Find out more about the exhibition of 2016 Archaeology Matters projects