‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ course

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Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology in the East Midlands

email: info@mercian-as.co.uk

This 5-day Landscape Archaeology course combines class-room lectures, practical workshops (using computer-based applications), field visits, and site tours of the landscape to give an immersive learning experience, introducing students to the wide and exciting field of landscape archaeology.

The course uses the legendary landscape of Sherwood Forest as the main case study, with site visits to the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve and other local historic landscape locations, and also includes examples from around the UK and the wider world, to enable students to experience the subject first-hand and to begin seeing the landscape in a new way.

Take your skills to the next level by joining our week long

‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ Course 2021

at King’s Clipstone, and around Sherwood Forest

Price £250 per person

This course is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced archaeologist .


For those wishing to develop their skills, for students and post-graduates seeking to fulfil the experience requirements of their courses… for those wishing to pursue a career in archaeology, or improve their knowledge to give them the edge at work… for those looking to acquire cross-transferable skills… for volunteer wishing to raise their game, impress their friends, and increase their enjoyment of archaeology and heritage through a greater skill set and knowledge base…. through to people simply wishing to learn for the love of learning…

Everyone is welcome… no previous knowledge or experience is required…

Archaeological Skill Passport

As well as offering the best in archaeological training and support, the ‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ course 2021 is tailored towards enabling attendees to fulfil requirements in the Archaeological Skills Passport.

Indoor training will take place at the Tin Tabernacle, King John’s Palace. Kings Clipstone. The outdoor elements will take place around the landscape of Sherwood Forest including the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve.

The course introduces many of the methods available for examining, recording and viewing the landscape, and for reconstructing historic landscapes, including:

The above will cover the theory and methodology of the various techniques above. Geophysical and topographic survey will not be undertaken on this course (please see Topographic survey courses and geophysical survey training courses if this is required). Delegates will get to work with Historic mapping data, aerial photographs, and LiDAR data sets.

The physical landscape is explored including:

The cultural or human landscape is then studied in relation to this underlying physical landscape, including:

2021 Dates:

Week of

24th - 28th May 2021

Field trips identify features in the landscape as studied in the classroom and discusses how landscapes can be reconstructed from this evidence.

The course then looks at different layers of the imaged or human landscape:

The course then looks at some of the ways archaeologists attempt to understand the subjective human experience of landscapes in the past including:

The course is located at King John's Palace in Sherwood Forest, and includes site visits to the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve and surrounding landscape.

Archaeological GIS training:

Delegates will work with survey data and learn how to create maps, vector layers and geo-reference raster images, as well as create and work with 3D models.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present spatial or geographic data.

Archaeologists use GIS for many things including creating maps, analysing landscapes, understanding archaeological sites, creating 3D models, viewshed analysis, presenting survey data and more.

GIS is a great way to integrate data from projects and can be used to analyse that data as well as present it in the form of maps for publication.

The images to the left include GIS being used in building analysis, surveying, map work, and the displaying of geophysical survey data.

As well as all the above you will learn about the history and archaeology of Sherwood Forest, and also about the designed royal hunting landscape and Palace at its heart. Mercian Archaeological Services CIC run the Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project and are at the leading edge of research into this landscape of legends…

Your course tutor will be :

Andy Gaunt MA, BSc, CertHE, FGS
Company Director and Archaeologist, Landscape Archaeology, GIS, Survey and Geomatics.

Andy is recognised for his expert and unrivalled knowledge of the landscape, history, archaeology and heritage of the Sherwood Forest landscape., and has research interests in medieval archaeology, the medieval landscape; settlement, elite and designed landscapes, medieval forests, parkland and hunting landscapes, medieval hunting, medieval romance literature and chivalry, and the medieval legends of Robin Hood.

He has spent many years investigating the settlement and landscape of Clipstone and Sherwood Forest in the Medieval period. Notably, he identified medieval Clipstone as a designed hunting and Arthurian romance landscape.

He has published a number of papers on Sherwood Forest and Community Archaeology.

As a Landscape Archaeologist he is particularly interested in landscape analysis, philosophical and theoretical landscape archaeology, historical and cultural geography, geological history, skyscape archaeology, horizon astronomy, archaeoastronomy, geophysical survey, topographic survey, geographic information systems (GIS), virtual reality and reconstructions. He also strives to understand how people experienced the landscape in the past.

Andy’s has made a number of TV appearances as an expert on Sherwood Forest, including in the UK on the BBC, Channel Four (Walking Through History, and site consultancy for Time Team), and Channel Five (Digging up Britain’s Past), as well as internationally including a number of appearances for ARTE ((France & Germany) giving expert commentary on Walter Scott and D H Lawrence and their relationships to Sherwood Forest). He has been interviewed a number of times on BBC Radio 4 including the ‘Making History’ show, and has provided consultancy for BBC Radio 3.

He has also been interviewed in magazines and for newspapers including in the United States, and UK.

Talks & Workshops Indoor Training Outdoor Training Vitual Training Fieldschools Experience Days Events Calendar Sherwood Forest

*Please note that while aspects of this course will be in-depth, attendance on the course will not qualify delegates to work as a Landscape Archaeologist; no matter how high the quality of tuition a week long course cannot substitute for the years of experience, training and knowledge required.

About King John’s Palace and Sherwood Forest

The classroom elements of the course are based at King John’s Palace in Kings Clipstone, Sherwood Forest- and teaching will include a study of the royal hunting lodge and palatial enclosure of the King’s Houses, now known as King John’s Palace, and the designed landscape that surrounded it.

King John’s Palace was the Royal Heart of Sherwood Forest in the Medieval period.

The site was visited by all 8 kings from Henry II to Richard II, with King John possibly holding a proto-parliament there in the early 13th century and Edward I holding Parliament there in 1290.

Recent archaeological work by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC has helped to reveal the size and importance of the site, and has also interpreted the surrounding lordship as a ‘designed’ medieval romantic hunting landscape.

The palace was sat at the heart of medieval Sherwood Forest and provided amenities for hunting, royal retreat, and the entertaining of foreign royalty and important members of society.

The landscape of Clipstone was identified by the course tutor as a designed romance landscape from the medieval period.

King John's Palace, Sherwood Forest Students at the Archaeology Field School Sherwood Forest The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

Ancient track way through the Forest

The Major Oak legendary hideaway of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest

The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve

The Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve is the legendary home of Robin Hood, and his secret hideaway the 1000 year old major Oak.

It is also home to over 900 ancient oak trees, beautiful wildlife and extensive lowland heath.

This ancient landscape of wood-pasture will be explored though field trips and classroom learning.

The development of that landscape over the centuries will be teased out from historic mapping and documents, and will be combined with seeing the results of archaeological investigations undertaken over many year by Mercian.

Delegates will wander the ancient woods and visit archeological earthworks, and then working with mapping and other techniques will explore how this landscape was formed.

This will then form the back drop to understanding how people have used the landscape and how they have imagined this landscape over the years.

The course is designed to demonstrate how much there is to see hear think of, and learn in a landscape, and what tools are available for understanding landscapes in the past and present.

The course aims to change how delegates think of landscapes in the future.

As part of the course attendees will learn all about Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood, outlaws, foresters, the landscape of Sherwood Forest in medieval times, the forest law, courts, offences and judiciary, the Palace at Clipstone, monasteries, chapels and hermitages, hunting parks, Nottingham Castle, Sheriffs and much more about life in Medieval Sherwood Forest…

All included as part of the course.

In the meantime have a look at the following websites for more information:

Sherwood Forest Archaeology Project pages:




King John’s Palace:







Important information:

Thank you

Please note we do not provide accommodation. We can provide a list of local accommodation from camping to hotels- but it is the responsibility of the individual booking on to the field school to organise their own accommodation.

Any list provided should not be seen as a recommendation by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC.

To pay by cheque or bank transfer, please contact us below stating which week you wish to attend and how you wish to pay.

or If you require more information before booking please contact us via our email:



Payment options

You can book your place for the ‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ 2021 course via a number of ways:



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Places are limited so please book promptly to avoid disappointment.

‘Exploring Landscape Archaeology’ 2021 Week: 24th - 28th May 2021

Book your place by paying in FULL £250:


Pay £120 non-refundable DEPOSIT to reserve your place:


Exploring Landscape Archaeology Course 2021 DEP




Exploring Landscape Archaeology Course 2021 Balance




Exploring Landscape Archaeology Course 2021 FULL




If you are coming to our Landscape Archaeology course and you are new to Sherwood Forest why not stay a while and have a look at some of the other things there are to do in this landscape of legends…

Experience Nottinghamshire Robin Hood Town Tours Nottingham Castle City of caves Nottingham Nottingham University Archaeology Museum Galleries of Justice Nottingham Creswell Crags Mansfield Museum THynghowe Trail Vicar Water County Park Clumber Park Sherwood Pines The Jolly Bodgers of Sherwood Forest Newstead Abbey Wollaton hall and Deer Park Thoresby Courtyard Welbeck Estate

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Specialists in Community Archaeology, Public Involvement, Research & Training

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