As well as the above all school attendees will receive the following:

*Please note accommodation is not provided*


You will receive training and experience in many techniques of excavation,
including many Core Skills listed in the Archaeological Skills Passport:


Join Mercian Archaeological Services CIC in the beautiful Leicester countryside for this week-long training excavation, which focuses on the teaching of archaeological excavation methods.

As well as offering the very best in archaeological training and support, this training excavation is tailored towards enabling attendees to fulfil requirements of the Archaeological Skills Passport.

Welby Archaeological Training Excavation

Welby Archaeological Training Excavation 2021

At Welby, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.

Price £250 per person

Home About Us & Contact Services Projects Publications Community Arch Testimonials Meet the Team

Bainbridge Training Excavation:

“I just want to thank you all so much for a really interesting, exciting and fun couple of weeks at Bainbridge. I was so impressed by the breadth of the training you provided, and the quality and range of experience we had - both on site and in your presentations. And all of it carried out so informally and with such humour that it was easy to underestimate how professional and thorough the teaching was - but it was, of course. I know it’s a trite saying, but I honestly enjoyed every minute of it…”
(RW, Bainbridge, Week 1 & 2, 2019).

Thanks for all your patience and knowledge. I had a great time thank you and will definitely be returning and recommending you to others

(LK, Bainbridge, Week 1 & 2, 2019)

“Thank you for the last few days at Bainbridge. As you know, I came with the hope of refreshing some skills and not only did this but, with your patience and openness in sharing your knowledge and experience, have come away with some totally new perspectives, a whole list of things that I now need to think and read  about, and a real enthusiasm to push ahead. I hugely valued all of your individual inputs – Andy for sharing the dark magic of surveying and the mystery of the total station, Sean for your patience in gently tutoring me in how to draw… and David for bringing it alive not least by reminding me of the thrill of putting my thumb over the thumbmark of the potter.”
(IC, Bainbrdge, Week 1 , 2019)

Some feedback from previous customers at Mercian’s other field schools:

Thank you so much Andy, Sean and David for such an enjoyable week! I had a great time learning new skills and meeting wonderful people. The evening tours were great as well and thank you also to Roy and Mickey! Best part of my trip by far, when I am next in the country I will see what you guys are up to! Best wishes

(LI, Week A, 2019)

Great week of intensive Archaeological training with the experts. I was very impressed with all the activities arranged which gave a comprehensive overview of the job of an archaeologist and the skills needed. Many thanks to Mercian for the experience with a special thanks to Roy for supplying the culinary delights for lunch.

(SH week B 2019)

Well I'm back to work today after what was a truly memorable experience with you last week. Having done a couple of volunteer digs, I wasn't quite sure what a training school would entail but you managed to get just the right balance of teaching new skills, taught sessions and opportunities for practical work. Throw in the hugely informative evening walks and you provided the whole package. I have spent the weekend watching you all on TV, reading your reports, looking at historic mapping and relating some of the Forest/Park elements to my own area. I will definitely be booking again in the future and will be telling anyone who will listen how brilliant you all are! Please also pass on my thanks to Roy - its worth coming just for his lovely food!”

(KW week A 2019)

Thank you for an amazing experience, and what a fascinating site? We were looked after so well, and you were all very informative and friendly. This is the sixth dig I’ve been on, and by far the most informative and fulfilling. I, and probably we, will be back.” 

(LM, Week A, 2019)

I have just experienced an inspiring week with Mercian archaeologists at King John’ Palace, Kings Clipstone. Thank you for the learning, fellowship and fun. Keep up the good work you guys.

(FS, Week A, 2019).

Had the most amazing time. Everyone is very friendly and it was informative and very practical course. I’ve learnt a lot. Thanks.

(GC, Week A, 2019)

Thank you for inspiring my son. He has told his Dad all about it and he has got all of his facts right. Seems he has absorbed most of what you all said during the week :) Hope to see you again next year

(PA,  Week C, 2019)

Excellent week - great learning experience!

(CL, Week A, 2109)

Fantastic training school in fundamental archaeology

(JM, Week A, 2019)

“ … just wanted to say how much we’d enjoyed our almost week.  We loved being immersed in the timelessness of the Sherwood Forest landscape… say goodbye to Roy from us - we loved looking forward to his lunches and thank you for catering for allergies.
(E & LH, Week B, 2019)

Thank for such a warm welcome, fantastic training and delicious food… a brilliant week… - lots of learning, laughter, great food and plenty of sunshine.  What more could you ask for?

(CJ, Week A, 2019)

I just wanted to send you an email to again say thank you for last week; learnt a lot and had a lot of fun doing it.

(LH, Week B, 2019)

Thank you all so much for your time and care… Shaun, David and yourself were absolute stars! I enjoyed your camaraderie and passion for your subject immensely. Thank you all so so so much for a wonderful week!

I hope that i will be able to join you again in the near future.”
(L T-R, Week A, 2019)

Great coverage of archaeology, local history and excellent social context

(FS, week A, 2019)

Wonderful and very informative course. I will be back. Thank you!
(LM, Week A, 2019)

My hubby has been there this week. I bought the course as a surprise for his birthday and he has absolutely loved it. Thank you for making his week so enjoyable” 

CH week B 2019)

Perfect Everything! Thank you very much!”

EO & LBH, Week B, 2019)

Fantastic. Learnt so much and much to learn. Would love to come back!
(DM, Week B, 2019)

Great time, learned a lot to enhance my journey towards an archaeological career. Thank you very much!

(RC, Week B, 2019)

Excellent training session by top archaeologists. Amazing knowledge. Thanks.
(SH, Week B, 2019)

Enjoyed every moment.

(AE, Week B, 2019)

It was an amazing experience and I hope to return as soon as I can… I hope everything continues to go well and thanks again. I learnt so much.


Absolutely Amazing! Learned lots, had a blast.

(DC, Week B, 2019).

“Very instructive on both the theory and putting it into practice.”
(JT, Week B, 2019)

“A brilliant week - didn’t want it to end! Learnt and laughed a lot!

(LD, week B, 2019)

A great variety, fun an learnt a lot - thank you one and all!
(LH, Week B, 2019)

“I’ve had a lovely time at the tin tabernacle. I came for the archaeological fieldschool, and over the five days I have met some great people; eaten like a king every meal, and learnt more about pottery than I ever expected to know in a lifetime.“
(CM, Week C, 2019)

I’d highly recommend this wonderful field school set amongst all the history and legend of Sherwood Forest.
(KA,2018 Week B)

I wanted to thank you, Sean and David for a brilliant week at the Summer Field School at Kings Clipstone. I had a fantastic time and it was not only an extremely educational week, but great fun!”
The week really set me up for starting my Master's degree in Archaeology and thanks to Mercian, I feel prepared and excited for this new stage in my career. The course was perfectly structured, from taking us back to basics and helping us to understand key archaeological concepts to developing our knowledge of more advanced concepts. I learned SO much while having such a good laugh!”
I honestly can't thank you and recommend you all enough, I will definitely be returning for more field schools and courses! (and the lunch club!!)”.
(KF, 2018 Week A)

“Thanks for a great experience on your field school last week (20th - 24th August). As a first time experience of getting my hands dirty on a historical site it proved to be all I could have hoped for. The range of elements covered in the training gave me a valuable in depth understanding of the degree of skills involved in discovering the past history of the site…
I realise that over the 5 days we could only get an introduction to the many skills involved but it did create a desire to learn more even in someone who is just doing it for fun.
I openly admit that the experience of revealing a piece of 10th century pottery during the cleaning activity is something that gave me a real buzz. To be handling something that was made by human hands a thousand years ago was magical…
The week was a wonderful experience which was also enhanced by Roy's meals.
My thanks again to you all for allowing me to share a great 5 days and to gain so much from all your undoubted skills and enthusiasm. It has left me wanting more.”
(BS, 2018 Week C)

Thank you so much for our field school experience, it was brilliant. I am very happy to write you a testimonial from a higher education perspective, endorsing the opportunity for undergraduates.
(KY, 2018 Week C)

Thank you guys for giving so many people such a great opportunity. Absolutely fab and I learned lots! I’m glad we had the lectures too- it helped when digging to have an idea about what we were seeing when we were digging. The field trips meant we saw how King John’s Castle fit into, and changed the environment around it. It’s a pity Hong Kong doesn’t have half term, or I’d be back sooner.
(LS, 2018 Week B, via Facebook)

I just wanted to leave a review of sorts, as this was one of the most enjoyable and truly educational field schools that I’ve been to! Whether you have experience in archaeology or not, this is a fantastic opportunity to learn, in a welcoming environment; all three Mercian members are extremely knowledgeable in their various fields of expertise and are able to teach aspects of archaeology that might usually be a bit daunting in an accessible, understandable, often comical way. This is a great field school to experience a wide variety of archaeological work (surveying with equipment, digging, finds processing, site photography, plan drawing)- you get to try it all and the staff is so approachable, happy to answer questions. If you have the chance to attend this school, you’ll be happy that you did; regardless of your level of experience with archaeology, you will learn a lot, likely with a good bit of laughter along the way.
Thank you Andy, Sean & David for an excellent field school experience and I hope to return for another!

(K C-L, 2018 Week B, via Facebook)

The welcome from the Mercian team was warm, with coffee provided by Roy (the onsite caterer… I’ll say more about him and his culinary skills further on...) and the training group was a lovely mix of all ages and experience. We had a welcome talk and introductions, which was lighthearted and relaxed, then a site tour and a fascinating background history of the medieval palace site and how it functioned and related to the surrounding area. This set the field school into a lovely context as part of the long-standing research and hard work by Mercian, who are a not-for-profit, Community Interest organisation... Their ethos is outstanding. They have a firm emphasis on research, community engagement, training and education - all underpinned by their very obvious passion for the local Sherwood Forest archaeology and history.
The course itself was amazing, with depth and meticulous attention to detail in all aspects of core skills such as excavation, context sheet recording, plan and section drawing and site photography, and secondary skills such as finds processing. I loved the pottery and small finds identification sessions, and the animal, vegetable, mineral’ object quizzes....and we even got to have a go at flint-knapping at the end of the week. I think I might manage a stone tool or two now, should things get apocalyptic... :-) Seriously, it was great fun.
We learned a massive amount in the space of a week. The teaching involved not just the correct processes, but also the whys, the wherefores and often the maths (yes, maths!) behind technical approaches such as trench layout from co-ordinates, use of dumpy level, total station, and so on. Now, I don’t have a particularly refined maths brain, and it’s a (very) long time since my GCSEs but Andy presented it in such a way that we could apply and use it effectively. I was pretty impressed that his approach made it stick!
The excavation part of the course was interesting and rewarding… finding and identifying medieval pottery and other small finds on a medieval site is always exciting…
I wish I could have been there for longer! It was a fantastic experience and I came away feeling a lot more confident in my developing skills.
Now I have to talk about the food. Oh goodness me. Roy, the site caterer, is a magician. A two course hot meal every day cooked onsite in a tent, ranging from full-on roast dinners to kebabs, cottage pie and fish and chips and some rather naughty puddings. His homemade cinnamon sponge with homemade jam has custard was divine. I think there must have been some ex-army field catering experience there...but the food he produced every day was amazing and delicious.”
(KA, 2018 Week B).

Thanks folks! I had a really awesome time for that week. Andy, Sean, Dave and Mickey -- thanks so much for the endless knowledge and all subtle requests to just tell me a story. And the potatoes. I don't think I'm going to look at clay pipes the same way again... I'll definitely recommend this dig to other people and I'll watch for your future events.
(KG, 2018 Week A, via Facebook)

Just want to say thanks for a great week. I learned lots and had a great time. The week was well organised and the mix of skills, hands on experience and theory was just right. Hopefully I’ll be back sooner rather than later.
(LS, 2018 Week B)

I just wanted to say thank you, Sean and David for a very enjoyable week.  I came away buzzing with all the information you’d tried so hard to impart and determined to keep in touch with your work and community archaeology in general.  A big thank you too to the wonderful chef.
(2018 Week A)

“I so enjoyed the archaeology field school with Mercian Archaeology last year that I've been back again this week for more! Just home after a week of trench planning and digging, finds sorting, surveying and lots of concentration on flint technologies for me this year - just fantastic! Flint knapping, experimenting with tools - heaven. Andy, Sean and David at Mercian are so knowledgeably, professional and caring and are doing wonderful work at King John's Palace, it's a privilege to be part of it.
(LF, 2016 & 2017).

Feedback from previous customers at Mercian’s field schools

Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Community Archaeology East Midlands, Mercian Archaeological     Services Community Archaeology for Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Sherwood Forest,     Leicestershire and the East Midlands. Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Community     Archaeology East Midlands, Community Archaeology Leicestershire. Archaeological

Mercian Archaeological Services Community Archaeology in the East Midlands


This training course focuses on excavation and recording skills but there will also be a chance to undertake a number of techniques that make up the Secondary Skills of the Archaeology Skills Passport including:

 Archaeological Training Excavation:

As stated above this course focuses on excavation, it is suitable for all levels from beginner to experienced digger.

For those wishing to develop their skills, for students and post-graduates seeking to fulfil the practical 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 diggers 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…

Archaeological Skill Passport

The Deserted Village of Welby is situated 3km to the north-west of Melton Mowbray town-centre, off the Nottingham Road (A606), in North Leciestershire.

The site “sits within a historically rich landscape with close proximity to prehistoric and Romano-British activity that could extend within the area of the site.”

The site sits a few miles north of the Historic market town of Melton Mowbray.

“Melton Mowbray is a town in Leicestershire, England, 19 miles (31 km) north-east of Leicester, and 20 miles (32 km) south-east of Nottingham. It lies on the River Eye and the River Wreake and has a population of 25,554. The town is well known for a culinary speciality, the Melton Mowbray pork pie, and as the home of one of the six licensed makers of Stilton cheese. Melton Mowbray is sometimes promoted as Britain's "Rural Capital of Food".


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

You can follow us on social media at:

2021 Dates:

Week 1: 14th - 18th  June

Week 2: 21st - 25th June

About the site:

The now deserted village of Welby formed one of the original group of five hamlets, which lay round the Anglo-Danish central township of Melton Mowbray `middle town’. This itself was centrally located within the area which became known as ‘The Five Boroughs' during the Danelaw period.

The earliest reference to Welby is within the Great Domesday Book c.1086 A.D., when it was referred to as 'Alebie’ and 'Alebi'. This name is of Scandinavian origin - the homestead or farm of Ali.

Within the close vicinity (i.e.: within 500 metres) there is evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Romano-British Activity.

Previous investigations on the site have uncovered pottery which has been identified of Saxo-Norman' type and stone walls.

It is not known whether this 'Saxo-Norman' pottery is from the pre or post 1066 period as no reports are available” (Saunders 2017).

A hollow-way can still be seen running West/East in the north of the field, which would have joined the original line of Welby Lane. There is another immediately to the north of the churchyard, which also joins Welby Lane to the east.

Other potential related sites include fishponds to the north-west at Fishpond Close (MLE 3344) and south-east toward the railway bridge close to the valley bottom (MLE3341), while to the west lies the site of a possible former watermill (MLE3348) with associated millpond in nearby former Osier Beds (MLE3351)” (Saunders 2017).

There is much potential interest in the site due to a large right angled ditch detected by Force Archaeology in 2017:


A Field walk in January 2017 by members of the Force Archaeology and Heritage Society (previously known as Operation Nightingale Heritage) noted a substantial bank running North/South some 100 metres in length. 20 metres from the North end of the bank was a gap of 5 – 10 metres which had the appearance of an entrance. At the Southern end the bank turned 90 degrees East for a further 100 metres before it disappeared into the adjoing Industrial Business Park. An external ditch ran parallel to this bank. At the corner the height differential was 1.5 metres. It was significant in that the corner was rounded, reminiscent of those seen in Roman Army forts” (Saunders 2017).

Resistance Survey 2019:

A Resistance survey of part of the site was undertaken in 2019 by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC. Images from the preliminary results can be seen below.

View the Desk-Based Assessment of the site by L. Saunders of Force Archaeology:

Deserted Medieval Village of Welby, Leicestershire.

Desk-Based Assessment

Prepared by L. Saunders. 2017. Project Code - WEL Report No. 001/2017

Click here

Picture: LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. North to top of picture.

Picture: Geophysical Resistance survey data overlain on LiDAR data of the earthworks of Welby Deserted Village. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. High resistance features displayed in black, low resistance in white. North to top of picture.

Picture: Geophysical Resistance survey data overlain on LiDAR data of the earthworks of Welby Deserted Village. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. High resistance features displayed in black, low resistance in white. North to top of picture.

Picture: Geophysical Resistance survey data overlain on LiDAR data of the earthworks of Welby Deserted Village. LiDAR Composite DTM - 1m data hillshade image created in GIS. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. High resistance features displayed in black, low resistance in white. North to top of picture.

The excavations at the training school:

This years excavations will focus on the bank and ditch which appears to define the edge of the settlement, at least for the surviving south western part.

This bank and ditch appears to define the corner of rectangular enclosure.

The excavations will seek to understand the nature of this bank and ditch, understand its relationship to the settlement, and discover, if possible, the date of its creation and use.

Is the bank and ditch part of an earlier enclosure that was occupied by the village, or an enclosure built around the settlement?

Please have a look at the Information page for more details to enable you to come along and join the training excavation and to get the most out of the experience.

The page contains information on getting to the site, ideas about where to stay, what to wear, what to bring, and more.


Payment options

You can book your place for any of the weeks of the field School via a number of ways:



By booking a place on the field school you are agreeing to abide by Mercian Archaeological Services CIC’s TERMS and CONDITIONS and by our CODE of CONDUCT.  

Click here to view full terms and conditions including our health and safety policy

*Please note accommodation is not provided*

Some information about available accommodation is provided on our Information page in order to help you in your searches. But this information should not be seen any form of recommendation or endorsement, and Mercian are not responsible for any accommodation booked by delegates.


Fieldschool booking form- choose your week, and your payment option below and click “Buy Now”


Places are limited so please book promptly to avoid disappointment.

Week 1: 14th - 18th  June, 2021.

Welby Dig 2021 Week1 DEP




Welby Dig 2021 Week 1 Balance




Welby Dig 2021 Week 1




Week 2: 21st - 25th  June, 2021.

Book your place by paying in FULL £250:


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


*Please note accommodation is not provided*

Welby Dig 2021 Week 2 DEP




Welby Dig 2021 Week 2 Balance




Welby Dig 2021 Week 2




Information about Melton Mowbray and the surrounding area.

For information about the surrounding area, things to do and places to stay please check out the following pages:

Visit England wesbite- Things to do in Leicestershire:

Visit Explore Discover Leicestershire Official visitor website for Leicestershire:

Visit Explore Discover Leicestershire Official visitor website for possible accommodation in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire:

Google Search of “accommodation melton mowbray”:

*Please note Mercian are not responsible for accommodation and do not recommend anywhere in particular to stay.*

Book your place by paying in FULL £250:


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


Mercian Archaeological Services CIC

Specialists in Community Archaeology, Public Involvement, Research & Training

Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire, Excavation, Research, Volunteering, Community Archaeology Derbyshire, Training, Social, Learning, Community Archaeology Leicestershire, Heritage, Involvement, Belonging, Knowledge sharing, Community Archaeology Lincolnshire, Topographic Survey, Talks and Presentations, Outreach, Archaeology Projects , Open Days, Schools, Finds Processing, Day Schools, Field Schools, Young People, Archaeology and History of Sherwood Forest, Pottery Research, Medieval, Roman, Prehistoric, Community Interest Company, Community Archaeology Nottinghamshire.

Community Archaeology in Nottinghamshire

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Community Archaeology East Midlands

© Mercian Archaeological Services CIC 2020. Registered Business No. 08347842. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you

Please note that Archaeology can be quite physically demanding, so please contact to discuss any limiting factors with regard to you undertaking fieldwork. There are aspects of the course such as finds processing that are less physically challenging. Please contact us if you have any issues.

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:

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