Category: CommunityTeam Insights
As May was Local and Community History Month 2020, we’ve been focusing on recent projects that radiated community spirit. As a finale to the month we asked our Community and Outreach Officer, Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons, to tell us more about some of the great work she does.
My job covers a lot of different elements of archaeology, from research to fieldwork to post-excavation and can include excavations, landscape surveys, training workshops and so much more! But they all have one thing in common: volunteers.
Community archaeology is a relatively new, but rapidly growing, area of commercial archaeology. At NAA we have been lucky enough to work with a large number of individuals and groups from across the north of England, and some further afield. We get volunteers from all over the UK, some who travel quite a distance to take part in our schemes. We have even had those travelling from the US to join in with the archaeology! It’s always lovely to see the familiar faces of those who have worked with before and hear how much they’ve learned and that their enthusiasm for archaeology has grown. Similarly, it’s wonderful to welcome new people who’ve never tried it before.
I became a community archaeologist because I believe archaeology and local history should be accessible to anyone who wants to be involved. Archaeology has many benefits which I feel should be enjoyed by anyone. The obvious benefit is physical, whether it’s excavation or geophysics that you’re doing, it’s a great way to get out of the house and get moving. But it’s not just physical benefits. Community archaeology events are also great for mental wellbeing. For a lot of people, just having a change of scenery and trying something new can have great effects on their mental health. Not to mention that you’ll meet new people and hopefully have fun while you do it. There is a special camaraderie that comes with being on an archaeological project, and enjoyment of the day for participants is one of my main objectives when planning projects. There have been many days onsite that would have been very wet and miserable if it were not for my hilarious colleagues and a great team of volunteers!