14th February 2018:

Oxford Archaeology has a long tradition of hosting university students undertaking a placement year in industry as part of their degree course. In addition to fieldwork, we aim to give students experience of the full range of tasks involved in professional archaeology including opportunities in finds and environmental work, post-excavation and outreach projects.

This academic year, OA East is hosting a placement student studying Archaeology at Bournemouth University. She was based at our prehistoric site in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, at the end of 2017 and helped to curate an exhibition of the findings for an open evening at Melbourn Village College earlier this month. Here she shares her experiences of the event.

The open evening ‘Discover Melbourn’s Prehistory’ was a successful night with people of all ages coming through our doors at Melbourn Village College to learn more about their local archaeology and the new discoveries we had made in the five months we spent digging just outside the village. Visitors were able to peruse photos, finds and even our reconstructed roundhouse at their leisure but many jumped at the opportunity to ask the archaeologists more!


Beaker burial on display at Melbourn Village College.


As a student from Bournemouth University on a year’s placement, I was fortunate enough to not only work on the Melbourn excavation for most of its duration but also to have an extended secondment to outreach, where I worked alongside the Community Archaeology Manager in a variety of projects. Thus, when I was asked to put together the community open evening I jumped at the chance. It was a great experience to create a vision of the event and to execute it. Everything from the layout, display boards and even the finds on display were my decisions based on both experience gained during this placement and from visiting a variety of open evenings and museums. I enjoyed chatting to people about the site I was able to get to know in detail and watching how the archaeology came to life as they interacted with our reconstructed roundhouse, the identification activities and even getting up close to the Melbourn skeleton! For me, it was a night to remember and I hope to be able to take these skills further in the future.

We are grateful to Hopkins Homes for their support in staging this event and for allowing the archaeological stories of this new development area to be shared with the community.

Photographs: courtesy of Clive Porter.