Roman Devon Field School

This fifth season of excavation at Ipplepen in Devon, run by the University of Exeter, will return to the Roman road and associated late and post-Roman cemetery revealed in 2011 and 2014. This part of the site has twice been featured on the BBC ‘Digging for Britain’ programme (series 2, 2011; Series 4, 2015). This cemetery forms part of the largest Romano-British settlement in Devon outside of Exeter. Geophysical survey and a significant number of Roman coin finds have highlighted the importance of this extensive site and its potential to explore the relationship between Roman Britain and its native population. Previous field schools have revealed an Iron Age roundhouse and further Romano-British features, along with evidence for Neolithic activity.

The dig is supported by the University of Exeter, the Portable Antiquities Scheme, the British Museum and Devon County Council.

This year’s field school will run in 06th-31st July 2015; the cost per week is £200 (excluding accommodation and food). Participants are invited to take part for a minimum of 1 week. The working week will be 9am-5pm, Sunday to Friday. The first week will commence on Monday 6th July and end on Sunday 12th, with Saturday 11th as a day off. Past fieldwork experience is not essential, but participants should be at least 18 years old. Accommodation is not included, but reduced rates at a local campsite have been arranged. Places are limited, so early booking is recommended.

Participants will receive a full programme of training in excavation and archaeological recording. This will include: planning and section drawing; taking levels; soil sampling; photography; and the completion of written/digital site records. In addition, there will be tuition on: finds processing; 3D recording; surveying; geophysical survey; pottery analysis; environmental sample processing; community outreach; and an introduction to animal bones.

All participants will receive a certificate of attendance and an evaluation of performance and skills acquisition. 

Due to its commitment to involving the local community in the Ipplepen project, the Archaeology Department is pleased to announce that 20 free places will be available for Devon residents. 5 places will be available for each week of the excavation that runs from 6th to the 31st of July. Particpants must be over 18 or 16+ if accompained by a parent/guardian. Applications are welcome from 23rd February (no sooner). Please email with preference of dates (week 1, 2, 3 or 4). Places will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. 


Frequently asked questions


The price for taking part in the fieldschool is £200 per week. The deposit is £100 to secure your place, this is non-refundable. The balance is due in full 28 days before the start of your dig.

Working week

The working week is 9am-5pm, Sunday- Friday. Saturdays are the free day.


The minimum age to take part is 18.


There will be no refund for poor weather. There is a site tent to provide shelter. You will be working outdoors for eight hours a day, in all weathers. Most excavation work is physical to some degree and will require some measure of fitness.


Accommodation is not included. There are many local campsites and hotels. Please see the Visit South Devon website for some suggestions. The closest campsite is Dornafield.


University Public Liability insurance covers accidents to outside participants due to negligence on part of university. We advise that you take out your own insurance. No valuables should be taken to the dig. If you have to leave the project early due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, we will not be able to refund your fee. You may be able to take out an insurance policy to cover such an eventuality.

Previous fieldwork experience

Previous fieldwork experience is not needed. The excavation is geared towards providing training in basic field archaeology techniques to those who are new to digging. However, if you have dug before you will be able to build on any previous experience.

How to apply

Please contact the Archaeology office, email, 01392 724350.