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Volunteers digging Volunteers cleaning a trench using trowels during the excavation of a stack stand. Copyright Karen Griffiths YDNPA.

Community archaeology

The YDNPA’s Community Heritage Officer undertakes a variety of community archaeology projects, providing opportunities for volunteers to get involved in a wide range of different archaeological activities. For example, this includes undertaking measured earthwork surveys, photogrammetry of heritage structures, archaeological excavations and test pitting. We also organise training events to give people the chance to learn the key skills needed to participate in archaeology and heritage projects. It is the role of our Community Heritage Officer to develop and support community archaeology and heritage projects in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We actively seek funding to lead and undertake our own community archaeology projects as well as providing support and advice to established community archaeology and heritage groups with their own projects. The YDNPA also works with external partners in delivering archaeology and heritage projects for major funded schemes, such as the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership hosted by the Friends of the Lake District and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

In recent years the YDNPA has undertaken a number of different projects. This has included ‘We Dig Community’, a test pitting project which in 2017 investigated the development of Bainbridge village. It involved the excavation of thirty 1m x 1m test pits with local volunteers and schoolchildren recovering over 12,000 finds, ranging in date from Prehistory to the Second World War.   In 2018 we delivered the community archaeology aspects of the Wensleydale Dairy Days project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage fund and YDNPA. Dairy Days has investigated the memories, histories and heritage of dairying in the area. This included earthwork survey training days, volunteer earthwork surveys at various sites and an excavation of a stack stand (a small enclosed platform used as a stance for a haystack). The project also looked at built heritage, with a 3D photogrammetry training day as well as building surveys of a farmhouse dairy and combination barn in Upper Wensleydale.

If you want to learn more about our community archaeology projects, check out our dedicated community archaeology blog. Why not follow us on social media, this is the best place to find out information about forthcoming historic environment events and opportunities to get involved. Search ‘Yorkshire Dales Archaeology’ on Facebook and @dalesarch on Twitter. For more information about volunteering for the YDNPA’s community archaeology and historic environment  activities, as well as how to join our mailing list, see our volunteering page.