Community Engagement and Audience Development

Community Engagement

York Archaeological Trust offers a wide range of services for community groups who want to research the historic landscape around them. Our Community Archaeologist can visit you to discuss your project and can offer talks to your group or run taster workshops in archaeology for you. He can also help you to apply for funding to carry out your own archaeological research.

Community If you have already obtained funding York Archaeological Trust can help you. Backed by a team of experienced archaeologists our Community Archaeologist can offer geophysics, field walking, assessing aerial photographs, walk over surveys, test pit surveys, excavation, finds assessment and much more.

Study of the past has become an increasingly popular and diverse activity enjoyed by people of all ages. All places have a history and it is the way that we explore our past that brings it to life. Nationally renowned as one of the leading proponents of Community Archaeology, York Archaeological Trust helps many communities study their past in many interesting and exciting ways – by interpreting landscapes, recording old buildings, finding lost settlements, identifying battlefield sites, recording stories and oral histories, re-enactment, and finding archaeological remains!

You can read about our latest community projects here.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Jackson on 01904 615504 or email

Image Gallery highlighting past Community Engagement Work

  • Working with a group of people with learning difficulties in York, looking at the bridges in the city.
  •  The Community Archaeologist helped to support the Community Team that worked alongside the professionals on the Hungate excavations in York.
  • The Community Team in action at Hessay where they located the route of a Roman road heading out of York. The Community Team draw on experience from training they have had under the Greater York Community Archaeology Project and at the Hungate excavations.
  • Test pits carried out by the Community Team at Blandsby Park near Pickering.
  • The Community Archaeologist at York Archaeological Trust provides specialist support to many local groups that have obtained HLF funds to carry out projects. Here the North Duffield group carry out excavation on a monumental Iron Age roundhouse.
  • One of the principles of Community Archaeology at York Archaeological Trust is that there are ways for everyone to get involved. With the right support Nun Monkton primary school were able to carry out a successful excavation in the village.
  • Using the community geophysics kit to help a community group look for pot ash working on the North York Moors.
  • The Greater York Community Archaeology Project allowed the Community Archaeologist to contact over 40 different community groups. Here he supports the group from Poppleton to carry out geophysical survey.
  • A grave yard survey workshop carried out as part of the Greater York Community Archaeology Project. York Archaeological Trust ran this project supported by the HLF from 2005 to 2010. The project encouraged local community groups to use archaeological methods to learn more about the historic environment around them.
  • A workshop team ready to look at the Royal Observer Corps building on the Knavesmire in York. The workshops were part of the Greater York Community Archaeology Project (2005 – 2010).
  • Using the Greater York Community Archaeology Project to carry out a landscape survey in Strensall, just outside York.
  • Supporting South Ainsty Archaeological Society to carry out landscape survey, geophysical survey and test pitting at a deserted medieval site at Hornington.
  • Leading an adult education course for people with learning difficulties from Selby, the Tuesday Time Team visiting Helmsley Castle. We worked in partnership with the Workers Education Association to deliver this course.
  • Supporting a community from Stamford Bridge, looking for a Roman road in the historic landscape around their town. This project was also supported by the LEADER programme through East Yorkshire County Council.
  • Talking to primary school children at North Duffield about the test pit survey that they carried out in the school playing fields.
  • Working with schools is a core activity for York Archaeological Trust and our Community Archaeologist has plenty of experience in making archaeology and the past come alive for school groups. This group are visiting the Cawood excavations.
  • Here members of the South Ainsty Archaeology Society are supported in searching for the elusive Templar preceptor near the village of Copmanthorpe.
  • Supporting the Friends of Skipwith Common to carry out a small scale excavation on dumping in sand extraction pits on Skipwith Common.
  • Support for the excavations at Yearsley Mill has shown that exciting work can be achieved by community groups. Here the site of a medieval mill is under excavation.
  • The York Archaeological Trust Community Archaeologist has been able to assist community research, in this case helping the group at Kirkby in Cleveland to look for an Anglo Saxon church in the graveyard of the present church.
  • Young people helping with test pits excavated at the Bishop’s Palace in Cawood. YAT made this possible through our Greater York Community Archaeology Project (2005 – 2010).
  • The Community archaeologist has worked with some groups over a long period of time. The history club at York People First (a group of people with learning difficulties) have carried out a number of projects combining archaeology and theatre. Here they are immersing themselves in all things Tudor to better understand Shakespeare.
  • In partnership with the Victoria County History the Community Archaeologist and Historian from York Archaeological Trust have carried out building recording on parts of the precinct at Howden Minster. The people who helped had come together as part of an adult learning course run by the Community Archaeologist in Goole.

Audience Development

The JORVIK Group audience development team support community archaeology projects and also work within the community to help people get involved in our new exhibitions and events.  Recently we have worked with school children from Selby to create a new play within Selby Abbey for our Medieval Festival.  We also worked with a group of adults from Kingfisher Place in Selby to create an artwork to celebrate this event.
For the 2015 JORVIK Festival we have worked with Converge, York St John University’s arts education partnership with local mental health service providers.  Together with over 50 members of Converge we have created a new soundscape that explores the idea of a Viking journey. The Vikings’ Brave New World was created by musicians, singers and poets from the community.
Working with Strensall Library and with Robert Wilkinson and Lord Deramore schools we’ve produced a brand new Viking saga and accompanying artwork for the 2015 Viking Festival.  The exciting results will be on display at the Craft & Play the Viking Way! marquee in St Sampsons’ Square.
For more information about how you could get involved please contact Jennifer Jackson on 01904 615504.

Image Gallery highlighting past Audience Development Work

  • The Bloodaxe Book challenge, in conjunction with York libraries, with over 400 participants in 2015.
  • Creating an exhibition to celebrate the allotments project, Plotting the Past.
  • Reimagining sagas.  A new saga created by York pupils for the 2015 Viking Festival.