Volunteer with York Archaeological Trust


Have you got a passion for archaeology? Would you love to support the Trust’s archaeological work? 

York Archaeological Trust understands the key role volunteers play within organisations and offers rewarding ways to get involved with both our archaeological activities and visitor attractions. 

We currently have over ninety volunteers who donate some of their spare time to help the Trust, across various departments. 

Our present volunteers represent a wide range of ages and experience, but all share an interest of archaeology/heritage and a wish to help us preserve the past for the future. Please note we cannot accept volunteers under 18 years of age. Please see our Placements page for further details about opportunities for those under 18.

We welcome new volunteers as new roles or spaces in the volunteer team become available.


Case Studies


Volunteer Roles


We have a varied range of roles available at the Trust. In our archaeological departments most of these involve assisting with post-excavation tasks such as finds processing.  For many of the roles you do not need previous archaeological experience, simply a desire to share existing skills, learn new ones and support the archaeological work of the Trust.   

Our most regular archaeological roles are currently hosted in our Finds Department. Other opportunities may occasionally be offered and will be listed below if available.  Any roles listed below will also indicate whether they are open or closed for applications. 

Please note that at the moment we regret we are unable to provide volunteer roles on our live excavations.

We also host a range of roles in our attractions. Please take a look at this link to find out more


Volunteer Roles within the Collections Team


From time to time we have volunteer vacancies within the collections and archives team. The tasks will vary depending on the work at hand, the skills the potential volunteer may have and the time they have to offer. Volunteers receive training and are mentored by members of the team. Our present volunteer team represent a wide range of ages and experience. Examples of our roles include:


Finds Washer

Bulk finds (pottery, animal bone, ceramic building materials) from an excavation require the removal of soil by washing so that the work of identifying, studying and conserving objects can begin.

This task requires a certain amount of manual dexterity to ensure the safe handling of the finds and accuracy to ensure that the correct site information is retained with the relevant objects.

Closed for application


Pottery Marker

Due to the long term survival qualities of pottery many excavations produce a significant number of pottery sherds. These sherds can provide a wealth of information regarding the date and use of a site, and it is essential that their provenance can be easily identified.

This task requires significant manual dexterity and the ability to write small, neat numbers accurately.

Closed for application


Documentation Assistant

Accurate documentation of excavated finds is vital work. Tasks carried out by a Documentation Assistant include entering accurate information by hand and onto a computerised database.

Volunteers may be based at the finds processing areas or at our store.

Closed for application

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General Collections & Archive Volunteer

This volunteer position provides the chance to explore different areas of work undertaken by the Collections and Archives Department.

The tasks are changeable depending on the nature of current projects and may include washing, marking, documentation and exhibition related work.

Open for application - Click here to download the Role Description

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Volunteer at one of our Visitor Attractions

We have a varied range of roles available at our attractions. Most involve offering additional visitor facing services such as running handling collections, offering guiding services or helping us to offer family activities and information stands at events such as the annual JORVIK Viking Festival.

For more information click here →

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What do I do if I Would Like to Apply to Volunteer?


Wait for a volunteer role to be listed and advertised as open for applications. Then click here to apply to volunteer with us. This link will take you to the online system we use for applications.  

You will be given a chance to read our Privacy Notice before applying to volunteer/undertake a placement with us.  You can also click here to read this

If you would like a paper copy of the application form and Privacy Notice posted to you, need help with the form or you have any questions about volunteering please do not hesitate to contact us on volunteer@yorkat.co.uk

Please note, we may ask anyone applying to volunteer with us to be available for some pre-role training. These days will always be listed in the role descriptions, some roles simply offer ‘on-the-role’ training.  Our training offers a useful induction for all our new volunteers ensuring you have the information you need to start your volunteering.

Training days are run at one of our city centre offices/attractions in York. If you would like to volunteer with us but cannot make the training day please speak to us.


 What Happens if I Apply to Volunteer?


Once we have received your application, we will be in touch to let you know if we can take your application forward. We are usually able to respond to most applications in around 10 working days . 

We will arrange to meet with anyone we may be able to offer a role to. At this meeting we will ask some questions to help us see what you are interested in and what roles we may be able to match you to. It is, of course, also an opportunity for you to find out more about us and our volunteer roles.  If you have any concerns about the meeting or need any support for the meeting please do not hesitate to let us know. 

Following this meeting we will let you know whether we can offer a place. If you would like to take up this offer then we will seek references for you and invite you to any training days. Please note that any offer of a place will just be pending the return of your references and the provision of the documents listed in ‘What Other Requirements Are There To Volunteer’. 


What other Requirements Are There To Volunteer?


We  have to ask anyone undertaking a volunteer or placement role to provide identification to prove their right to work in the UK. This is a legal, set requirement. A passport is  the most common form of identification provided. However, we fully appreciate not everyone will have a valid UK passport and we don’t want the provision of identification to be a point of concern. If you don’t have a passport please do contact us to discuss the other options available. 

For volunteers who do not hold UK Citizenship you may also need to provide a valid visa (depending on the country you hold Citizenship with). Please do speak to us if you have any questions or concerns about this. 


Can I Apply to Volunteer When You Are Not Open For Applications


We regret that we are not able to accept applications for roles marked as ‘closed for applications’. However, please do not hesitate to contact us on volunteer@yorkat.co.uk with any questions and we will respond to you as soon as possible

Apply Here

You will be given a chance to read our Privacy Notice before applying to volunteer/undertake a placement with us.  You can also click here to read this

If you would like a paper copy of this sent to you please do not hesitate to contact us.


For More Information


Contact the Volunteer Co-ordinator today for an informal chat about how you would like to get involved.


✉ volunteer@yorkat.co.uk.

☎ +44(0)1904 543419

Normal office hours: Mon-Wed, 09:00 - 17:00