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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Community Digs

Owen streetThere is a whole world of history buried beneath our feet and the University of Salford is giving you the chance to discover it for yourself.

There are a number of archaeological excavations taking place across Greater Manchester this year and we are looking for an army of history hungry volunteers to help us dig up the past.  As well as getting down and dirty in the ground you can also learn about other archaeological techniques  such  as  building  surveying  and historical research – so there’s something for everyone.

Meet new people, learn new techniques and make new discoveries – volunteer on one of our archaeological digs. You can give as much or as little time as you are able and you don’t need to know anything about archaeology to join in – we just need your enthusiasm and interest!

What happens on a dig?


This involves the removal of the modern top soils often by hand. This will involve physical labour and healthy outdoor activity. It will then involve systematic in-depth excavation with trowels and small tools.

The archaeology revealed by the excavation will range from things like brick and stone walls and floors to archaeological features such as ditches and pits.

During excavations pieces of material culture (broken pottery and other everyday materials) will be discovered.

Volunteers will be taught all the techniques required to carry out these operations, how to deal with and treat any artefacts and how to interpret what is discovered.

Geophysical surveys

These are non-intrusive survey methods such as earth resistance and magnetometry and can be seen in operation on the popular 'Time Team' TV programme. Volunteers will be taught the reasons for using such surveys, how they work and how to complete such surveys.

Other archaeological techniques

We will also have the opportunity to learn other techniques including: recording, finds processing, graveyard surveys and buildings archaeology.

Who can join in?

Absolutely anyone! Individuals, community groups, local societies and local schools are welcome. We want people from all walks of life and experience.

How do I get involved?

Contact us for further information about how to volunteer - please call 0161 295 3821

To be put on a mailing list to be informed about when we have a dig coming up in your area - email us now.

If you are from a school and want your class to be involved in a dig, please contact Sarah Cattell or Vicky Nash.