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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


Paul Clarkson

  • Certificate in Archaeology
  • Diploma in Archaeology
  • Advanced Diploma in Historic Environment

My interest in archaeology began as a volunteer on a local dig many years ago. Today I am studying for a Masters in Osteoarchaeology.

Once I decided to take my interest further, I looked for courses that were part time, and which included a choice of topics, including practical work. The courses at Madingley provided this, and much more. The work I did in those units, and the staff who supported us, opened my eyes, and changed me in the process.

I drew and studied prehistoric pottery, identified ancient cereals under microscopes, discussed Viking ships, reported on ancient bones, took part in professional excavations, cooked and slept in an Anglo-Saxon hall, compared displays in different museums, pored over maps and documents in the Bodleian, researched the ancient landscape of a small area of Britain until I felt it belonged to me, and found long lasting friendship with fellow students.

There are assessments of course, but the reading you do for them is stimulating. And as you gather in the Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma, you realise that they can lead to further exciting possibilities. In my case to an MSc in Osteoarchaeology.

Ian Taylor

  • Certificate of Higher Education(Archaeology), 1999-2001
  • Diploma of Higher Education (Archaeology), 2001-2003
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Building Conservation, 2003-2005
  • Advanced Diploma in Archaeology, 2004-2006
  • Certificate of Higher Education (Egyptology), 2005-2007

I was feeling I was vegetating and needed to apply myself to something new that was not based solely around architecture. As I am interested in history, the archaeology courses were an obvious choice.

The lectures were stimulating and covered the relevant subjects in suitable depth to impart the knowledge without learning becoming a chore or turgid. They were also delivered in a way to fire up enthusiasm in the student. The courses were not all classroom based but included field trips to archaeological sites as well as to a number of museums. The two training excavations that I undertook as part of the archaeology Certificate and Diploma courses allowed the practical application of what had been taught in the classroom. It is great talking about archaeology but nothing beats the feel of mud beneath the fingernails and finding an artefact that has not been seen for millennia.

I made some great friends and met some very interesting people during the course of my studies. I obtained the knowledge to successfully identify Roman-British pottery in the spoil of rabbit holes in my village, which lead to three appearances on Time Team, the obtaining of a HLF grant to organise and undertake a four week training excavation. This excavation identified as then unknown Roman-British settlement including the finding of a rare 2nd-3rd century AD tile kiln. Plus I learned to flint knap.

The written work undertaken helped me develop my analytical, observational and writing skills to a level that I successfully undertook a MA in Egyptian Archaeology at UCL and have been awarded a PhD in Archaeology by the University of Birmingham in 2017. In addition my knowledge of archaeology has helped in my career as a conservation architect being able to understand and discuss the requirements of archaeology in modern developments and in the works to historic buildings.

None of this would have been possible without the ground work laid by the courses run by the Institute of Continuing Education.

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