Previous course participants studying Maiden Castle, Swaledale, Yorkshire

Previous course participants studying Maiden Castle, Swaledale, Yorkshire © Mark Bowden
Previous course participants studying Maiden Castle, Swaledale, Yorkshire © Mark Bowden

Introduction to Landscape Archaeology, Monday 24 September – Wednesday 26 September 2018

Learn observational and interpretative skills of landscape archaeology by taking part in our three day course amidst the historic surroundings of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, and in the uplands of Swaledale, Yorkshire, where expert tutors will introduce you to the field practice of "reading the landscape".

Who should attend?

The course will be of interest to professional archaeologists involved in writing desk-based and field assessments and conservation management plans as well as independent archaeologists who want to hone their landscape skills.  It will also be of relevance to those working in allied disciplines – history, architectural history, heritage management, etc – who wish to develop their appreciation of landscape approaches in archaeology.

Why you should join

Analytical investigation of historic sites and landscapes has a vital role to play in archaeological interpretation and in conservation, evaluation and mitigation strategies. This 3 day course will introduce participants to the discipline of landscape archaeology and, through presentations, field visits and classroom work, demonstrate the approaches and processes – and the range of evidence – that landscape archaeologists use to develop an understanding of the Historic Environment.


By the end of the course participants will have been introduced to:

  • The history of landscape archaeology as a discipline
  • Principles of investigation, survey and cartography
  • The development of interpretation and understanding of archaeological earthworks and other historic landscape features
  • An understanding of archaeological maps and plans
  • Further sources of information and advice
A hachured plan of a hillfort
An example of a hachured plan, for Burledge Hillfort, North Somerset © Historic England

Course outline

Session 1: Introduction

This session will introduce the course, provide a brief history of the discipline of landscape archaeology and discuss the role of field investigation in developing an understanding of the historic landscape.

Session 2:  Field visit, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

This field visit will enable delegates to observe and discuss an extensive medieval and later landscape, considering how we might interpret various surviving features and their inter-relationships.

Session 3: Field visit to Yorkshire Dales

During a full day field visit to Swaledale we will examine sites and landscapes with prehistoric, early medieval and industrial elements, allowing us to discuss a broad range of issues.

Session 4: Archaeological processes and sources of evidence

This session will start with a discussion of issues arising from the field visits. We will then talk about surveying techniques, processes and the sources of evidence available to the landscape archaeologist, concluding with a case study discussion of a landscape on the Yorkshire Moors.

Session 5: Understanding and interpreting archaeological plans

 The final session will look at skills for reading archaeological maps and plans and wrap-up with a general discussion.

You can also download the lesson plan with timings below in PDF format.

Meet the tutors

Mark Bowden MCIfA, FSA

Historic England
Senior Investigator, Historic Places Investigation Team

Mark graduated in archaeology from Reading University in 1979. After a variety of contracts in excavation, post-excavation and museum work and taking part in research projects in northern England, Scotland and Turkey, Mark joined the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in 1986, becoming Head of the Royal Commission’s Newcastle Office (1992-7).  Work during this period included editing the Royal Commission’s handbook for archaeological survey and investigation, Unravelling the Landscape (1999), now a standard text.
In 1997 Mark became Head of the Swindon field section and continued in post through merger with English Heritage (1999); he is now a Senior Investigator in the Historic Places Investigation Team of Historic England. Recent publications have included The Stonehenge Landscape: analysing the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (2015 – with David Field, Sharon Soutar and Martyn Barber).
Mark’s outreach and training activities include a number of survey courses, for both professional and independent participants, and taking part in the preparation of a number of HE technical guidelines. Mark is Chair of the Landscape Survey Group.

Marcus Jecock, BA, FSA

Historic England
Senior Investigator, Historic Places Investigation Team

Marcus studied archaeology at Southampton University under Colin Renfrew, graduating in 1981. After several years on the digging circuit, he joined the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England (RCHME) in 1984 to work on archaeological records, before progressing in 1986 to become an Archaeological Investigator undertaking earthwork survey and landscape analysis, first with the RCHME and latterly, following merger, with English Heritage (now Historic England). You can read about the most recent survey he has worked on - the so-called ‘hillfort’ on Warton Crag in Lancashire. He has helped run a number of Historic England survey training courses, and authored or contributed to Historic England guidance documents, including those on River Fisheries and Coastal Fish Weirs and Roman and Medieval Sea and River Flood Defences in the Introductions to Heritage Assets series. He is currently Historic England's lead on coastal heritage.

An archaeologist surveying with the ruins of a castle in the background.
Mark Bowden surveying the landscape around Snodhill Castle, Herefordshire. © Historic England, James O Davies, image reference DP195855


The course, which runs for 3 days, is being held at Fountains Abbey and in the Yorkshire Dales. Classroom elements of the course will be taught at The Kings Head Hotel, Masham and also at Fountains Abbey, in the ‘Old Dairy Meeting Room’.

How to book

Download the booking form 

Telephone 07917 839 084 to reserve a place, then post your completed form to confirm your booking to:

R Garrett, Business Coordinator, 3/60 Historic England, The Engine House, Firefly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH.

Alternatively, you can email the completed booking form to [email protected]


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