Archaeologist's blog

There are 20 archaeologists working for the National Trust across England, Wales and Northern Ireland caring for our monuments, houses, collections, gardens and landscapes.  Learn more about their discoveries first-hand. 

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This blog is written by National Trust archaeologists, Archaeology and heritage specialists National Trust archaeologists Archaeology and heritage specialists
Winter sunrise at Coldrum Neolithic Long Barrow, Kent

Behind the scenes of excavations, surveys and building projects, getting up close to artefacts and collections research, and sharing archaeological and historical perspectives. Follow the National Trust Archaeologist’s blog to hear the latest news, and stories from our experts, volunteers and partners.

Latest posts

30 Sep 2021

Exploring Smallhythe: Romans along the River Rother


Published: 30 September 2021

Over 12 days in August 2021, a team of archaeologists dug seven trenches in and around Smallhythe Place in Kent, revisiting a site once investigated by the Time Team. Perhaps best known today as the former home of Victorian actress Ellen Terry and her daughter Edy Craig, during the medieval period, Smallhythe was a location for royal shipbuilding and, as we found this summer, it was also a hive...

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8 Sep 2021

Faces from the past


Published: 8 September 2021

As archaeologists, we spend our time looking at evidence about what life was like in the past. This can be artefacts such as animal bones or pottery, personal belongings like jewellery, or the remains of buildings. Other information comes from the layers we excavate and the pollen, snails and charcoal we find within them. From these we can deduce what the environment was like and what plants ...

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18 Aug 2021

Bodiam Castle and The Canterbury Tales


Published: 18 August 2021

Bodiam Castle is one of the most-discussed and debated castles in Europe. It has been seen as many different things: a defence against the French, an old soldier’s dream house, a status symbol, and most recently as a landscape of work. The castle is all these things and more. Professor Matthew Johnson led a recent survey project, a collaboration between Northwestern University and the ...

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5 Aug 2021

A badge from the moat: pilgrimage from Bermondsey to Bodiam


Published: 5 August 2021

Colin Torode is an expert in medieval pilgrim badges with a particular interest in researching and demonstrating the original manufacturing methods of these and other metal artefacts. In this blog he explores the fascinating story of a pilgrim badge from the collection at Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, which was found during excavations in the moat in 1970.

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20 Jul 2021

Wessex hillforts and habitats: where archaeology meets nature


Published: 20 July 2021

The National Trust cares for nearly 300 hillforts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In south west England, a special partnership with Historic England is helping everyone connect with the archaeology, beauty and nature of 13 of our extraordinary Wessex hillforts. In this blog, Project Manager Marie McLeish tells us more about how this partnership is enabling both organisations to ...

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14 Jul 2021

How we're celebrating the Festival of Archaeology 2021


Published: 14 July 2021

The National Trust is taking part in the Festival of Archaeology 2021; the UK’s biggest annual celebration of archaeology. In this blog, some of the archaeology team talk about the events they are organising to celebrate the festival.

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28 Jun 2021

Lidar in lockdown: rediscovering a lost landscape at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire


Published: 28 June 2021

It was a Roman road that first led to Calke Abbey, or more precisely, three possible Roman roads. Volunteers Paula Whirrity and Adrian Farnsworth have been exploring the lost Roman routes of Derbyshire and Staffordshire together for 20 years, and these three possible roads just happened to converge on the Calke estate. Their investigations to find out more about the area led to discoveries of a...

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14 Jun 2021

Runnymede Explored: geophysics at Ankerwycke


Published: 14 June 2021

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for the Runnymede Explored project, the National Trust is transforming the way people experience the Runnymede site in Surrey. Visitors will be able to enjoy improved access to the historic site and surrounding areas, with newly-created interpretation and engagement with the local community at Runnymede and Ankerwycke. A key aspect to ...

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1 Jun 2021

Stories from the stones: researching graffiti at Nymans


Published: 1 June 2021

The volunteer graffiti team at Nymans in West Sussex was formed in October 2019 to undertake further research on the historic inscriptions found in the woodlands on the estate. In this blog, team member Steve Greenfield discusses the latest stage of the project, which involves identifying and learning more about those who have left their mark on the rocks.

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20 May 2021

Under the floorboards: a message in a bottle at Knole in Kent


Published: 20 May 2021

The £20 million 'Inspired by Knole' project included a five-day training course each year from 2014 to 2018 (‘Archaeology Unwrapped’), led by archaeologist Nathalie Cohen. This included training from specialists in graffiti recording and interpretation, landscape archaeology, geophysics, digital techniques, standing building recording, finds identification and cataloguing, plus an introduction ...

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