During excavations on the Sheffield Castle site in 2018, Wessex Archaeology implemented findings from its Volunteer Strategy to create meaningful opportunities for volunteers to participate in the archaeological works being undertaken. This site provided the ideal opportunity to support volunteers into two key areas; Fieldwork and Post-Excavation processing.
Free volunteering passes were made available to the public using Eventbrite and promoted through our social media channels. The Eventbrite pages attracted 2833 views, with passes selling out within 4 days.
Excavations at Sheffield Castle took place for nine weeks, and volunteers were on site for seven. During this period, five volunteers were supported on site per day and five worked in the office with the Post-Excavation Team each day.
Each volunteer received a site or office induction (as appropriate) on arrival. The inductions included project context, safety and welfare and an outline of safeguarding good practice. Volunteers were coupled with a Wessex Archaeology staff member, who was on hand to answer their questions and guide them through their work. Volunteers were given regular breaks throughout the day. Wessex Archaeology also supported and trained four university placement students, who each volunteered full time for 7 weeks. They were paired with a Wessex Archaeology staff member and mentored throughout the excavations.
Volunteers contributed over 2000 hours of their time to the Sheffield Castle project. Those who participated in volunteering gained insight into urban archaeology and experienced the thrill of working on a live dig site and overall were essential to the success of this community dig.