SharedPast is a small team of heritage specialists and volunteers who have got together to share their skills with you – community archaeology groups, heritage volunteers and charitable trusts.

The team is led by Stewart Ainsworth, landscape archaeologist with Channel Four’s Time Team for many years. It is our wish to work with, and support projects which use archaeology as a way of engaging communities of today with the landscapes of the past and the people who once lived in them – without digging.

We are particularly keen to engage with communities and groups who want to explore the landscape but may find it difficult to interpret or physically get to. If you are thinking of initiating a heritage project where this is a consideration we may be able to help. 

Epiacum Ramparts

Evidence of the past is all around us and in a variety of forms – we just have to learn how to look. Outdoors, the clues are provided by lumps and bumps in the ground, layouts of buildings, road patterns, field boundaries, and many other aspects of the landscape we see in our everyday lives. Other clues can be found using exciting new techniques such as lidar, where laser scans of the ground undertaken from the air help us identify previously unrecorded archaeological sites. 

If you want to discover evidence about the past we can help you with

  • Advice –  a bit of help to set up a project to investigate and understand places in the landscape which have meaning for you. Are there local archaeological sites your community would like to know more about? Do you think you have made a new discovery, or do you want to know how to find out more about how your local landscape, village or town has evolved?  
  • Training – through a series of instructional courses and masterclasses we can show you new skills – how to interpret earthworks, undertake surveys, use old maps and other historical evidence, and work with lidar.
  • Film-making – if you have an interesting landscape project why not make a film about it and let us help you produce it.

You can investigate the timeline of your local landscape by designing a project which uses a mixture of curiosity, observation, old maps, aerial photographs, lidar and online resources. Projects such as this can be hugely rewarding for groups and individuals, and can be designed to combine a mix of outdoor fieldwork and indoors research, and be inclusive to all regardless of age, background and mobility. 

Discovering an archaeological site yourself and understanding why it is there can be much more fun than digging it.

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