Roman Unguentarium vessel

"These two weeks (at PCA) have been immensely educational and fun, and we are both now considering taking Archaeology further, perhaps as A level but definitely as volunteers, thanks to the helpfulness and conversational friendliness of the staff."

PCA created this pop-up museum in the Baitul Aziz Islamic Cultural Centre, Dickens Square, Southwark, which formed part of an open day that was held during the excavations that were undertaken there. The finds were later displayed in a temporary exhibition held at the Museum of London.

Volunteering & Work Experience

Volunteering and Outreach

Crowds assemble to observe the dig and quiz the supervisor during an open day showcasing our excavations within the grounds of the British Museum

The commercial archaeological sector’s primary objective is to preserve endangered archaeological sites by record, which means that they must be meticulously excavated, documented, reported and archived. However that hard work would be for nothing if the findings can’t be accessed, enjoyed and understood by everyone, from academics to school children. Sharing the experience of excavating as well as the results of the process through a varied programme of volunteering, community outreach and lecturing is thus one of Pre-Construct Archaeology’s key objectives.
Activities involving volunteers and members of the public are only undertaken with client consent and are fully risk assessed.

Site tours and open days

Discovering that an archaeological investigation is taking place in the local area can be exciting, so at PCA we strive to feed our results back as quickly as possible. Information boards explaining our findings are displayed outside our sites and, when appropriate, viewing opportunities are created so that members of the public can watch the excavation progress at first hand. This can be as simple as the insertion of clear windows into the hording or, if circumstances permit, the construction of a purpose-built viewing gallery. Open days can also be arranged so that members of the public can observe archaeology in action whilst the digging team are on hand to answer questions.

Work experience at PCA

School-placement volunteers processing finds

Many professional archaeologists were inspired to enter the profession after volunteering on site, a tradition that PCA seeks to continue by offering placements, both on site and in the office, to an array of participants. There have been many success stories over the years since many of our volunteers have gone on to study archaeology at university or to work for us as professional archaeologists. Several continue in their employment to this day. Indeed, one of PCA’s most trusted Senior Supervisors began his career at the company as an unpaid volunteer.
PCA has long-established links with Newcastle University and every Easter a handful of students spend their vacation time working with us, particularly with our finds specialists and our graphics team. Past projects have included recording cattle vertebrae, Roman wall plaster and Saxon pottery as well as archiving and rectifying building recording photographs. PCA have also provided students from a range of institutions with unique opportunities to undertaken valuable research that has contributed to their degrees. For example, the small finds assemblages from PCA’s excavations at Dickens Square were catalogued as part of a Newcastle University undergraduate project, whilst postgraduate students from Reading and Durham Universities respectively based their dissertations on the isotopic analysis of Roman period human remains from Trinity Street (dietary analysis) and Lant Street (mobility and dietary analysis)

Secondary school-age work experience students generally spend a week or two with us in July or September with some of the keener ones giving up a portion of their summer holidays to volunteer. Most have no direct experience of archaeology so upon arrival they are given a short introductory lecture that aims to explain what we do. After that, all the tasks that these young people are given represent real archaeological work; a wide range of “hands-on” experiences are offered, which includes getting paperwork ready for archive, helping our finds specialists record data, processing finds and samples and on occasion working in our drawing office or photography department. When possible, a visit to an archaeological site is also arranged, which is usually a highlight.


For further information about volunteering or to discuss the possibilities of arranging a talk by one of our archaeologists please contact PCA’s outreach coordinator, Becky Haslam (