Project Description

In light of a changing COVID-19 landscape, including the rapid spread of more contagious Delta and Omicron variants, and in accordance with the recommendation of national medical experts, IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 AND receive a booster shot, if eligible. If you intend to participate in an IFR program this summer, we strongly encourage you to schedule your vaccination appointment as soon as possible.

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices before beginning the enrollment process. Program logistics are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices. Each field school syllabus includes specific information about COVID-19 as related to travel regulations and recommendations, accommodations, local protocols, face mask policy and managing COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for the U.K.:
US Embassy in the UK


Since 2010, the Beneath Hay Bluff Project has been investigating the character of prehistoric, and specifically Neolithic activity in southwest Herefordshire, or the border between modern England and Wales. This region has been somewhat neglected by prehistoric archaeology, in part owing to a lack of antiquarian investigations, but it is increasingly clear that it is distinguished by a rich and under-exploited prehistoric record. In seeking to characterize Neolithic activity across a broader timescale and to address questions of monumentality, memory, place and material traditions, we have excavated at a number of sites, including the funerary round cairn at Olchon Court and the long mounds, buildings and causewayed enclosure of Dorstone Hill. The region is a rural one, with picturesque villages, castles, abbeys, rolling hills and lush river valleys: it is at once typically ‘English’ and bordering on rugged Welsh uplands.  The field school provides a unique learning experience by drawing on the resources of both the University of Manchester and Herefordshire Archaeology. Many of our supervisory staff are professionals from the world of commercial archaeology, who bring a wealth of experience and know-how. As well as undertaking four weeks in the field, practicing excavation, recording and survey, students spend a week in the very different urban environment of Manchester, taking part in post-excavation tasks in the University laboratory, and visiting sites representative of the contrasting heritage of the world’s first industrial city. Having identified a site of national importance at Dorstone Hill, we will now seek to place this monumental complex into a wider context by addressing a series of new sites, and seeking to engage our local community to a greater extent. While completing work at Dorstone Hill, we will be expanding our scope to investigate a number of other sites. These will include the major megalithic tomb of Arthur’s Stone and the 11th century AD Snodhill Castle (near Dorstone).

Download Syllabus

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 30 – August 5, 2022

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $3,160

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology, Prehistoric, Neolithic

  • Payment Deadline: April 15, 2022

  • Instructors: Prof. Julian Thomas, Prof. Keith Ray, Dr. Nick Overton, Tim Hoverd

  • Orientation:  May 21, 2022 at 9am PT/ 12 pm ET/ 5 pm BST
  • Academic Credit: 8 Semester Credit Units (equivalent to 12 Quarter Units)


The directors welcome emails and inquiries about the research elements of this project. More general information (tuition, health insurance, and payment schedule) can be found under the ‘Students’ tab above. Any further questions may be addressed to IFR staff. Additional details about research, course schedule, travel, accommodation, and safety can be found on the syllabus. Contacting the directors or the IFR office is encouraged and appreciated. It may help you determine if this field school is a good fit for you.

Prof. Julian Thomas
Prof. Julian Thomas
Prof. Thomas is a Professor of Archaeology and the Undergraduate Program Director at the Department of Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology & Egyptology in the University of Manchester (UK).
Prof. Keith Ray
Prof. Keith Ray
Prof. Ray is Honorary Professor in Archaeology in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University (UK).
Dr. Nick Overton
Dr. Nick Overton
Dr. Overton is a research associate at the University of Manchester (UK).
Tim Hoverd
Tim Hoverd
Tim Hoverd is Archaeological Projects Manager at Herefordshire County Council.


No student testimonials are available at this time.

Tuition Includes:

  • Cost of Instruction
  • Cost of Credit Units
  • Room & Board
  • All Local Transportation
  • Health & Evacuation Insurance

Student Fees

This program requires an online application — there is a $25 fee to submit an application. Once admitted, a payment of the nonrefundable deposit fee is required to secure a place in the program(s). The Tuition balance (total program cost minus the deposit fee) must be paid prior to the Tuition deadline as listed above under “Course Details.” A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the Tuition deadline.

Deposit: A nonrefundable $500 deposit fee is required to secure a seat in the program. This deposit is part of the total Tuition and NOT in addition to it.

Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy: If you paid the deposit fee but did not cancel your participation by the Tuition payment deadline, you are legally responsible for the full Tuition regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information. In the event that IFR must cancel a field school, all accepted students will be notified as soon as possible and will receive a refund of all tuition paid including the deposit fee. IFR offers students the opportunity to transfer to another field school, permitting that there are spots available and the program director approves the student to participate in their field school. Upon approval of the program director, IFR staff will make the arrangements to transfer the student’s application and payments.

Credit Card Processing Fee: A 3.5% processing fee is automatically incurred for all credit/debit card/online payments.

Academic Credit Opt Out: Students who wish to participate in an IFR field school without earning academic credit units may do so and receive the following discounts: $300 off a full program (4 or more weeks in length) or $200 off a short program (2-3 weeks in length).

Trip Cancellation Insurance: Please consider purchasing a travel interruption insurance policy that will cover your travel cost and the cost of the IFR program once you make a commitment to attend a field school.

The added risk of COVID-19  should be a “covered event” in your policy.
Please note that the cost of coverage varies, based on your age, the program duration and geographical location.
You may get help and advice from your insurance broker and we offer the links below to help you educate yourself on these insurance products.
Travel Insured International offers coverage for Trip Cancellation or Interruption for Any Reason (review coverage based on your state).
– Compare quotes from different companies offering Trip Cancelation insurance plans.


Our campsite is the cricket field in Dorstone village, which we have exclusive use of during the fieldwork period. There is a pavilion with showers and toilets, and another building used as a kitchen. During the fieldwork period we also have a large marquee for dining and social space, and at the bottom of the field, beside the stream, there is a space for a campfire. We will request students to each occupy a separate tent, and to pitch their tents at least two metres apart (for reasons of fire safety as well as health). Our usual cleaning and sanitation arrangements will be expanded to ensure the cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces. We have a full refuse disposal and recycling system which will dispose all potentially contaminated materials. Launderettes are found in Hereford and Hay-on-Wye, and washing can be collected and sent in for a service wash during the week. You can also hand-wash clothes at the campsite.

Dorstone is a beautiful, traditional English village, with a fine pub (the Pandy Inn) that dates back to medieval times. Six miles away, across the Welsh border, is the small town of Hay on Wye, known for its castle and its many bookshops. Hereford is about sixteen miles distant, and the cathedral there holds the famous Mappa Mundi and a medieval chained library.

During fieldwork, our food is prepared by a cook employed by the project. There is a hot meal each evening, a variety of breakfast options, and a choice of sandwiches delivered to the site at lunchtime. We are happy to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, food allergies, halal, kosher and other diets. One of the tasks of the day’s kitchen staff will be the rigorous cleaning of all food handling and preparation spaces.

During the fifth week of the five-week course, students will be accommodated in university halls of residence in Manchester. This final week will give you the opportunity to visit museums and places of interest in the city, alongside working on post-excavation tasks in the Archaeology laboratories.

Travel Info

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding the travel regulations related to COVID-19, IFR will assess the local conditions closer to the travel date (5-6 weeks prior to the program beginning) and will make Go/No Go decisions then. We urge you to participate in the mandatory orientation meeting when we will discuss the latest travel information and regulations. We also suggest you consider postponing the purchase of your airline ticket until after the program orientation.

We will be meeting all participating students at Manchester Airport, and conveying them from there directly to the field camp in Dorstone village by minibus, at a date and time to be decided closer to the field season. This will be roughly a three-hour drive. If you wish to make other arrangements (for instance, arriving early in the UK), we can arrange to meet you at Hereford railway station.

For up-to-date information regarding requirements and restrictions for travelers to the UK, please consult the following websites:

A summary of current (February 2022) travel requirements is included below:

  • complete a Passenger Locator Form. You may not submit the form until 48 hours before your arrival in the UK.
  • From February 11, fully-vaccinated travelers will not be required to take a COVID-19 test before they travel to England from abroad or after they arrive.
  • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to quarantine when you arrive in England.
  • You will not be able to travel to the United Kingdom from a red list country on the travel ban list unless you have residence rights in the UK.

At the time of writing, it is not known what the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will be by July 2022. The UK has a very advanced program of vaccination and booster shots, but we would like to warn potential participants that it may not be possible to proceed with fieldwork if the pandemic has become appreciably worse by the summer. This might occur, for instance, if a further new variant were to emerge in the new year.

The excavation site is very close to the camp site. While it could be walked in under half an hour, we will convey all personnel to site by minibus each day.

If you missed your connection or your flight is delayed, please call, text or email the field school director immediately. A local emergency mobile phone number will be provided to all enrolled students.

While the COVID-19 pandemic persists, any leisure travel during the program and entailing use of buses, trains, and/or airplanes must be approved by the program director(s) prior to booking and departure.


To enter the United Kingdom, all U.S. citizens who do not also hold UK citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart. Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your planned stay. U.S. and Canadian citizens can stay in the UK for up to 6 months, but check this frequently because regulations change, often with little notice.

Citizens of other countries are asked to check the embassy website page at their home country for specific visa requirements.

Student Safety

The IFR primary concern is with education. Traveling and conducting field research involve risk. Students interested in participating in IFR programs must weigh whether the potential risk is worth the value of education provided. While risk is inherent in everything we do, we do not take risk lightly. The IFR engages in intensive review of each field school location prior to approval. Once a program is accepted, the IFR reviews each program annually to make sure it complies with all our standards and policies, including student safety.

Students attending IFR international programs are covered by a comprehensive Health Insurance policy that includes physical illness or injury, mental or chronic conditions. No deductible and 100% of costs are covered up to $250,000. In addition, we provide Political and Natural Disaster Evacuation policy, which allow us to remove students from field school location if local conditions change. Our field school directors are scholars that know field school locations and cultures well and are plugged in into local communities and state institution structures.

Students attending IFR domestic programs (within the US) must have their own health insurance and provide proof upon enrollment. IFR field school directors are familiar with local authorities and if in need of evacuation, local emergency services and/or law enforcement will be notified and activated.

The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students may contact IFR personnel directly.

Call us at 877-839-4374 or email us at if you have questions about the safety of any particular program.