Project Description

IFR policy requires that prior to traveling, all field school students must have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series AND received the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC, if eligible.

All IFR field school applicants should familiarize themselves with IFR COVID-19 Practices BEFORE enrolling in a program. These practices are subject to change as health and risk management experts provide new recommendations and best practices.

You may want to refer to the following websites to stay informed of COVID-19 case numbers and regulations/policies for the UK:
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 27 – July 27, 2023

  • Enrollment Status: Closed

  • Total Cost: $3,260

  • Course Type: Field Archaeology, Prehistoric, Neolithic

  • Payment Deadline: April 15, 2022

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

  • Orientation: June 3, 2023 at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET / 6 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).


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

Application Fee: There is a $25 fee to submit an online application.

Deposit Payment:

  • Once you have been accepted to a program, you must place a nonrefundable $500 deposit fee to hold your seat in the program until the tuition payment deadline. The tuition payment deadline can be found in the top right of each field school’s web page under “Course Details”.
  • The $500 deposit fee is included as part of your total tuition fee and NOT in addition to it.

Tuition Fee 

  • The tuition balance is the total program tuition fee minus the $500 deposit fee.
  •  The full tuition fee must be paid by the tuition payment deadline in order to secure your seat in the program.
  • If you do not pay the full tuition fee by the deadline, your place in the program is no longer secure, and if you are unable to participate in the program for any reason, our Late Withdrawal policy below will apply.

Late Fee: A $100 late fee will be added to all accounts not paid in full by the tuition payment deadline.

Withdrawal Policy: If you place a deposit but decide to withdraw, you must notify IFR staff in writing before the tuition payment deadline. In the event of withdrawal, the $500 nonrefundable deposit fee remains nonrefundable and will not be refunded.

Late Withdrawal: 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 fee regardless of attendance at any IFR program. Please carefully read our Withdrawal & Cancellation Policy for further information.

Cancellation Policy: 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.
– 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, roughly a three-hour drive. You should time your flight to arrive before 2:00 pm local time on 27th June. If you wish to make other arrangements (for instance, arriving early in the UK), we can arrange to meet you at Hereford railway station. In the very unlikely eventuality that you should be held at the airport for health reasons, you should contact us directly on a cell phone number that will be provided.

The threat of Covid-19 has receded very considerably in the UK. 93.6% of the population have now received at least one shot of vaccine, and there are now no coronavirus restrictions in the country. However, should any project participant develop coronavirus symptoms they would be quarantined, and the entire project would be tested. You can find details here:


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.