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YEAR Centre

Taking notes by a campfire

Looking at a striking platform on a flint

Drawing a piece of flint

Taking a photo of a fire

Ray Mears using a bow and arrow

A pot over an open fire

Crafted materials


YEAR (York Experimental Archaeological Research) Centre is an outdoor experimental archaeology workspace located on campus. Nestled in amongst a grove of protected trees adjacent to the lake, this is an ideal space for conducting experiments, teaching and running workshops relating to all aspects of material culture.

At what feels and looks very much like an ancient campsite, students can experience first-hand what it would have been like to craft objects in the past using traditional techniques; for example, firing a pot, hafting an arrowhead, weaving baskets out of reeds. 

As well as the fun of making stuff fireside, undergraduate and postgraduate students are taught how to design and implement experiments, and how to use a range of scientific methods to document them.

Conveniently, the experimental data produced can be easily transported to our new PalaeoHub Microwear and Material Culture Laboratories for further processing/analyses, including microwear and residue analysis, using state-of-the-art microscopic equipment. Next door to PalaeoHub are the BioArCh laboratories where researchers can carry out biomolecular techniques, such as lipid analysis, on foodcrusts from pottery.

We now have a large community of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows using the centre, including projects integrating bioarchaeological and experimental archaeological methods. The YEAR Centre has institutional membership with EXARC - the ICOM Affiliated Organisation representing archaeological open-air museums, experimental archaeology, ancient technology and interpretation.

If you are interested in studying experimental archaeology, at any level, please feel free to contact us to discuss possible options.


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Contact details

Dr Aimée Little

Dr Andy Needham

Research Assistant:
Andy Langley

For any queries, please email:

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