In response to COVID-19, we’ve put loads of Safe Dig policies in place, which are carefully designed to keep you, our staff, and the local communities we work with safe and healthy. We have also updated our bookings and cancellation policy.

We’re all really looking forward to getting outdoors, doing some fantastic archaeology, and making loads of exciting discoveries together in 2021 – safely. Our digs are categorised as an ‘educational, community or team activity which are organised in such a way as to minimise the risk of anyone contracting or spreading COVID-19’ by the UK government, and have been certified ‘Good To Go’ by Visit England and Partners.

Last year, we developed a set of ‘Safe Dig’ rules in accordance with industry best practice and guidance around working both indoors and outdoors on archaeological sites, which enabled us to continue doing archaeology, and running community events, safely.

Given that rules might change while a dig is already underway, and that 60-75% of people still feel cautious and express concerns around distancing and crowd numbers, we have decided to maintain many of our mitigation measures for safe digging and Finds Room work.

Main messages

  • Adults and children in years 7 and above will need to take a lateral flow test before arriving on site
  • Adults and children in years 7 and above will need to bring a facemask and gloves, and be prepared to wear them if asked
  • We will maintain social distancing wherever possible
  • We will provide pre-sanitised personal ‘Dig Kits‘ for individual use
  • You will need to make sure that you bring the other essential and recommended items on our ‘what to bring list’

By choosing to join our Dig or Finds Team, you are agreeing to abide by our Safe Dig measures. So, what do you need to do, bring, and know? Please make sure you read the following information carefully, and bring the essential and recommended items on our ‘what to bring’ list:

What you need to do

1. Take a Lateral Flow Test before arrival (and bring a couple of spare test kits)

Our staff will be taking a lateral flow test before arrival on our digs, and we require that everyone who joins us on site, or in the Finds Room, does the same.

This means that you will need to take a test the evening or morning before your experience with us begins.

  • If your test result is negative, please take a photo or register your result on the NHS COVID-19 app to show our staff on arrival
  • If your test result is positive, please stay home, let us know, and follow the latest government advice on what to do next

You should also bring a couple of spare lateral flow test kits, especially if you are staying with us for more than two days.

This applies to all adults, and children in Years 7 and above. Children still attending primary school (or in Years 6 and below) do not need to take a test, as long as the accompanying parent or carer does.

If you live in the UK, you can order your free lateral flow tests here.

If you live outside the UK, please follow the quarantine, isolation, vaccination, and testing travel requirements in place for your country of travel origin.

2. Bring a facemask and gloves (and be prepared to wear them if asked)

Even when government rules are relaxed, it’s entirely possible that the rules might change while your dig experience is underway. There are also some types of archaeological work where it is not possible to maintain social distancing at all times. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared, and for this reason we require that regardless of the current rules, everyone brings:

  • Facemasks (unless exempt)
  • Work gloves, like Polyco Matrix P Grip Glove if you’re on the Dig Team (we will not be providing these)
  • Disposable gloves if you’re on the Finds Team (we will have extra on site, but you’ll find it convenient to bring your own too)
  • Personal supply of hand sanitiser (we will have extra on site, but you’ll find it convenient to bring your own too)

This applies to all adults and children.

3. Bring your own food, drinks, waterproofs, and other essential and recommended items on this list

Archaeology is fun, but it is outdoor fun, and this year you need to be more prepared for the changeable British weather than ever as we will not be providing food, drink, or snacks, or sheltered space or seating for people to congregate under, unless you are specifically told otherwise in your pre-dig email.

This means that you should plan to bring all of the following:

ESSENTIAL ‘SAFE DIG’ ITEMS
These are items which you won’t be able to take part without, as part of our COVID-19 mitigation measures

  • Evidence of your Lateral Flow Test
  • Spare lateral flow test kits if you are with us for more than two days
  • Facemasks (unless exempt)
  • Light work gloves, like Polyco Matrix P Grip Glove if you’re on the Dig Team (we will not be providing work gloves)
  • Disposable gloves if you’re on the Finds Team (we will have extra on site, but you’ll find it convenient to bring your own too)
  • Personal supply of hand sanitiser (we will have extra on site, but you’ll find it convenient to bring your own too)

ESSENTIAL FOOD AND CLOTHING
These are items which you won’t be able to take part comfortably without

  • Sturdy boots (like hiking boots, or Dr Martens)
  • Packed lunch, and plenty of snacks (most of our sites are relatively remote and even where cafes are available, queueing times may be longer than usual)
  • Plenty of drinking water (don’t underestimate how thirsty you get when digging. we will have extra bottles available if anyone runs out, but please plan to bring your own)
  • Waterproofs and warm clothing for cold or wet weather (warm layers and good quality waterproofs are essential)
  • Sunscreen and sun hat for hot weather (don’t underestimate how long you’ll be outdoors, or how sunny it can get!)

RECOMMENDED
These are additional ‘comfort’ items that we will not be providing for you this year, but which you are likely to want

  • Anti-histamines if you get hayfever
  • Insect repellant if you tend to get bitten
  • Car, or other small personal shelter (During heavy rain spells, you’ll need to retreat to your car, or bring something else to shelter under if you don’t have a car. A personal shelter can also be helpful for providing shade during break times when it is extremely sunny!)
  • Camping chair for break times (again, we will not be providing sheltered space or seating)
  • A change of shoes and clothes (for your journey home, or if you want to visit the shops or pub at the end of the day)
  • Any soft or hot drinks, including your own mug, spoon, and sweeteners (most of our sites are relatively remote and even where cafes are available, queueing times may be longer than usual)

We also ask that you do not share or offer your snacks to others outside of your bubble – the temptation can be hard to avoid.

OPTIONAL
You do NOT need to bring these items, as we will be providing all Venturers with their own pre-sanitised tool kits for personal use. However, if you would prefer to bring your own, this is what you’ll need:

Dig Team – Personal dig kit:

  • 4 inch WHS pointing trowel
  • Bucket
  • Hand shovel
  • Kneeling pad

Finds Team – Personal finds kit:

  • 2 x soft toothbrushes (children’s toothbrushes work well and we encourage plastic free options where possible!)
  • Small reusable plastic bowls
  • Cotton buds
  • Wooden toothpicks

OPTIONAL
These are items that we don’t usually provide, but which you might wish to bring for educational purposes

  • Archaeology Skills Passport (if you want to make a formal record of the skills you’ve learned)
  • Pen and notepad
4. Follow our other 'Safe Dig' measures
  • Be respectful of the fact that others may be more cautious or vulnerable than you
    We reserve the right to remove anyone from site who is not being kind towards the needs of others, or co-operating with requests from our staff to follow specific ‘Safe Dig’ measures
  • Wear your facemask if asked
    We won’t require you to wear a facemask by default, but we reserve the right to request that you wear one in specific close-working situations or if the rules change while we’re on site
  • Wear your gloves
    You’ll need to wear your gloves when using any shared DigVentures equipment, or handling artefacts
  • Maintain social distancing
    You can form a Dig Bubble with friends or family members that you are travelling or sharing accommodation with. Outside of that, we will always try position you 2m apart from the nearest person. However the nature of archaeology means that there is a lot of movement within the trenches, so please help us by staying alert to where you are in relation to others
  • Minimise your contact with / exposure to others whenever it is not possible to stay 2m apart
    This might include specific instances like handing over finds for examination, or receiving instruction on how to excavate a specific feature
  • Do not share your personal dig or finds kit items with others as far as possible
    You will be given your own dig kit or cleaning kit to keep for your personal use during the day. Or you can bring your own (see the Safe Dig kit list).
  • Sanitise all surfaces and shared DigVentures equipment before and after use, especially before passing to anyone else
    This includes mattocks, spades, shovels, wheelbarrows, pens, drawing boards, cameras, tables, finds team chairs etc.
  • Sanitise your hands when entering or leaving the trench
    Remember to sanitise your hands regularly!
  • Abide by any additional Safe Dig measures given when you arrive on site
    This list is not exhaustive, but a summary of the main things you’ll need to do

If you are travelling from overseas, you agree to:

  • Check whether you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, and follow all other vaccination and testing requirements from your country of travel origin
    If you do, please make sure you have self-isolated for the required period before arriving on site to join our team

What you need to know

Bookings & Cancellation policy

Our digs are crowdfunded, and rely on the contributions of our Digital and Field Venturers in order to happen. This means we cannot provide refunds unless we have cancelled a dig entirely. However, we have modified our bookings policies to give you greater flexibility.

Greater booking flexibility

If we circumstances mean that we have to postpone your experience to a later date, we will always give you as much notice as possible, and will endeavour to give you a variety of options for your booking.

If we have to postpone the dig to a later date, you can choose to roll your booking over to the new dates once they are announced, or swap to another available dig

If you are unable to attend, you will be able to roll your booking over to the following year, or swap to another available dig

If we have to cancel the dig entirely, we will offer a refund

Refunds

Our digs are crowdfunded, and rely on the contributions of our Digital and Field Venturers in order to happen. This means we can only offer refunds if we cancel a dig in its entirety (rather than postpone it to a later date).

Travel & insurance

DigVentures can take no responsibility for any cancellation or amendment penalties that your travel company may charge you if you have to change your travel plans as a result of cancellation by DigVentures.

Your travel arrangements are subject to the terms and conditions of the company through which you booked. Participants are encouraged to buy flexible, refundable tickets, and we strongly advise Trip Cancellation insurance.

Toilets, breaks, refreshments, and shelter

Toilets

We will point out toilet facilities during your orientation on site. Please take extra care when using shared facilities, wash your hands thoroughly, and use the sanitisation sprays provided to clean surfaces and handles before and after use.

Refreshments

We will not be providing any refreshments, so you’ll need to bring your own hot drinks in a or get them at a cafe locally. Please ensure you abide by rules and sanitise your hands before and after entering other establishments.

And, as much as we love cookies and cakes, this year we are discouraging the archaeological tradition of bringing home made sweet treats to share. It pains us to say this, but please don’t offer any around.

Shelter for break time or bad weather
We will not be providing the usual on site shelter for break times or bad weather. This is to discourage people from congregating together. Depending on which site you are joining us, you may need to bring your own shelter (especially if you are not bringing your own car).

More about what our team is doing

We have adapted our on-site practices and programming based on social distancing, cleaning and sanitisation best practice.

We have also introduced Safe Dig rules, which are more rigorous than those you might observe in other outdoor public places, but with good reason: they are based on very careful consideration of the specific kinds of activities that take place on archaeological sites, and the amount of time we will all be spending together as a team.

Everyone on site is expected to:

  • Take a lateral flow test before arriving on site
  • Maintain social distancing (2m+)
  • Bring a facemask and gloves and be prepared to wear them if asked
  • Make sure any shared tools, surfaces, or equipment are sanitised before and after use
  • Be respectful of the fact that others may be more vulnerable or more cautious than you are, for a variety of reasons

In addition, we are also:

  • Reducing the total number of people on site at any one time
  • Assigning everyone their own personal, pre-sanitised Dig Kit
  • Implementing one way systems around the excavation areas and in the Finds Room
  • Assigning everyone to a ‘Dig Pod’ to break things down into smaller groups and minimise the number of different people you work with
  • Ensuring we have contingencies in place should anyone not feel well or notice signs of illness
  • Updating our bookings policies (see below)
  • Staying informed about COVID-19 risk levels in the areas we’re working in, local government guidance, best practice, and sector guidance
  • Training our staff to ensure we all know how to take good care of our Venturers and respond to any COVID-19 issues
  • Adapting some of our programming (e.g., shorter experiences and smaller groups for DigCamp)