From Disability to Inclusion: The Inclusive, Accessible, Archaeology
Headed by Tim Phillips & Roberta Gilchrist
Recent legislation requires universities and colleges to make
'reasonable adjustments' to include all students in every aspect of
their courses. These adjustments must not be just responses to the needs
of individuals as and when required; they must be 'anticipatory'. While
on-campus teaching is being made more accessible to all students, there
has been less effort directed at making fieldwork inclusive. The IAA
project was set up to redress this.
The inclusion of disabled students is potentially a major problem for
fieldwork directors. How can they anticipate the specific needs of every
individual student who may, or may not, be present on fieldwork
training? The IAA project was based on the notion instead of
determining students' abilities to do fieldwork tasks.
The project team have characterised the physical and cognitive demands
of the various archaeological tasks taught in fieldwork training. The
result of this is a self-evaluation tool (ASSET - Archaeological Skills
Self-Evaluation Tool kit) which enables students (whether disabled or
not) to identify their individual abilities, their transferable skills,
and track their development. The tool kit was refined through controlled
tests with disabled and non-disabled volunteers. This was followed by
field trials on three training excavations.
ASSET allows disabled students to take part successfully in fieldwork
training by anticipating what reasonable adjustments may need to be
made. It can also be integrated into Professional and Career Management
Skills modules and Personal Development Planning (PDP).
The project has produced a set of guidelines for good practice for
including disabled students in archaeological fieldwork training and for
making archaeological excavations accessible to visitors. These are
partly based on the observations of the project team, but the main
sources of information were the experiences of Archaeology Departments,
and disabled archaeology students and professional archaeologists. These
are available through the History, Classics and Archaeology Subject
ASSET is available as an on-line resource at:
The IAA Project was funded as part of the Higher Education Funding
Council for England's Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning,
Phase 5 (FDTL5). It was designed and directed by Professor Roberta
Gilchrist of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading
and conducted jointly with the School of Conservation Sciences at
Bournemouth University and the Research Group for Inclusive Environments
(RGIE) at Reading. The project received the active support of a number
of stakeholders including the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), the
Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA), English Heritage and Oxford
Archaeology, as well as the Higher Education Academy's Subject Centre
for History, Classics and Archaeology.
Head of Education and Outreach
The Council for British Archaeology, St Mary's House, 66 Bootham, York,
YO30 7BZ, United Kingdom.
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