This course is designed to provide you with an applied awareness of the use of forensic archaeology in the context of UK major crime investigations.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 02 - 06 Nov 2020
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield University at Shrivenham
  • Cost£1,750 Concessions available

Course structure

One course per year. Each course lasts for 5 days. 1 week intensive delivery comprising taught lectures, presentations, desk-based exercises and outdoor practical simulated examinations.

What you will learn

The aim of this course is to introduce the principles of forensic archaeology from the methods of search (aerial photography, offender psychology), location (geophysics, recovery dogs), excavation, recovery and interpretation. These methods are described within the wider context of UK major crime investigation.

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to: 

  • identify the main techniques used in the location of buried objects and evaluate their usefulness in different terrain and against different targets,
  • discriminate between different features that appear on geophysical surveys and deduce their likely archaeological causes,
  • be able to set up a survey square and conduct a simple magnetometer survey,
  • recognise the importance of stratigraphy and be able to use simple archaeological recording techniques to accurately describe that stratigraphy and interpret how it might have been caused,
  • recognise the practical aspects of setting up an archaeological excavation and their implications. 

Core content

  • methods for locating buried remains,
  • aerial photographs,
  • crop marks,
  • the basic geophysical techniques used in archaeology,
  • use of a magnetometer and metal detector,
  • interpreting the results of the techniques, especially magnetometry,
  • principles of stratigraphy,
  • archaeological recording practices,
  • conducting an excavation,
  • introduction to excavating graves containing multiple individuals.

Upgrade to a professional qualification

This short course will be taught at Masters standard as it is one of the modules that comprise the postgraduate Forensic Modular Masters Programme. Registering for this accredited short course and successfully passing the associated assessment will gain you 10 Cranfield credits. These could then be used to apply for a transfer towards a PgCert/PgDip or MSc in the Forensic Programme should you wish to complete one of these courses within 5 years.

Who should attend

Anyone whose current role involves the investigation of major crime or the examination of such scenes, or who is seeking to develop their career in forensic scene examination would benefit from this course.


The short courses are modules of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


Roland Wessling (module leader)


£766 - Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend).

£383 - Student (a current student from any university or a former student of Cranfield University).

Accommodation options and prices

Please contact us for information regarding accommodation.

Location and travel

Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) is a Cranfield School based at the Ministry of Defence establishment on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire borders.

Shrivenham itself lies in the picturesque Vale of the White Horse, close to the M4 motorway which links London and South Wales. It is 7 miles from Swindon, the nearest town, which lies off the M4 at the hub of Britain’s motorway network.

Bath, Cheltenham, Bristol and Oxford are all within an hour’s drive and London less than two hours away by car.

All visitors must be pre-booked in at reception by the person they are visiting on the campus.

For further location and travel details

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.