This module can be taken as a Short Course for Credit.

Please go to the 'Upgrade to a professional qualification' section for more information.

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
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • 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 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 Short Course for Credit 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.


Find out more about short course credit points.

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 course is a module of the Forensic Modular Masters Programme, which is accredited by  The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.


Roland Wessling (module leader)


Sponsored by company - £1,750

Individual (anyone paying for themselves to attend) - £875

Alumni/Current Student - £435

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall  hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis from Sunday to Friday. The cost of this package is £495. If you would like to book this accommodation package* for this short course, please indicate this on the registration form. 

Alternatively, you may wish to make your own arrangement at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Situated close to Milton Keynes and Bedford, the Cranfield campus is situated in Wharley End, very close to Cranfield village, and is about 10 minutes from the M1 motorway.  There is rail and road access to most major airports as well as coach and train stations. Cranfield campus also has its own airport for private executive business travel.

Download a visitor guide including map, directions and health and safety information.

Campus address

College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.