GPS Training, Rendlesham Revealed

three people standing in field with GPS device

Featured image: volunteers using the GPS in the field

Last month, several volunteers were trained to use a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to set out a survey grid in south-east Suffolk, as part of the Rendlesham Revealed project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A GPS is a very useful specialised device for archaeologists to locate a survey or an excavation in the landscape, as well as plotting locations of objects and recording archaeological features. A highly accurate GPS device, called a GNSS RTK Rover (Global Navigation Satellite System) is needed to do this.

Volunteers from the Suffolk Archaeological Field Group (SAFG) joined us, on a very cold day in January, to be trained in using the GPS kit. The training was delivered by Rob from The Survey Equipment Company, coordinated by Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service.

The training included setting out a grid, which is an essential part of beginning an archaeological survey, such as geophysics or fieldwalking. To do this, a grid is created on GIS software (Geographical Information System) and loaded into the GPS device, then in the field the GPS directs the user (much like a car’s SatNav) to each point in the field and a marker is placed at each point.

three people in field with GPS device
Rob training the volunteers

The aim of the training was to upskill volunteers to use the GPS for their own archaeological projects, as part of the local archaeology group “The Suffolk Archaeological Field Group”. The group investigate archaeological sites in Suffolk, through documentary research, fieldwalking, metal detecting, geophysical surveys and small excavations. They receive training and regular advice from Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service.


This fieldwork is part of the community archaeology project Rendlesham Revealed: Anglo-Saxon Life in South-East Suffolk, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We are very grateful to our many local and national partners who have made this project possible, and for the support of the landowners and farmers who work and manage this historic landscape.

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