Identification of Bricks for Archaeological Sites

Event Date:
Start at 9:00 AM
May 16, 2021

We have arranged this face-to-face course at the Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum in the hope that COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed by May 2021. If restrictions continue this course may have to be reschedule. If you book a place and the course is rescheduled you will be offered a place on the alternative date, or a full refund. Please book your place in the usual manner at this time.

If you have credit from cancelled NAS courses and would like to attend this course – DO NOT BOOK ONLINE. Please contact and we will sort out your booking for you.


This course will provide an introduction to the the relevance of bricks on archaeological sites. It will cover the history of brick making, how to identify early bricks and how changes in size and manufacturing techniques help to identify when they are likely to have been made.

Participants will gain an understanding of why bricks are connected to ships, either as ballast, or as fireproof cooking stoves. The convenience of packing bricks into the hold of ships as ballast meant that the technology behind brick making followed the early trading routes. In early wooden ships the need to contain the kitchen stoves in a non-flammable enclosures was essential, from early vessels such as the Mary Rose through to the SS Great Britain the surrounds were made from bricks.

Participants will also get a chance to look round one of the first industrialised brick making factories and explore their archives. Finally, you will have a chance to throw your own full sized brick. It is possible to fire the brick but it does take a few weeks for the clay to be dry enough and participants will have to arrange to collect their bricks once they are ready.

There is a café at the museum where sandwiches and snacks can be purchased, or you can bring your own packed lunch if you prefer. Tea / coffee and biscuits will be provided during the day.


The course is aimed at individuals undertaking the NAS Training programme, as well as professional archaeologists wanting to know more about identifying bricks from archaeological sites.

NAS members will earn 5 credits for attending


NAS members £60
Non-NAS members £90


Dr Carolyne Haynes

TIMETABLE in British Summer Time

Please note Timetable is provisional and may be subject to change

10.00 – Start with coffee and registration

10.30 – Lecture on the history of brick making

11.30 – Tea/Coffee break

11.45 – Experience hand making bricks and working with early brick making machinery

12.30 – Lunch

1.30 – Tour of the archives

2.30 – Tea/Coffee break

2.45 – Tour of the factory

3.45 – Discussion/end of day questions/course paperwork

4.15 – Day End