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Summer Holiday work-camp
Our family regularly goes on a weekend to weekend working holiday, where we do (manual) work and holiday day and day about. But it is looking increasingly likely that the usual group are not doing this kind of camp this year, so I'm looking for alternatives.

I have looked at archaeological digs, but you seem to have to pay through the nose for something my wife is going to hate (squatting on knees in the rain).

So I thought there must be something like "experimental archaeology camps" - but again I found nothing. And I appreciate this is just mucking around and not real archaeology, but I've still got a few more kilos of copper carbonate which I need the time (and site with clay) to turn into ore.

Any ideas?

I have a thorough self-taught knowledge of archaeology but no qualification.

My own CV: all DIY (plumbing, electrical, bricklaying, rendering, general building, concreting, window/door replacement) and I've dabbled in copper smelting, fire lighting, moulding, pottery, glass, basic shelter construction, flint knapping, bow/arrow making, killing(by necessity) and preparing animals.

And I've organised camps with around 100 people camping.
This web site might give you some ideas:

Have you contacted places like Butser? You might be able to find a project along the lines of building a replica roundhouse that's looking for volunteer labour. Do you have a local archaeological society? I think this will be your best bet for some free digging experience and it could offer alternatives like post-ex finds washing and marking, to save the missus's knees! It might also be worth checking out if there are any units running community digs in your area, although the nature of them means that you won't be able to go on ones further afield. Apart from that, you can mainly expect to pay for places on training digs as you've found.

Organisations like universities and charitable trusts tend to run training digs as fund-raising opportunities, as you've found. The up-side of paying, is that you generally get a good level of supervision, you come away with new skills if you want them and you may have the opportunity to do more than just dig e.g. planning, environmental sample processing.
Try this bunch as well...

and this
"EXARC is the international organisation of Archaeological Open Air Museums and Experimental Archaeology. It is our aim to establish a high standard of both scientific research and public presentation. The idea of international exchange of knowledge, human resources, publications and facsimiles is to improve the quality of work for all associated members. It is not our intention to exclude anyone who does not meet our high standards concerning the quality of museums work. We rather want to encourage and incorporate other institutions conducting Experimental Archaeology and help them to a higher level."

or of course... try some of this...
Lofotr Museum up in Norway... where volly / experimental is valued
Kel, thanks for the suggestion. Butser sounds a good idea - except for all the tourists! Similarly archaeolink in Aberdeen.

Thinking about it, one of the great advantages of the work-schemes I have been involved with is that everyone is considered to be individually responsible for their work and this largely avoids the big problem with this kind of "offer" which under the current health and safety madness means organisations have to strictly "control" their volunteers which I'm sure would result in a rather disappointing experience.

Maybe all I'm looking for is some people out there who would like to pick a campsite/field somewhere in the UK with a tolerant attitude to wielding axes and 1300C fires and meet up?

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