An archaeological dig in York will form the background for a new ground-breaking degree course.

The Hungate Dig, York's largest excavation in more than 25 years, will form part of an archaeology degree that's being launched by the Open University.

On the new course, called Archaeology: The Science Of Investigation, students will learn about the scientific techniques used in the field, from reading the archaeological landscape to protecting finds for the future.

York Archaeological Trust and the British Museum are the only two external partners contributing to this new ground-breaking course.

Offering an insight into the work of its team, the trust has provided access to its dig at Hungate's ten-acre brown field site in the heart of the city.

The Hungate excavation team has created a series of specially designed introductory training films for the course. The films offer an insight into the work of an archaeologist, as well as an introduction to surveying and excavation techniques, and show finds being excavated and recorded by the archaeologists.

Course organisers believe investigating the past is becoming an increasingly popular pastime.

They say TV programmes such as Channel 4's Time Team and the launch of the new Indiana Jones film are fuelling interest in archaeology.

Peter Connelly, project director at Hungate, said: "We are thrilled to be involved in this innovative course, which has already attracted a great deal of interest. People are increasingly inquisitive about archaeology and the Open University course provides an excellent channel to learn more about the field. I hope that the films we've created will inspire people to learn more about archaeology."

The Hungate dig is on the site of the new Hungate development where construction is under way, with the apartments and town houses being built in the first phase of the development due to be completed during this year.

The £150 million mixed-use scheme will provide more than 700 new homes within York's city walls and will include offices, cafés and restaurants, neighbourhood shops, work spaces and community facilities.

City of York Council has also selected Hungate as the location for its new headquarters.

The neighbourhood will include a square and a piazza facing the River Foss.

There will also be a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the river and riverside walkways will be created.