Month: February 2015

Meet the Archaeology Live! Team

Over the last fifteen years, many people have worked hard to help establish Archaeology Live! as one of Britain’s most popular training excavations. The project as a whole is managed by a trio of full-time field archaeologists who have collectively spent 31 years working for York Archaeological Trust(!) If you’re planning to join us on-site this summer, here’s who you’ll be working with…

Name:

Toby Kendall – Director of Archaeology Live!

(no Toby is not a shortened version of anything, I share my name with many dogs and a few ponies!)

Toby and his faithful companion Harry.

Toby and his faithful companion Harry.

Age:

40

Born:

Saltburn, but I have lived in and around York since I was 9 months old.

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Archaeology background:

I studied an Archaeology BSc at the University of Bradford and followed this with the Scientific Methods in Archaeology MA straight afterwards. Whilst at Uni I spent 5 summers digging in Pompeii and also worked elsewhere in Italy and at the YAT conservation labs during my industrial placement year. After my studies I went straight into commercial field archaeology and worked at a few units in the North of England. YAT was one of these and since 2002 I have worked solely with them, getting more responsibilities and running larger projects as time goes on. I have worked on Archaeology Live! since it started in 2001 and since 2005 I have been its director (Obviously the team we have in place are the people who make it possible). So this coming summer in 2015 will be the 15th Year I have been working with the project!

Toby excavating a Roman pot.

Toby excavating a Roman pot.

Why I chose archaeology as a career?

Money, Fame, Treasure & Glamour! Only joking. I guess it is because I am curious about what, when and why things happened in the past. Some jobs are not as much fun as others, but the balance is always massively positive.

Favourite thing about Archaeology Live!

Meeting new people and seeing how much enjoyment they get when they get the ‘answer’ to the question they were looking for with the archaeology.

 

Name:

Arran Johnson – Archaeology Live! supervisor

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Age: 

31

Born:

I was born in Doncaster, but raised in our nation’s capital, Barnsley.

Archaeology background:

I graduated from the University of York in 2005. By this point, I’d been involved in research projects in the Peak District and the North York Moors. My first professional work came through the University when I spent four summers supervising the excavation of a Romano-British defended settlement adjoining the Iron Age hillfort of Castell Henllys in Pembrokeshire. In 2006, I cut my teeth in commercial archaeology working for Archaeological Services WYAS. Here I worked on a number of prehistoric and Roman sites across West and South Yorkshire. In January 2007, I was lucky enough to become part of YAT’s Hungate team. During the Hungate excavation, I worked on some truly amazing archaeology covering two millennia of York’s history. It was at this point I acquired my reputation for finding Viking cesspits in the most unlikely of places…

Since 2011, I have been part of the Archaeology Live! team, dividing my time between commercial fieldwork and looking after the training dig – which makes for an interesting but rather busy life!

My quest to find a securely stratified 10th century horned helmet continues…

Arran in his natural environment (a Viking loo...)

Arran in his natural environment (a Viking loo…)

Why I chose archaeology as a career?

Standing by a tree in the woods around Worsbrough Bridge at some point in the early 1990s, I noticed that a couple had carved their names in the tree in 1952. I was fascinated with the idea of shared space separated by  time. I’ll obviously never know what happened to Mick and Kathy, but I know that they once stood on the same spot I did. It’s this intangible connection to the people that lived before us that I love about archaeology. Gathering forgotten moments and stories from what we find in the ground is a fascinating process that I never tire of and doing it for a living is a real privilege!

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Favourite thing about Archaeology Live!

Every year, I get to meet people from all over the world who are united by a common interest. I then get to share my passion for the discipline and watch as people make discoveries of their own. Being part of Archaeology Live! is fun, rewarding and always the highlight of the year!

 

Name:

Gary Millward – Archaeology Live! supervisor

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Age:

31

Born:

Pontefract, but raised in Ousefleet.

Archaeology background: 

I currently hold the role of an Assistant Field Officer at York Archaeological Trust. I am a professional archaeologist who has worked in commercial archaeology for over 8 years. During this time I have worked on a wide range of archaeological projects including field survey, evaluation and excavation, including specific work on complexly stratified urban sites.

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Gary explaining the recording system.

During my time at YAT I worked on the Hungate project for five years and have, up to this point, supervised on three separate seasons of the Archaeology Live training dig. In addition to the main training elements of Archaeology Live! I have also taught specialised sessions highlighting pottery identification and delivering Harris matrix lectures. In December 2014 I ran the first ever Archaeology Live! post excavation course detailing and teaching the processes that turn a site archive in to a report.

I first decided upon pursuing a career in Archaeology quite late in the day. It wasn’t until I was completing my final year of undergraduate that I gave much thought to a career in the commercial sector (at this point it seemed more likely that I would go on to be a surveyor or geophysicist!). I found, and still do, the job to be both challenging and enjoyable which is why, eight years on I still have a career in archaeology.

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Favourite thing about Archaeology Live!

My favourite thing about Archaeology Live! is seeing people begin to develop their own skills in fieldwork and recording. It is immensely satisfying when people that we have taught go on to start their own careers in archaeology.

 

Name: Harry – Site Dog

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Helping out at an open day.

 

Age:

No comment

Interests: 

Acquisition of sausages and crisps.

Favourite thing about Archaeology Live!

Meeting new people, from whom I can acquire sausages and crisps.

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2015 Placements

Archaeology Live! wouldn’t happen without our team of trainees. Every year, budding archaeologists of all ages and backgrounds join us to gain their first experience of fieldwork or to sharpen skills they already have. The fees they pay fund the project and allow us to investigate sites that may never otherwise have been excavated.

The various skills and techniques required to understand and excavate urban archaeology are taught by our team of professional archaeologists. This process is assisted by a team of placements, individuals who have already spent three weeks or more with Archaeology Live!  or a similar, reputable project.

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Archaeology Live! placements Megan and Dave offering guidance on recording and excavation.

 

The placement system offers an opportunity to gain new skills and experience new aspects of archaeological excavation. If you have a good understanding of single context excavation and recording and are looking to pursue a career in the profession, a placement can be a great way to start.

The work will involve assisting the trainers with numerous tasks, from helping to supervise and instruct trainees, to spoil management and site logistics. Many of our former placements are now professional archaeologists, some now running sites of their own. This year, we are looking for placements to assist with our York and Nottingham excavations. Ideally, applicants would be able to join us for periods of around three weeks or longer as this allows for sufficient time to learn new skills and creates a sense of continuity for the trainees. There is no charge for a placement position.

” I feel the placement system enables you to hone the skills you gain as a trainee, and makes you develop them. It also makes you so aware of what’s going on, not just in front of you on site, but everywhere else.”

-Lisa Bird, Archaeology Live! placement

Lisa

Lisa (centre) explaining single context recording.

To apply for a Placement position on the excavation, a CV with an accompanying covering letter must be sent to the contact address below. Make sure that you say why you want to be a placement and why you would be good for the project within your cover letter. The selection process will include an informal telephone interview.

For more information contact:

E-mail: trainingdig@yorkat.co.uk

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