Monday, 22 July 2013

Scotland: Rise in number of items being handed to the Treasure Trove Unit in 2012-13

According to the Scotman there were 316 cases in Scotland of historical items being handed over to the Treasure Trove Unit in 2012-13, up from 152 the previous year. The unit aims to ensure significant or important finds are kept for the nation and go on show in museums.

The finders were given payments ranging from £5 to £10,000 as a reward, depending on the value of the items. These payments totalled £36,510 last year, with most of them being for a few hundred pounds.

Read more from the Scotsman here

Friday, 19 July 2013

Major Archaeological Discovery in Lima Peru

With the recent discovery of the 1,200-year-old "Temple of the Dead" burial chamber at El Castillo de Huarmey, history enthusiasts have yet another reason to put Peru on their global map.

Filled with precious gold and silver funeral offerings, as well as the ancient remains of 63 Peruvians, the significant discovery is the first unlooted tomb of the ancient South American Wari civilisation from 700 to 1,000 A.D.

The extraordinary tomb provides an intriguing insight into pre-Incan culture, with more than 1,000 artefacts uncovered in the space, including gold and silver jewellery, bronze axes and gold tools.

Read more here:

Tower of London Holds Archaeology Weekend

Aspiring archaeologists and fans are being invited to join in on a free event held by the Tower of London this weekend!

The free event will allow participants to dig for Tudor pottery, medieval coins and Roman artefacts at Tower Beach.
The event coincides with the 2013 Festival of British Archaeology!  There will also be displays, talks and games from the Tower of London’s curators.
This is the only time of the year when the Tower of London bridge is open to the Public and it's a great opportunity to get involved in the local history.
It will be held from 11am-4pm on Saturday (July 27) and Sunday (28).

Read more here:

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sara Boyle: Archaeology Career Interview

We caught up with Sara Boyle, a Phd student at Queen's University Belfast to ask her about her career so far...

Where did you graduate and what are you doing now?
I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a BSc in Archaeology and Palaeoecology in 2007. I really enjoyed the landscape archaeology element of the degree so I decided complete an MSc in Landscape, Heritage and Environment at Queen’s University, graduating in 2009. Following this, I took a year out of academia to work in the Ulster Museum as a Discovery Centre Facilitator where I helped the general public engage with interactive exhibits and took school groups for set lessons. As fun as this was, I missed the academic side of archaeology and in 2010 I began a PhD (at Queen’s again!) which looked to reconstruct prehistoric settlement activity on the Maltese island of Gozo through field survey, GIS and spatial analysis. I’m currently in the final year of my PhD putting the finishing touches to my thesis which I intend to submit in September of this year.

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
I’ve had an interest in archaeology from an early age which is largely thanks to Time Team. I even used to dig up the flower bed in my parent’s garden to find archaeological treasures when I was in primary school! It was therefore quite a natural step for me to start a degree in archaeology. During my undergraduate degree, I undertook work experience with a commercial archaeology company, however, I quickly realised my interests were more landscape-orientated and I made the decision to enrol on an MSc degree after I graduated, rather than pursue a career in commercial excavation. I really enjoyed the research element of my Master’s degree which provided a good foundation for my current PhD research which I enjoy as much! I hope to continue in a research role after I complete my PhD by pursuing a post-doctoral position.

What has been the greatest success of your career so far?
Without a doubt, my greatest success so far is completing the first draft of my PhD thesis which is about the size of a phone book!

Who’s your favourite archaeologist?
This is a really tricky question and I don’t think I could choose one! I’d have to say Prof. John Cherry for his work on Mediterranean field survey, Prof Richard Bradley for his research on prehistoric settlements, landscapes and monuments, Prof. Vince Gaffney for his pioneering role in the development of archaeological GIS, and my PhD supervisor Dr Caroline Malone for her work on the prehistoric period of the Maltese Islands.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Archaeology Career Interview -- Sarah Kerr

We caught up with Archaeology graduate Sarah Kerr to ask her about her career so far...

Sarah Kerr
Where did you graduate (and what in) and what are you doing now? 
I completed my BSc in Archaeology-Palaeoecology and Geography (Joint Hons) in 2009, from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). After a year out to work, save money (and relax) I returned to
Queen’s to undertake an MSc in Professional Archaeology before being employed as a field archaeologist with the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF), based in the University. I learnt so much during this period of my career as you never know for certain what you’re going to find beneath the topsoil!

After one year gaining experience in the field, I was accepted into my Ph.D. programme studying medieval lodging ranges in England. I’m ten months into the research now and I’m really enjoying it; it is the first time I’ve studied English buildings in any depth and I learn something new every day. I’m not going to say it is easy but it’s certainly a lot of fun!

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
Yes, when I began my undergraduate dissertation surveying Irish round towers, I knew I wanted a career in archaeology and to keep studying historic buildings. But with a Joint Honours degree I knew I had to gain more archaeological experience which led me to the Masters programme. When I graduated I still didn’t feel qualified to be a fully-fledged archaeologist; but when you are early in your career it’s a learning curve – sometimes a very steep one! I could not be happier that I persevered; the next goal is post-doctoral research.

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
Personally I think my greatest success is getting paid to do something I love. I have been involved in so many fantastic things I had never imagined; excavating in America, speaking at conferences; being involved in Time Team and Ulster Unearthed, surveying amazing ruins all over England. The best thing about these experiences is getting stuck in and learning something new!

Who's your favourite archaeologist?
I have met so many inspiring archaeologists over the past few years; the academics in Queen’s, staff in the CAF, people working with English Heritage and the National Trust, the other Ph.D. students, and of the course the volunteering enthusiasts I have met along the way! For me, I think the people working tirelessly to make archaeology accessible to the public are the most inspirational.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Archaeology Career Interview: Burak Yolaçan

We caught up with Burak Yolaçan in Turkey to ask him about his career in archaeology and progress so far...

Where did you graduate and what are you doing now? 
I received my bachelor's degree from Ege University in the Department of Classical Archaeology in Izmir in 2003. I then started my MA degree in Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) the same year in September. In December I managed to get a research assistant position in the Department of Archaeology at DEU. It is a full-time position where you are more or less free to study on your thesis. 
I worked at Klaros excavations for 6 summers, 2001-2006, doing fieldwork, architectural drawing, photography and pretty much anything one does in an excavation. We didn't have a big budget but I think it helped all of us to gain experience in various things.

My MA thesis was about architectural space in sanctuaries focusing on the Oracle of Apollo at Klaros.

Since 2007 I have been working at Smyrna where there are 3-4 different excavation spots inside the modern city. I have been focusing on the agora of the city, mostly trying to finish my phd working on the basilica.
Burak Yolaçan

As of this month I got my phd with the "Agora Basilica of Smyrna" in DEU. 

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?Since I was a kid I have always wanted to be a "professor", I don't remember how that came into my mind. I started studying archaeology to be able to read Homeros in Ancient Greek first and then maybe I could have a career in archaeology. After 6 months though I understood my mistake; Ancient Greek wasn't for me, so then I focused on archaeology. Luckily I was able to get a position in a university in about 3 months after I graduated. 

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?I really don't know how to answer this; it's a long and difficult journey where you have to exceed yourself each and every day. If you insist though I guess I can say being able to get my phd can be counted as success. It's a nerve-wrecking process. 

I would also say being able to do a lot of fieldwork is success too. Doesn't mean anything alone of course but you learn something new everyday when you are on the field. 

Oh and I am also writing a chapter for a book that is planned to come out in 2014; maybe that will be my biggest success so far. Then again maybe calling something you have done at some point in your life success is misleading; you have to keep at it everyday. 

Who's your favourite archaeologist?All of those great people who just keep doing their job every single day on the fields, inside the classrooms, trying to make sense of life, show us where we came from and who we are.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Archaeology Career Interview: Author Rachel Grant

We caught up with Author Rachel Grant, Professional archaeologist and four-time Golden Heart® finalist, Rachel Grant writes contemporary romantic suspense with archaeological and historical storylines...

Rachel Grant
Where did you graduate (and what in) and what are you doing now? 
I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Florida State University in 1991. That same year I completed my archaeological field school with the University of Washington and left Florida for a job in Washington not long after graduation.

I spent the next ten years working in Cultural Resource Management—eight of those years in the Pacific Northwest and two in the Washington, D.C. area.

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology? How did you make the move towards becoming an Author?
Yes, I was thrilled and lucky to get a job right away after graduation. I spent one year as a dig bum and several years working as a staff archaeologist for small CRM firms.

Anyone who has ever sorted a bag of eighth-inch material from a shell midden knows how insanely boring that task can be, and to entertain myself I would spend my time coming up with ideas for archaeological mysteries. I'd known since high school I wanted to be a writer but studied archaeology because I needed something practical to fall back on.

Rachel Grant: Concrete Evidence
My husband is also an archaeologist (B.A. from University of Washington, M.A. in nautical archaeology from Texas A&M). Since receiving his M.A. he has worked as an archaeologist for different branches of the U.S. Department of Defense. In late 2001, his job took us to Hawaii for three years, at which time I left my job with a small CRM firm to raise our young daughter and finally pursue my dream of writing a novel. 

My books are firmly set in the world of contract archaeology. In Concrete Evidence the treasure hunter is the bad guy, and the heroine’s historical research was inspired by a project I worked on when I lived in the D.C. area. I love being able to bring authenticity to the world of archaeology in fiction and using the format to clear up some of the basic misconceptions about the profession.

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
My greatest success as an archaeologist was simply the fact that I was able to earn a living doing work I loved. There is nothing better than going to a new area—whether it’s a small town in Eastern Oregon to record a lithic scatter on the Oregon Trail, or flying to Sitka, Alaska to research an area for a Cultural Resources Management Plan—and getting paid to interview locals, visit museums, and hike in the woods. I’d do that on vacation!

My greatest success as an aspiring writer was signing with an amazing agent and finaling four times in the romantic suspense category of the Golden Heart contest.

My greatest success as an author is receiving glowing reviews and fan mail. There is nothing more thrilling than knowing people are enjoying my books.

Read more about Rachel's books on her website: and group blog:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Anglo-Saxon Feasting Hall Discovered in Kent

Archaeology Magazine reports on a new discovery: An Anglo-Saxon feasting hall discovered in Kent. It claims that the discovery of an Anglo-Saxon feasting hall in the village of Lyminge is offering a new view of the lives of these pagan kings.

Read more here:

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

4400 Year Old Female Skeleton Adorned in Gold found in Windsor

Archaeologists, excavating near the Royal Borough, have discovered the 4400 year old skeleton of an upper class woman.

This makes her one of the earliest ever females found with such treasures in Britain. The woman was buried just a century or two after the construction of stonehenge. 

The woman was wearing a necklace made of folded sheet gold, amber and lignite beads. It is thought that the jewellery probably came from hundreds of miles to the west.

Read more on the independent:

Monday, 8 April 2013

Career Interview: Joanne O Meadhra-Elder

We caught up with Cutural Resource Manager, Joanne O Meadhra-Elder to discuss her career in so far...

Joanne O Meadhra-Elder
Where did you graduate (and what in) and what are you doing now?
I am a graduate of University College Cork, Ireland where I undertook an HONS BA ARTS (Archaeology and Sociology). I also undertook a certificate course in Tourism and Heritage Management-Museum Studies at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa- Cork.

I have always been keenly interested in public archaeology and professional non academic archaeology. Having worked all over the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland following the Global Financial Crisis a new challenge was required and since 2012 I have been living in Sydney, Australia. I am currently involved with the digitization of museum collections at Australian Museum and I am also a project volunteer at Sydney Living Museums (HHT NSW). In addition to being a generalist Heritage Consultant I am a specialised field archaeologist and post excavation manager.

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
I was never interested in an academic archaeology career and throughout my undergraduate years I had already been employed on a fulltime basis on professional archaeological excavations as part of major infrastructural commercial developments so on graduating in 2003 it was a natural progression for me to head back into professional commercial field archaeology. Luckily for me I was head-hunted rather than having to apply and I have never had to interview for an archaeological position since.

Although I am an archaeology graduate I do not consider this to be a pre-requisite for being a great field archaeologist nor should it be the baseline by which all levels of professional archaeologists should be judged. Throughout my career I have worked alongside and trained many non archaeology graduates who have been both professional and showed real understanding of the highly complex nature of developer led and commercial excavations. Conversely I worked alongside graduate archaeologists who showed no aptitude at all for field archaeology and would have been better suited to academia or another archaeological or related specialism. Ireland traditionally does not have a culture of volunteer, hobbyist or private research excavation due to the cultural heritage legal framework in place so the majority of fieldwork is developer led rescue excavation which is a highly specialized area and demands a highly skilled practical workforce. Whilst management level/Director should require at least a third level qualification in my opinion it is not a necessity for the general level field archaeologist. A baseline qualification for who should be a vocational qualification of some description in archaeology or a related field which demonstrates the ability to understand the reasoning behind rescue excavations and the desired outcomes.

What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
Learning to be highly adaptable, forward thinking and being a great negotiator and problem solver. As a professional cultural resource manager I have often been called upon to wear different professional hats e.g. field archaeologist, architectural heritage surveyor, archaeological environmental impact assessor, curator, artefact and
collections co-ordinator, archivist, report writer. All of these roles have brought with them challenges not least of which was being a female working alongside traditionally male dominated professional fields. For me the greatest success has been to be at the cutting edge of challenging, influencing and changing negative attitudes towards professional field archaeology through implementing high standards of professional practice in partnership with clients, colleagues and the general public.

Who's your favourite archaeologist?
Thats a very easy one to answer a certain Mr Stuart Elder, my husband who was one of the first Professional Archaeologists I ever met and had the pleasure of working with throughout my career at different stages.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

HollyMae Steane Price: Archaeology Career Interview

We caught up with archaeology graduate HollyMae to ask here about her career in Archaeology and the highlights so far...

Where did you graduate (and what in) and what are you doing now? (Location, Work, Specialities etc)
I graduated from Cardiff University in 2012 with a BSc in Archaeology and slightly worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a job in the field. However, I am very lucky to have been chosen for an IfA training placement in Heritage Management at the Brecon Beacons National Park. I am about half way through my placement and I’m learning a lot and loving it!

When you graduated were you looking for a career in archaeology?
My aim in life has always – well, since I got over my dinosaur obsession - been to do something in archaeology. I was never certain about the specifics; I loved fieldwork (I have 32 weeks experience so far), I had fun with research, I liked the idea of working in a Trust. Immediately after leaving University I volunteered at a fantastic excavation at Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire. Shortly after that I got my first bit of paid excavation work at the Middleton Hall excavation at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. In August I had a great opportunity to work with an archaeology/arts/science collaborative called Guerilla Archaeology with whom I am still involved. September brought with it my first experience of commercial archaeology (and my gosh it hurts) on an amazing site in Cornwall and two days after returning home from this I started my current job. So I have been lucky that all my work since graduating has been archaeological in one form or another!


What has been the greatest success in your career so far?
Gosh, well my career hasn’t been that long so I’m not sure what to put here! I think getting my current placement has to be a high point in my career, but then again I suppose that it’s the only big step I’ve taken so far. I think that my greatest success within my placement so far is the blog I’m writing; as one of my placement’s learning goals I am investigating archaeology and heritage in social media and as such I have set up a blog to discuss the work I’ve been doing within my placement. It seems to be quite popular and has got a lot of information out to interested people.

Who's your favourite archaeologist?
Oh! Well… I’ve never even considered the answer to this question before, but the answer has got to be River Song, kick arse doctor of Archaeology that she is!
View HollyMae's blog here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

London's Cross-Rail Development uncovers a "Black Death Pit"

Black Death According to the BBC, excavations for London's Crossrail project have unearthed bodies believed to date from the time of the Black Death. 
A burial ground was known to be in an area outside the City of London, but its exact location remained a mystery.
Thirteen bodies have been found so far in the 5.5m-wide shaft at the edge of Charterhouse Square, alongside pottery dated to the mid-14th Century.