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