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.

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