Meet the Team
With often around 100 people on site, the Silchester team varies each week, a dynamic that has always made the Field School a unique and ever-evolving experience. At the core of the team however are a number of key members of staff who are responsible for the smooth running of the project. Here we introduce the main characters involved and their responsibilities
Professor Mike Fulford – Academic Director
Mike is the principal investigator at Silchester and has been director of excavations at Calleva since the 1970’s
Mike’s role includes
- Deciding on the research objectives for the dig and how we can achieve these aims. This involves using various information to decide where we are going to dig and how we can achieve the best results with the resources we have.
- Raising money: Government agencies, private institutions, particular individuals, charitable bodies, commercial businesses all contribute towards funding the excavation
- Organising specialists to look at what we have found and using that information to feed back into our understanding of Silchester, further work and publications
- Publication of the findings, varying from large monographs that cover a particular time period at Silchester to smaller interim reports for the public as well as specialist reports which he contributes towards
Amanda Clarke – Project Director
Amanda has been the project director at Silchester since the beginning of the field school in 1997 and is an associate professor at the university. As well as supervising her own trench on site, her role involves:
- Running the project all year round means she divides time between excavation and post excavation. The excavation season is usually the more demanding of their time as the Director oversees the running of the site on a daily basis. In general, a porject director’s responsibilities can be divided into 4 areas:
- Life outside the Dig: they organise and oversee site logistics, both on the dig site and on the campsite. They have overall responsibility for Health and Safety, and need to make sure that their diggers are fed and watered regularly.
- Life on the Dig: they lead the process of excavation, meeting with site managers and guiding on policy and strategy. They have overall responsibility for the site budget, making sure that the money is spent wisely on a wide range of things.
- Teaching: they give on site lectures, one to one sessions or hands-on workshops. They organise the teaching done by the site managers, assess the students and provide daily feedback.
- Research: they ensure that the research aims for each trench are being met, and make daily decisions based on what is found. They are public facing, and must communicate the excavation results on a daily basis to the team, the press and the general public.
Jen Eaton – Finds Manager
Jen has been working with Mike and the Silchester project since 20?? and she oversees the collection, archiving and processing of finds as well as the data entry associated with each season of excavation.
- The Finds Manager works in consultation with the project finds specialists and, if something fragile or valuable is found, in consultation with a specialist conservator.
- They have a small team to manage, consisting of student trainees and placements, and also up to six excavation participants who are on the finds rota each day.
- The Finds Manager is responsible for collecting the trays of artefacts excavated on site each day (and sometimes being on hand to give advice as to how to lift an artefact), and overseeing their cleaning—whether by using water, a brush, or simply by stabilising until a specialist can advise.
- The Finds Manager will identify (if possible) the category of find, and make a decision about strategy. The find will then be recorded, first on paper and then digitally before being stored in a cardboard or plastic box, until removed from site for specialist assessment.
- Each excavation trench at the Field School is looked after by a Site Supervisor. These are experienced field archaeologists, most of whom have an undergraduate degree in Archaeology. They have at least one years’ excavation experience within a commercial archaeology unit, and ideally have prior teaching experience of the Field School.
- They oversee the excavation and recording of all the archaeological deposits in their trench, ensuring that the project’s research objectives are met.
- Site Supervisors also contribute to trench strategy, and lead a team of up to 20 excavators.
Nick works full time with the Silchester project and has spent the past seven years developing the post-ex from the Insula IX excavation for publication.
Dan has worked with the Silchester project for the past five years, combining supervising on site, writing up post-ex from the Silchester Environs project, illustrating publications, running the Silchester website and social media accounts and making the coffee
Kevin has worked with the Silchester team since the early days of Insula IX and also supervises at the field school’s secondary excavation on Islay
Rory Williams-Burrell – Science Supervisor
Rory is a technician at the university and has been working with the science team for a number of years
- The Field School has two ‘areas’ of Science; Environmental Archaeology (exploring the diet and physical environment of our ancestors, by taking samples for a variety of specialist techniques) and Geoarchaeology (studying the formation of a site by looking at soils and sediments).
- The Science Supervisor oversees them both. They work in consultation with scientific specialists, help determine sampling strategies, and organise and train a small team to carry out the day to day processing of bags of soil. They organise the sieving of samples, the sorting and drying of the residues, and the identification of microscopic evidence for past lives.
Jon Tierney – Site Manager
Jon has worked as the Site manager at Silchester since 2004. Outside of Silchester he works as a commercial archaeologist for the rest of the year
- The Site Manager is responsible for the smooth running of the campsite and the excavation site, making sure everyone is in the right place, every day, at the right time.
- They are practical and are able to turn their hand to anything; if something goes wrong, they are the ones to go to.
- They have responsibility for the site vehicles, the transportation of participants to and from the station, the doctor, the supermarket…..
- Sense of humour….Jon is renowned for his jokes
Sarah Lambert-Gates – Digital Recording and Graphics
Sarah is a technician at the university specialising in drawing and illustration. She helps runs modules on illustration for students as well as producing publication work for the archaeology department members. She is former trench supervisor at Silchester and also works on the excavations on Islay
- Photography is conducted to aid post-excavation interpretation and to supplement the archive.
- In some instances photographs can illustrate complex visual information better than drawings or words, however, a photograph should not be used as a substitute for other records.
- Sarah checks all drawings done on site to make sure they are up to scratch
- 3D models can be produced using a technique called photogrammetry
- Sarah is our licensed drone pilot
Rob Fry – Geophysics
Rob is a technician at the university and conducts geophysical surveys for the various projects in the Archaeology Department. He also teaches students both at the Field School and in a designated geophysics module.
- Rob teaches small groups of students on site
- Downloading and collating the data
- Interpreting the plots and suggesting their relevance
- Publishing the results
The Digging Team
Each year our digging team includes a mixture of people from all ages and all backgrounds
- May be local people
- Archaeology undergraduates
- Archaelogy students in their second and third years
- Full-time professionals
- All will need training: site manual – standardised recording system
You can find out more about Silchester by further exploring our website. To get started you can click the areas on this map to see where we have dug