Early Career Researchers in Archaeology

Posted on June 26, 2020


This session is designed to highlight early career researcher’s work in various area of archaeology (including Marine/Maritime,Finds and Heritage Management) and to look at collaborative research being undertaken by early career professionals in the academic, public, commercial and voluntary sectors. Papers may focus on specific sites, methodologies, processes, artefacts or indeed, personal career journeys. The presentation of papers will be immediately followed by a networking session intended to be an open forum and to provoke discussion on values, benefits and legacies. During this session we will also be displaying posters from a range of early careers professionals highlighting different aspects of work.

Colin Forrestal, Chair of CIfA new Generation Special Interest Group Kayt Hawkins, Surrey County Archaeological Unit, Phil Pollard, Historic England

My research has gone to pieces! What destruction of metalwork can tell us about Bronze Age society


The deliberate destruction of metalwork is a common phenomenon in the Bronze Age. Traditionally this topic has been approached to try and understand why this has been done. However, by utilising experimental archaeology and understanding how metalwork was broken and damaged, we can begin from a fresh standpoint to better understand the people who were undertaking these actions and ultimately gain insights into what destroying metalwork meant for Bronze Age society.

Matthew G. Knight (National Museums Scotland)

The Shefton Archive: Enhancing a Collection’s History through Object Biographies


Professor Brian Shefton, a leading Classical archaeologist, established an internationally significant collection of almost 1,000 Greek artefacts, now displayed in the Great North Museum and seen by 450,000 visitors a year. The collection is unique in having an intact archive, which contains over 100,000 documents detailing Shefton’s collecting and research between 1955 and 2012. This invaluable body of unpublished material provides opportunities to develop new insights into how and why the collection was established and developed. Using the figured vases in the museum collection as a case-study and applying the concept of object biography, this paper will explore the potential of the archive as a lens for interpreting artefacts and re-imagining the collection’s capacity to engage museum audiences with diverse narratives of archaeological collecting. By experimenting with museum re-display and digital object biographies, this collaborative project intends to provoke public discussion of the collection’s history and legacy.

Daisy-Alys Vaughan (University of Newcastle)

After Excavation: Maintaining research potential of archaeological bone


Archaeological bone accounts for around 10% of the English Heritage collection. This includes both valuable worked objects and bulk finds. Most of this material is housed in archaeological stores across the country, however the most the significant objects are on display. While in storage archaeological bone undergoes continual degradation when exposed to the ambient environment. This mechanism is accelerated when bones are exhibited in low RH environments, often selected to ensure the stability of archaeological metal objects. With interest in animal remains increasing and as more sophisticated analytical techniques become available the depth of information at stake is growing. To better understand this relationship and minimise future damage research is being carried out into optimising their storage environment regarding relative humidity. This will be achieved by profiling the English Heritage exhibited collection and scrutinising the relationship between bone preservation and the storage environment using bulk finds. Various analysis methods will characterise bone on the nano-scale and in terms of mechanical properties.

Chloe Pearce (Birkbeck, University of London)

Of Plagues and Mummies: Chalk, lime and gypsum deposits in Roman burial practices


Dragos Mitrofan (MOLA Headland)

Look after your denarii: the benefits of object first aid training for field staff


This presentation aims to highlight the importance of communicating and collaborating with archaeologists to pack and process finds in a way that ensures their preservation until they can be treated by a conservator. This can be done by delivering training, toolbox talks directly on the site and providing continued support and advice throughout the excavation.
The first part would cover the reasons why it is important for archaeologists to be trained in identifying materials and how to pack them. Then how does MOLA promote the link between conservation and the rest of the staff, and how do we make ourselves more visible. Finally, I would like to share my experience training and collaborating with the archaeologists working at St James’ burial by Euston Station.

Lucie Altenburg (MOLA)

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