Rob Goller's blog

Working for Wessex

Well what can I say, my first few months at Wessex Archaeology have passed by in a blissful blur filled with mud, ditches, cremations and great colleagues!


My Name is Martha Page; I am a field technician at the Wessex Archaeology Maidstone office. Before starting my Wessex adventure, I studied BA Archaeology at Cardiff specifically looking at public engagement, social media outreach, British prehistory and my obsession-experimental archaeology and the working of lithics (aka flint knapping!).  I caught the archaeology bug early − as a seven year old − not difficult when you live in Wiltshire and spend your days exploring long barrows and causewayed enclosures.
Since graduating I worked for a year with another commercial company, here in the south-east doing largely urban archaeology and environmental processing. But when the time came to move on Wessex was the place to be and I definitely don’t regret it.
I have received not only a warm welcome to the team but have also received a variety of training from survey and artefact identification, as well as driving company vehicles and taking on watching briefs. In comparison to my previous experience, my work with Wessex has been largely rural meaning ditches, ditches and (you guessed it) yet more ditches with a few cremation burials, pits and roundhouses thrown in for good measure. I love it, never have I looked forward to getting up and going to work as I do here, and it’s wonderful to fall into bed at the end of the day very tired but very satisfied by a productive day’s digging.
Being one of the regional offices, Maidstone has a great team dynamic which I have had the opportunity to be part of and enjoy, especially with all the recent away work we have been doing. Definitely something I would recommend a new archaeologist to try when you are starting your career. 
So what next? For me the current goal is to keep working, improving and learning − developing my career and being part of this fantastic company, hope to be able to keep you all up dated again soon! 
Martha Page, Field Technician

New translator for the Marine Aggregate Industry Protocol for the Reporting of Finds of Archaeological Interest


3351 Je m’appelle Yohann Paci et j’ai traduit la Procédure de déclaration des découvertes pour Wessex Archaeology. Je suis engagé dans la compagnie depuis septembre 2015 en tant que technicien de fouille sur les fouilles terrestres. 

Etant français, c’est avec plaisir que j’ai accepté cette mission de traduction anglais-français que m’a proposé Andrea Hamel pour le département d’archéologie sous-marine. 
Cela permettra d’aider les équipages francophone à mieux comprendre le processus de déclaration et les enjeux des découvertes archéologiques sous-marine réalisées lors des opérations de dragage.  
My name is Yohann Paci and I translated the various documents and video for Wessex Archaeology’s Marine Aggregate Industry Protocol for the Reporting of Finds of Archaeological Interest. I have worked in the company since September 2015 as a field technician on the land excavations. 
As a French citizen, it’s with a great pleasure that I accepted this mission given to me by Andrea Hamel to translate from English to French for the Coastal & Marine department. 
This will help French-speaking crews and wharf staff to better understand the Protocol and the issues of reporting underwater archaeological discoveries made during dredging operations.
Yohann Paci, Field Technician

Forensic Archaeology Workshop at Sheffield General Cemetery

This week Wessex Archaeology’s Alix Sperr made a visit to the newly renovated Nonconformist chapel in Sheffield General Cemetery, for a workshop with pupils from Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School.
The Nonconformist Chapel exists in the heart of the Sheffield General Cemetery in the district of Sharrow, Sheffield. Commissioned by the General Cemetery Company and designed by Samuel Worth in the 1830s, the Chapel served as a place for friends and family to remember their loved ones before burial. Dormant since the 1950s, the Chapel has been recently renovated to provide a unique venue for public events.
Wessex Archaeology was very excited to be one of the first organisations to be invited to use the space to present a workshop as part of Sheffield Festival of Science & Engineering 2017. 
After an introduction to how science is used in archaeology, the pupils were tasked with analysing the clues given from archaeological remains discovered during excavations of a burial by Wessex Archaeology. Working in teams they had to decide which pieces of evidence may give clues about the identity of the individual buried. Some clues offered more information that they bargained for, and some were just red herrings. 
As well as evidence cards, grave plan and burial photographs, the pupils were shown a reconstruction of the burial using beautifully handcrafted replica artefacts and a life-size plastic skeleton. Seeing the skeleton laid out surrounded by some of belongings offered a new insight into the practice of burying the dead and got the pupils thinking about how the individual was laid to rest and why they were buried with so many belongings. 
After a great discussion on who the burial belonged to, the pupils were given a guided tour around the cemetery by local historian and heritage interpreter Janet Ridler from Sheffield General Cemetery Trust. 
For more information about Wessex Archaeology's Community, Education and Outreach projects and the services we can offer, please click here or email
(photos courtesy of Janet Ridler from Sheffield General Cemetery)

Geoservices Welcomes New Marine Geophysicists

Geoservices are pleased to welcome Alex Jacob and Sam Strutton to the Marine Geophysics team in our Salisbury office. Both will be working as marine geophysicists, processing and reporting on geophysical data to help investigate sites of potential archaeological interest below the waves.

3342 Alex (front) and Sam (back)

Alex graduated from the University of Southampton in 2014 with an Msci in Geophysics where she gained experience in both terrestrial and marine geophysical survey, completing fieldwork over Basing House and Portchester Castle sites. During her studies, Alex completed numerous summer placements processing and interpreting geophysical data for a range of projects for commercial companies. She completed her dissertation on the ‘Archaeological potential of WWI wrecks of the English Channel and Dover Strait: A geophysical perspective’ before working with the UKHO on updating their nautical charts and suite of admiralty products around the world. Alex is excited to return to geophysics, applying her knowledge from the UKHO in her new role!
Sam has been working in the marine survey sector for eight years with Fugro, previously EMU Limited. She worked regularly with Wessex Archaeology over the years, on many projects, comprising archaeological reviews of the data for baseline and monitoring purposes.
Sam gained experience at university in underwater archaeology, palaeoclimatology and seafloor surveying before deciding to undertake offshore survey commercially. After time working offshore acquiring data, Sam focused on processing, interpreting, and reporting for various projects. This lead on to project managing the surveys, data interpretation and reporting for renewables, oil and gas, and aggregate projects around the UK. Sam is excited to bring her experience of geophysical surveys and passion for data, and delve back in to archaeology and palaeoclimatology in her new role in the Marine Geophysics team.
The Marine Geophysics team are looking forward to working with them over what looks to be a busy and exciting year ahead! 
By Sam Strutton and Alex Jacob
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