I joined Wessex Archaeology straight after finishing my MA in September 2015. Since then, I’ve done just about everything there is to do as a commercial archaeologist from Fieldwork excavations and Terrestrial Geophysics to working in our Geomatics department as a Geospatial specialist – the role I find myself in currently.
Working in a supporting role to the Fieldwork teams as well as conducting my own technical surveys has meant that throughout the Covid pandemic I’ve been able to do a lot of hybrid working. My day-to-day role can involve answering technical support calls from the Fieldwork teams, undertaking equipment maintenance, delivering project work or aiding the management team in costing for tenders.
Using a FARO Focus Laser Scanner inside the HMS Trincomalee
Recently I have been working on a terrestrial laser scanning project in collaboration with the Built Heritage team. This involved a couple of days in the field recording the data using tripod mounted 360-degree laser scanners before returning to the office to process and digitise the software. I have conducted many laser scans whilst working for Wessex Archaeology but surveying the HMS Trincomalee in Hartlepool was a particular highlight. However, I haven’t digitised the results before so its nice to have the opportunity to see the project through from start to finish.
On site at the HMS Trincomalee project
In between the survey and digitisation process I also made a site visit to some of our HS2 sites to conduct drone flights. As one of Wessex Archaeology’s qualified drone pilots I regularly attend sites to record the archaeology from the unique perspective of drone photography. This can be quite challenging, especially at our sites near Coleshill as I have to liaise directly with the Air Traffic Control of Birmingham Airport, and on one of my latest flights was stopped by Police and had to prove I had been given permission to fly by the Airport!
Wessex Archaeology UAV specialists in the field
I am also one of the staff members on the trial Leadership and Management Apprenticeship scheme and am currently helping to develop a new survey-based Health and Safety procedure.
Working in a role that has such varying workloads each with their own time pressures can be really demanding and I have to balance my project-based responsibilities with those of my support role. Sometimes this can be tricky – especially when there are overlapping and conflicting deadlines. The work I am involved with for Wessex Archaeology leads to some hectic and busy weeks and there’s never a quiet day in the life of a Geospatial Specialist!
By Jack Fox-Laverick, Geospatial Specialist and UAV Pilot