Mark Williams

I am responsible for driving the business forward in Wessex Archaeology’s London & South East Office which is based in Maidstone, Kent – a position which I have held since 2013. I have worked in the heritage industry for 20 years undertaking a variety of roles including project management work and co-ordinating Environmental Impact Assessments and carrying out Consultancy and Fieldwork Management throughout the UK.

Although my career as an archaeologist started in the field, nowadays I tend to be office-based as my role involves managing archaeological projects and teams covering the London & South East area. It has been some time since I was involved in practical fieldwork and I sometimes have my regrets on sunny days; in the cold and rain, not so much!

I am in the office at 7am welcoming our newest member of staff and introducing him to the team before everyone sets off for a day in the field. The first hour or so is spent familiarising him with company procedures, running through our rigorous health and safety policy and pointing him towards the many manuals and training guides available. After a thorough induction in the office, most of his training will be carried out by our management staff in the field.

In an exceptionally competitive market sector, I work hard to maintain excellent relationships with our clients and ensure that we are performing to a high standard on site. Mid-morning finds me in Sussex, on a site visit to a project that we have been working on for several years to have a discussion of the project plan and timescales for the coming season of work with the client. It promises to be an interesting dig and hopefully we can release some updates later in the year.

After a quick lunch, we hold our regular management team meeting. Wessex Archaeology is very much a collaborative organisation, with different departments working across different regions while maintaining consistently high standards across the board, and good communication is key to our success. Our regular meetings are essential to keep everyone up to date with what is going on in our region, teams, and more widely as an organisation to ensure that we work collaboratively and share best practice.

After our meeting, I spend a couple of hours working on some of our exciting public engagement events that are being planned this year; the organisation itself turns 40 this year and the London & South East office is also celebrating its tenth anniversary. This will involve, for example, hosting students from Christ Church University to understand more about the world of commercial archaeology, so I work on plans for this alongside preparing a lecture to give to a local group. I end the day catching up on a mountain of e-mails that have accumulated over the course of the day.

It has been an unusually long day, so I am off to the gym for a de-stress and ready to head back in for more tomorrow!