Finds Liaison Officer for the Isle of Wight
This location is handy for detectorists reporting finds and the Isle of Wight Council kindly provides me with office space. I collaborate closely with the Curator of Human History, Corina Westwood, whose office is next door to mine. I am also in close contact with the Council’s Senior Archaeologist Dr Rebecca Loader who is based at Ryde and has responsibility for the Historic Environment Record.
How and why did I get started in archaeology?
I didn’t get an academic start in life and had a disrupted childhood. I’ve come a long way from my infant school education just after the war when we used slates and chalk! When I was six, my family became homeless and we went to live with my grandparents on a country estate in the Cotswolds where my grandfather was the head groom. I loved playing in the Capability Brown landscape (even if I didn’t then know the name of the great landscape designer) and was fascinated by the numerous earthworks, particularly one in the ornamental woodland. This was a Roman road although nobody was able to tell me that at the time.
We moved to the Isle of Wight when I was fourteen so I am not a real islander, but my wife says I behave like one – which I regard as a compliment. I missed a lot of schooling and left without any qualifications but did pass an entrance exam to become an apprentice at Saunders-Roe aircraft company (later British Hovercraft Corporation). Later, however, job prospects on the Island were not good so I signed up for nine years in the Royal Navy, travelling to North and South America, the West Indies, Scandinavia and the Far East where I received a medal for active service in Borneo.
Back on the Island, I attended WEA archaeology classes given by Dr David Tomalin, later the County Archaeologist. I volunteered for David on excavations, including one at Rock Roman villa and then started my archaeological career as a Finds Illustrator at Carisbrooke Castle Museum. I worked at an Archaeological Field Officer for the County Archaeological Service for over 20 years since its inception in 1981 and was closely involved in the pioneering Wootton-Quarr inter-tidal project. In my last few years with the Service I specialized in recording finds and began working for the PAS in 2003.
What is my greatest achievement in archaeology?
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