Hi, my name is Jackie and I am an Archaeological Technician Apprentice with Historic England. I am currently based with the Aerial Survey team which means that I get to look at lots of aerial photographs, lidar surveys (a form of remote sensing used to create topographic imagery of the terrain and any features that are present), drone imagery and see interesting archaeological features from above. I’m currently learning how to take these images and use them to map out the archaeology! It is an incredibly interesting experience and means that I get to experience archaeology from a very different perspective.
Describing just one day of my time with Historic England would not do justice to the wealth of experiences and opportunities I have had in the three months I have been here. When I am not in the office looking at aerial imagery and learning how to use ArcGIS (the software we use for mapping out archaeology) I am able to go out and spend some time with different departments and learn about different aspects of archaeology – from spending a day with the Geospatial team surveying an Anglo-Saxon church tower to spending a month at Birdoswald Roman Fort digging with the excavation team! One of the things I really love about this job is that no two days are exactly a-like and every day is a learning experience.
Whilst at Birdoswald I got to have a go at excavation, planning and recording, but I also got the opportunity to do some finds processing, sort environmental samples and shadow an incredibly talented archaeological illustrator for a while! I am back in the office now and today I am preparing for a presentation on the excavation that I will be presenting tomorrow with a couple of colleagues. After that I will go back to researching and mapping some strange fields that, mysteriously, happen to be filled with over a hundred ring-ditches!
I took a slightly indirect route into archaeology and I didn’t realise that was what I wanted to do until I had tried out a few other things but this role is perfect because it provides a broad and exciting range of experiences and the chance to engage with so many interesting and skilled people.
So! If, like me, you have realised you would like to get into archaeology, but you are unsure how to go about it, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Level 3 apprenticeships!