27 Jul 2023
by Tabitha Gulliver Lawrence

Hi everyone, my name is Tabitha and I work as a field archaeologist at the Colchester Archaeological Trust. I’ve been here nearly two years now and before that I lived in Cambridgeshire where I worked for Pre-Construct Archaeology. Archaeology is incredibly important to me and because of it I’ve experienced amazing things, alongside working with some brilliant people. My job role is all about working as part of a team and collectively ensuring goals are met. I have found this is the same on site as it is within an office space completing post-excavation work. My union Prospect also carries these same values and these are essential to our world which covers so many different disciplines and job roles.

I’ve worked as a field archaeologist for most of my career so far but sometimes with fieldwork there can be delays due to the planning process, the economy and other factors. So I’ve found it important to keep challenging myself with new tasks. Whilst in the office I’ve learnt to do ‘micro-excavation’ of delicate materials as well as train in lithics analysis. However, my largest office based role has been digital archiving. Archiving is a really fundamental part of our sector as it ensures records and finds are maintained for the future. Not only are they maintained but they can be reused by people in the future, whether that’s context sheets, drawings or CAD plans. The ADS, which is the Archaeological Data Service, is ‘a digital repository for archaeology and heritage’ and it contains 1.4 million metadata records alone. When not on site, I work with my friend and the Trust's digital archivist Chloé and help her with metadata spreadsheets for different sites our company has completed. As nerdy as it sounds I really enjoy my digital work as it has allowed me to progress my career and learn new skills which I perhaps didn’t think I could do.

My volunteer commitments outside of work are important to me as well. Currently, I’m the Secretary of the Early Careers Special Interest Group for CIfA and am a YAC Leader for the Essex branch held at the Roman Circus Centre. Archaeology is for everyone, and for me being part of these different groups opens my mind up to current challenges and successes within our sector. Archaeology and heritage is full of volunteer work and personally it has created a lot of opportunities. It’s important though to not overwork yourself and pick volunteer opportunities which fit your current lifestyle and schedule (which might involve studying, a part time job or your social life).

A recent role I’ve taken up is running the social media channels for the Lithic Studies Society, which is a Society dedicated to the research of stone artefacts around the world. There are lots of heritage societies across the UK, varying from big regional organisations to smaller village history groups. The Lithic Studies Society was founded in 1979 and has played a vital role in the promotion of prehistory and especially stone tools. I’ve absolutely loved getting involved in social media and have learnt so many new tricks along the way (plus it has helped my own lithics training).

I hope you enjoy the Festival of Archaeology and please check out the Early Careers Special Interest Group (part of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology), the Lithic Studies Society, the Young Archaeologists Club network (part of the Council for British Archaeology) and last but not least the archaeologists branch of Prospect. They are all different organisations but their promotion and passion for heritage are equally as important.





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Tabitha Gulliver Lawrence

Colchester Archaeological Trust

I'm a field archaeologist at CAT in Essex alongside being a volunteer for the CBA, CIfA and the Lithic Studies Society.

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