Hi I’m Sam and I’m an archaeologist who is very lucky to be currently undertaking a Community Archaeology Training Placement funded by the Council of British Archaeology. I am based in the fantastic Severn Gorge in Shropshire, working for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and over the next 12 months I will be looking to organise and run a number of events and activities that will aim to engage the local community with some of the most amazing and incredibly important industrial archaeology here in the Gorge.
I first got interested in archaeology when I was at school and was known to watch channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ religiously every Sunday evening, dreaming of the day that I might one day get the chance to work alongside my heros Phil and Mick. I went on my first excavation in 2002, digging on the site of an Augustinian Priory and possible Anglo-Saxon burh in Chirbury, a small village on the border between Shropshire and Montgomeryshire. Then in 2003 I went off to university, deciding to hedge my bets a little, choosing to read History with Archaeology at Bangor University in north Wales. I very quickly realsied that although I enjoyed historical research it was archaeology that really captured my heart and so when I graduated with a 2.1 back in 2006 I packed my bags and went off to work as an Archaeological Site Assistant in Co. Meath, Ireland. I was out there for just over 11 months and got to work on some amazing sites including a Double Ringfort at Roestown near Dunshaughlin, and an early medieval burial ground at Collierstown. Following on from this I went to complete a masters degree at Glasgow University on Battlefield and Conflict Archaeology and finally returned to start an archaeology PhD on medieval Welsh warfare at Bangor University in January 2009. During this time I also managed to continue to be involved in a variety of excavtions on sites such as Fort William (Highlands), Nevern Castle (Pembrokeshire), Abergwyngregyn (Gwynedd) and The Pillar of Eliseg in Llangollen (Denbighshire).
Throughout my archaeological career I have always sought to engage the general public in archaeology, whether that is by teaching on training excavations, surpervising community excavations, or more generally talking to anyone who is interested about my job and the archaeolgy of the local area in a broader sense. So the role here at Ironbridge is my perfect job in so many ways, and I’m really looking forward to working with the Ironbridge Archaeology Volunteer Group, the soon to be set up Young Archaeologists Club, and members of the general public over the next 12 months and learning the skills to continue working as a community archaeologist here in Shropshire in the future.