Scientist in laboratory preparing a sample for radiocarbon dating.
Fsaha Ghebru graphitising a sample for radiocarbon dating by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at Groningen University, the Netherlands. © English Heritage, Amanda Grieve
Fsaha Ghebru graphitising a sample for radiocarbon dating by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at Groningen University, the Netherlands. © English Heritage, Amanda Grieve

Science Advisors

Historic England's Science Advisors (SAs) provide support and advice to local authorities determining planning applications affecting archaeological sites and the archaeological units carrying out these excavations.

Our input covers all aspects of the investigation and analysis of the historic environment to enhance its understanding and management. We work to promote common standards across the sector to maintain and enhance professional skills. You can find our contact details as well as an overview of the work we do below.

What do we do?

We provide archaeological science and historic environment management advice to the sector to maximise public value.

Our work with local authorities and archaeological contractors includes:

  • Input to briefs
  • Assessment of written schemes of investigation/specifications
  • Site visits to advise on approaches to fieldwork, for example sampling
  • Strategic engagement on topics such as securing the future of archaeological materials within appropriate archives

Each year we provide about 2,000 hours of direct, practical advice and capacity building to over 150 front-line local authority staff.

We also give similar support to development advice colleagues in Historic England who work on planning applications, scheduled monument consent, marine planning licences and large infrastructure projects, such as:

  • New nuclear power stations
  • High-speed rail
  • Road construction and upgrades
  • Offshore wind farms

On complex projects our involvement may start with advice to Historic England colleagues during the early stages of the pre-application and consent process, then move on to detailed site-based advice to local authority staff or archaeological units once fieldwork begins.

Do you have a question for one of our science advisors?

We can be contacted by email, phone, or through our local offices:

North West: Sam Rowe 07585 123238, Manchester Office

North East and Hadrian’s Wall: Don O'Meara, 07824 529245, Newcastle Office

Yorkshire: Andy Hammon, 07747 486255, York Office

West Midlands, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Gloucester City and Bristol: Tom Elliot, 07407 820807, Midlands Office

East Midlands: Matthew Nicholas, 07342 062544, Midlands Office

East of England: Zoe Outram, 01223 582707, Cambridge Office

South West: Hayley McParland, 0117 975 0689, Bristol Office

London: Sylvia Warman, 07881 805347, London Office

South East: Anne de Vareilles, 07557 828187, London Office

Senior Science Advisor: Jim Williams, 07801 213300, Homeworker (covering HS2)

Guidelines and training

In addition to day-to-day advice, we also help develop guidelines and organise training on a range of archaeological science issues.


Science advisors helped to write the recently published guidance on Deposit Modelling, and coordinated the updating of guidance on Piling and Archaeology.


Details of forthcoming science-based training courses will be shown here once the forward programme has been devised and agreed.