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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. Here you can find our contact details as well as an overview of the work we do.

On-site archaeologists discussing methods for excavating an Iron Age furnace at Messingham.
On-site excavation and sampling strategy discussions about an Iron Age furnace between the specialist, science advisor, site director and project manager at Messingham, North Lincolnshire. © Lindsey Kemp, Oxford Archaeology East.

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

We work to promote common standards across the sector to maintain and enhance professional skills.

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: Sue Stallibrass, 0151 794 5046, Manchester Office

North East: Jacqui Huntley, 07713 400387, Newcastle Office

Yorkshire: Andy Hammon, 07747 486255, York Office

West Midlands: Lisa Moffett, 0121 625 6875, Birmingham Office

East Midlands: Jim Williams, 01454 419228, Northampton Office (Senior Science Advisor) and Hayley McParland, 07342 062544, Northampton Office (Assistant Science Advisor)

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

South West: Vanessa Straker, 0117 975 0689, Bristol Office

London: Sylvia Warman, 0207 973 3733, London Office

South East: Jane Corcoran, 01483 252052, Guildford Office

What do we do?

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

We also give similar support to development management 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.

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.

Guidelines

Science advisors helped to write the recently published update the guidance on Geoarchaeology.

We have published two new poster supplements:

  • Supplement 2: Excavating Animal Bones
  • Supplement 3: Processing Animal Bone Assemblages

Both posters are available in PDF versions for download and for print from our Animal Bones and Archaeology guidance page.

Training

Our next training event:

  • Human Remains in Commercial Archaeology: Legal, Ethical and Curatorial Considerations
    5 October, Leicester 
    For further details and to book a place please visit the Eventbrite website

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