Working with MSDS Marine: The First Month

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Project Officer, and recent graduate, Phoebe Ronn has now been with us over a month. In this blog Phoebe reviews her first month as part of the MSDS Marine Team.

I started working at MSDS Marine in late May, and since then I have learned so much. When I began the job, I had very nearly finished my undergrad degree in Archaeology at the University of York and had spent a few years in the field working as a terrestrial archaeologist, so I thought I was fairly well equipped for what it was I would be doing at MSDS- I was wrong! These last few weeks have been an incredibly steep learning curve. I have been working on a huge variety of tasks, all of which require significant background reading- not that I am complaining, I have thoroughly every minute of it.

I work in Development Control; my job will be to undertake research and produce reports that inform clients about the archaeology and potential for archaeology in an area so that appropriate measures can be considered to avoid disturbing remains. At the moment I am getting up to speed with everything I need to know, and everything I need to know how to do, in order to do my job effectively.

As part of my training, I have learned to assess Palaeolandscapes and maritime archaeological potential. This has involved extensive research into prehistoric geological formations, glaciations, and human migration patterns- something I’d never come across before. I was more familiar with research into maritime archaeology which involved trawling through Historic Environment Records and looking at recorded wreck data. This research was done in tandem with training in using the mapping software QGIS. I have been creating maps and compiling information in such a way that it can be evaluated, ensuring that the value of important palaeoenvironmental and archaeological remains is recognised. I have also been learning about the processes involved in offshore construction, and how archaeological assessment fits in. I have to be able to understand this so that I can assess how construction could impact any archaeology within a site and recommend appropriate measures to mitigate against these impacts. These assessments are vital for managing the underwater heritage of the UK.

As part of my ongoing continued professional development, I have been encouraged to take up external and internal training opportunities; I have been participating in online courses such as ‘Geological processes of the British Isles’ and ‘Managing coastal environments’ (Open University), I’ll be writing an article for the October issue of CIfA’s ‘The Archaeologist’, and I’ll be going down to Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth in the near future to get some hands on experience in conservation processes and techniques from my colleagues Kim and Nicole. These opportunities will expand my knowledge of the marine archaeology sector and will make me a more rounded archaeologist.

Overall, my first few weeks at MSDS Marine have been excellent, and I am excited to continue this fascinating, challenging, and motivating work.

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