Gearing up for BRP 2015: Windmill Boffins

With only one week till the dig starts the packing has begun! Today’s staff bios come from Media Coordinator Joe Tong and Field School Coordinator Cole Kelly. Still to come this week will be the Post excavation staff, Bradford Kaims South, and hopefully a word from our Directors about the upcoming season.

Joe Tong


“My involvement with the BRP began in 2011 when I attended as a student volunteer with the media department. Since then, I’ve been a frequent returnee (and visitor when not working with the project) and managed media departments on other archaeological projects. I graduated from the University of Chester in 2012 and managed to secure myself a position with Archaeological Research Services who I worked for until last Friday and I’m due to start a new career in teaching next September. In my personal life I spend my time talking about Tom Gardner, writing about Tom Gardner or thinking about Tom Gardner. I write short stories, shred waves on my surfboard which is totally radical, play music, and watch others (who call themselves ‘professionals’) play a stupid game called DotA2 because I’m rubbish at it.

Being involved with the media at Bamburgh is really quite exciting. You experience the archaeology differently as a passive observer of the work and really get to know the archaeologists well through interviews and watching them work. It can be rewarding to create videos and see them uploaded to the social media and have people interact with both your work and the work of the project. It also serves as a vital strand to the recording of the archaeology, serving to augment the traditional written records by having the process of the interpretation documented through video. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what we capture this season and I’m hoping for gold/wooden tools/Oswald’s gilded arm.”

Joe has recently published an article in issue 39 of Internet Archaeology. Check it out here: Vlog to Death: Project Eliseg’s Video-Blogging.

Cole Kelly


“I recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Anthropology focussed in Archaeology. I have been accepted for an MA in Archaeology of the Ancient Near East at Durham University starting October 2015. I joined the BRP as a student in the summer of 2013 just to ‘get my feet wet’ and ended up staying for most of the season. I spent last season trying out Photogrammetry in the trenches as well as running the BRP blog and other forms of social media

This year I have been the point of contact for incoming students. I will spend this summer working out a standardization for Photogrammetry in trenches, assisting with outreach and social media, as well as beginning to organize the past 15 years of BRP research into a database.

When not at Bamburgh or the Kaims I like to play the ukulele, paint, make endless Lord of the Rings references, and take apart old broken pocket watches with no real intention of putting them pack together again.

I’m looking forward to meeting all of the students I’ve been talking with these past few months, seeing all my friends, and relaxing at our beautiful campsite.”

Student Placements still available for the season! We start on Monday the 8th of June, so stay tuned for more blog entries, tweets and video footage of the intriguing finds at Bamburgh Castle and the Bradford Kaims! We can’t wait to get started!

Gearing up for BRP 2015: Trench 1 Staff

Today we introduce you to the awesome staff of Trench 1 at Bamburgh Castle! Returning Supervisor Constance will be assisted by former student Sam Serrano Ferraro. We can’t wait to see what Trench 1 turns up this summer!

Constance Durgeat


From our fun trip down to Dunstanburgh Castle

“I started going to the Bamburgh Research Project as a French student, in order to discover a bit more about English field archaeology…and never really left since! This year will be my fifth year within the project, and my second year as Trench One supervisor. I have a Master’s degree in Urban & Buildings Archaeology from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and another one in Medieval Archaeology from the University of York. Outside the season, I am a commercial archaeologist and have been working for different companies around Yorkshire.
I am really looking forward to this season. It would be nice to have a better understanding of the relationship between our four buildings, especially now that we’ve uncovered the ‘old’ part of Trench One, and have a closer look at our different floor surfaces and miscellaneous pits/post-holes. We might also just be able to work our way to a couple of prehistoric features, which would show the continuous occupation of the site.
I am also excited to spend a couple of months with great people!”

Sam Serrano Ferraro
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Sam on the left with Post-ex supervisor Jeff and the ever amazing Laurel 

“I am half Italian – half Ecuadorian, though I live in Scotland. I have been with BRP one season, BRP 2013. When I am not at Bamburgh or the Kaims I am either at Edinburgh University studying archaeology, relaxing with friends or trying to become the next Indiana Jones, without the “destroy everything I find” attitude! This season I am looking forward to seeing the same people I had so much fun with two years ago! And obviously getting down and dirty…by that I mean digging in the trenches!”

This year’s digging season will start on Monday the 8th of June, so stay tuned for more blog entries, tweets and video footage of the intriguing finds at Bamburgh Castle and the Bradford Kaims! We can’t wait to get started!

Gearing up for BRP 2015: Trench 3 Staff

In today’s blog we have decided to reintroduce you to the staff of Trench 3, as a couple of lovely new faces have appeared! Unfortunately, last year’s Trench 3 Supervisor Stephanie Chapman wasn’t able to return this season because of the beautiful baby girl she had last winter. Luckily, 2-year T3 Assistant Supervisor Anne Hartog was more than keen to take up the Supervisor mantle! She will be assisted by long-term Bamburgh students Harry Francis and Isabelle Ryan.

Anne Hartog

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Anne may be a bit too attached to her clipboard…

“I have been a part of the Bamburgh Research Project since the summer of 2011, and have filled the position of T3 Assistant Supervisor in 2013 and 2014. I graduated from Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2014 with a Masters Degree in Historical Archaeology of Northwestern Europe and Museology. Outside of the season, I’m keeping my eye out for archaeological/museological work, which is proving very hard to come across! I did recently start volunteering at a local geological and historical museum as the resident archaeologist, so I’m very happy to still be working with archaeology and artefacts on a weekly basis.

As for my trench hopes and dreams, I would like it very much if we could get the north end down to Brian Hope Taylor’s level and continue from there. We are also still hoping to finally figure out all four walls of the mysterious building that covers a large part of the trench. Of course, the southern part of the trench will hopefully also get a good amount of attention and if all goes well we will try to bring it together, as one phase, with the rest of the trench, before the end of the season. Lastly, I’d like to continue cleaning up the Trench sides, as we did with the South East section last season.

Of course, like most previous seasons, we’ve always been down for big surprises, and I’m sure this year will be no different! But it’s the surprises that make archaeology so interesting!”

Harry Francis


Harry trying not to laugh because I made him freeze for this photo

“This will be my fourth year with the BRP! I have previously spent the last three years working as a student with the project but am returning as an assistant supervisor in Trench 3 this year. I am currently in my second year of doing a BSc in Archaeology at the University of Leicester and plan on continuing in archaeology after leaving.

I am looking forward to another great season working again on a great site, with an equally amazing group of people. This will be a great summer spent digging before I go to study at the University of Bologna, Italy for a year.”

Isabelle Ryan


Isabelle likes to dive right in. She is also a master of trench planking

“I’m from Baltimore, MD and am currently studying Archaeology and History at Washington College in Maryland. This will be my third season with the BRP (first season as staff). Outside of the BRP and studying, I cox for the Washington College men’s varsity crew rowing team.

This season I’m looking forward to uncovering the secrets of the Northwest Corner!”

This year’s digging season will start on Monday the 8th of June, so stay tuned for more blog entries, tweets and video footage of the intriguing finds at Bamburgh Castle and the Bradford Kaims! We can’t wait to get started!

Welcome to Bamburgh 2013!

The Bamburgh Research Project season 2013 has officially begun!


Blue sky over the windmill. Here’s hoping that there is more on the way!

Large scale cleaning has begun in Trench 1, and Graham D and Jess are hard at work getting the Trench opened up and ready to go.


Finds Supervisor Kirstie watches as cleaning takes place in T1

Our Kaims Krew are getting their gear together- The bell tent needs to go up and the tea paraphernalia need to be ready before work can begin. In the meantime, they are checking over the equipment and ensuring that everything is in working order.


Graeme Young brings everyone up to date on current archaeological best practice.

We’ll be working hard to keep you up to date with our season, so make sure you follow us on Twitter @brparchaeology, Facebook on our fan page and our new Instagram will show photos fresh from the trenches.

Meet the Staff of the BRP 2012: Trench 1

As part of the blog thread ‘Meet the Staff of BRP 2012’ I asked all the BRP staff if they could put a few paragraphs together about their hopes for the forthcoming season. We have heard from Graeme and Gerry, our Project Directors, and the staff working out at the prehistoric wetland site, near the Bradford Kaims (To see the Kaims post click here). So today we are moving to the West Ward of Bamburgh Castle to meet the staff of Trench 1. Archaeology Supervisor, Alex Stevens will be over-seeing the day-to-day running of the trench, with the help of former BRP student, Jessica Garrett, who is one of our new Assistant Supervisors.

Picture of T1, facing south.


To see Alex’s profile from last year please click here.

I’m definitely looking forward to the 2012 season. It’s going to be my first as a supervisor at Bamburgh, something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now! Trench 1 has really been evolving over the last few seasons, and I think we’ll see some really exciting developments this year as well. With new features turning up all over the place, and old ones starting to make more sense, it should be a really good year.

Alex ‘supervising’ at T1.

As well as on-site excitement, this year is promising to be better than ever back at camp as well. Electricity in the mess tent? Magical! Christ we have simple pleasures don’t we? I’m also looking forward to a highly productive forging season. Our efforts last year showed how good we can be with the right tools, I’m thinking we could actually make something useful this year! Bring on the noise.

The foon. One of our more interesting forged (I use the term loosely!) creations


Not long till BRP 12 guys! I have missed the place, the people and the trenches loads and can’t wait to get dug in soon. As nervous as I am for giving the assistant supervisor role a shot, I am really looking forward to the challenge and I hope that I get to grips with it quickly … bare with me guys. I mainly want to give the students the best BRP experience possible through increasing their knowledge, skills and confidence in the archaeology and excavation techniques, whilst making sure they have an ace time in Trench 1, as well as in their spare time.

Jess moosing around in T1.

Just as Alex has mentioned, I have already anticipated the highlight of the season being the ‘Big Lights Switch On’ in the mess tent, which I know is going to equate to the popularity of the annual Blackpool lights and I strongly feel there should be an after party for this amazing event. Get involved.

More to follow in the next two weeks before the start of season.

Excavation Season 2012: Project Director’s Overview

Here at the BRP we are beginning to gear up for our annual training excavation at Bamburgh Castle and its environs, commencing June 3rd. Over the next few weeks we will hearing from staff about their hopes for the season. To kick start the blog thread Project Director, Gerry Twomey, tells us about his plans for the Media output this year.

Gerry’s Thoughts: Media 2012

Over the course of the year we have been looking into ways the project can develop it’s education potential. We have recently been accepted as one of the few independent non university providers of content to Apple’s iTunes U store, so we will be spending time over the season developing that site and creating content for future courses that we hope to make available to students as part of the BRP experience.

The popularity of Jo’s blog has led us to take a new approach to the project videography, with a view to producing more regular short on site video updates in addition to our long term project video record.

Gerry capturing the dig as it happens.

We’re gradually moving away from tape based media to SD and CF card formats which is a big change for us as we will soon no longer be generating a physical video archive.  The advantage is lossless high quality files that are easily labelled during capture, but they take up a great deal of disk space so we’ve decided to cross convert them to our standard HDV file formats. One of the problems BRP faces in the near future is the effective management of its digital data archives, which mainly comes down to the expense of large hard drives and their backups. Ultimately, our archives will need to be ingested into appropriate county archives. This season, we will begin to digitise the remainder of the tape archive that has previously not been digitised, with the aim of creating a master archive of the project video.

We’re hoping that more schools and volunteers will take up the media challenge to edit stills and video from the Kaims, and we will be hosting sessions for volunteers to have a go at crafting narratives from the existing footage, and video they generate themselves (To see an example of previous volunteer work click here). I’m also excited to be going up to the University of Stirling in the next few weeks to film the lab work associated with the coring that Richard Tipping and our volunteers have been doing recently. Click here to see the coring in the field.

The seemingly endless post-production of our feature length documentary about the Hope Taylor excavations is now roughly complete, pending narration and music recording. We hope to make the film available in the near future, at conferences and festivals, with a commercial release as the ultimate aim. This has been a labour of love for a long time and very many people have contributed to it over the years. It is to be hoped we will have a premiere in Newcastle before the 2013 season.

More to follow as the season draws near.