Introducing the 2017 Bradford Kaims Staff

Paul Gething – Site Director


I’m Paul. I believe that good PPE is the key to good excavation.

Post-script by Tom Gardner; Other than being flippant in return emails, Paul Gething is from Yorkshire, has been a professional archaeologist for many decades, and directs our excavations with suitable aplomb and style. When not excavating, Paul is a school governor and magistrate, as well as a writer who has published widely upon the medieval period and the history of Northumbria. He likes ale and fun & games.

Tom Gardner – Project Officer


Hi. I’m Tom, and I’m from Glasgow in Scotland. I am a PhD student in Geoarchaeology at the University of Edinburgh. I have been working at the Bradford Kaims for 6 years, after coming as a student in 2012. What I love most about the project is the camaraderie between staff and students on site, and in our post-work social scene. I am in charge of overseeing the archaeological investigations at the Kaims, and this allows me to get stuck in to the soil science, as is my want. Outside of work, I enjoy sitting around in the campsite having a quiet drink, and participating in the many pub quizzes of Belford.

Rachel Brewer – Project Manager

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Hello, everyone, I’m Rachel Brewer and I’m from Illinois, U.S.A.  After participating as a student in 2014 and working as an assistant supervisor in 2016, I’m excited to be back with the Bradford Kaims Project in the role of Project Manager.  I have a B.A. in History from Southern Illinois University and an M.A. in Archaeology from Cardiff University, Wales.  I’m particularly interested in the Anglo-Saxons and early medieval pottery, but I’ve enjoyed the excavation opportunities, work environment and people at the BRP so much that I keep returning! Back home I work as a secondary English teacher, but I love being involved in fieldwork during the summer holidays. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you!

Rachel Moss – Trench 6 Supervisor


I’m Rachel – otherwise known as ‘Moss’ – and I will be returning to the Bradford Kaims this year as a supervisor. I first started excavating at the Kaims as a student in 2014 and have been coming back ever since. I have spent most of my time at the site in Trench 6 and can’t wait to discover more of its secrets this year. I also love the experimental archaeology we carry out every season, from making pottery to brewing prehistoric beer.

I am currently studying for my undergraduate degree in archaeology from the University of Edinburgh. In my spare time I enjoy reading, good food, travel, and trips to St Mary’s to watch Southampton FC whenever I’m at home down south.

I can’t wait to get back for the start of this season and meet all the students and community volunteers coming to join us!

Anna Finneran – Coring Supervisor


Hi, I’m Anna and I’m from Maryland. I completed a BA and MA at Durham University and this autumn I am returning to Durham to begin a PhD. I first joined the BRP as a student in 2014. This year I will be assisting Dr. Richard Tipping.

Charlie Kerwin – Trench 42 Supervisor

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I’m Charlie and I have just moved back home to London after finishing my undergraduate degree in BSc Archaeology at the University of Nottingham. This will be my fourth year at the BRP, I first came to the BRP as a student in 2014 and became a staff member in 2016 when I undertook the role of Assistant Supervisor on the South Side of the Bradford Kaims. I’m excited to be returning this year as Supervisor of the South Side. In my academic studies my main interest was not actually within prehistoric archaeology, rather they lay within gender archaeology and the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval periods. However, the incredible preservation offered by the wetland conditions at the Bradford Kaims immediately caught my interest and has kept me coming back. Although I am looking forward to overseeing the South Side and I am keenly anticipating what archaeological features will be uncovered during this season’s excavations, it is really the people that have made me return year after year. I’m always thrilled to get to see and work with the great team at the Kaims each season and I am also looking forward to getting to know all the new people who will be visiting the project.

After this season, I’m hoping to continue my education. However, I am leaving the field of Archaeology (with some regret) to pursue an MSc in Development Studies at SOAS University of London.

Franzi Leja – Trench 42 Assistant Supervisor


In my fourth year of returning to this amazing project, I once again put my studies in Bamberg, Germany to a little rest and look forward to the experiences awaiting me and everyone attending the BRP. At my home university I currently work at the department of Geoarchaeology analysing charcoal and am writing my bachelor thesis about vegetation reconstruction. My role in this year’s season will be the assistant supervisor to Trench 9 and Trench 11 at the Bradford Kaims. Our plans and hopes for 2017, including new survey methods, got me extra excited and I cannot wait to reunite with old friends and meet new ones!

Katie Walker – Trench 6 Assistant Supervisor


I am Katie, and I am from Inverness. I am currently finishing my 3rd year at the university of Edinburgh. This year I am an assistant supervisor in Trench 6 at the Bradford Kaims. I am most looking forward to the mighty craic!

Becky Scott- Assistant Supervisor


I’m Becky and I will be returning to the Kaims this year as an Assistant Supervisor because I enjoyed my time here so much in 2015! I have an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and have recently finished an MSc in Environmental Archaeology at the University of Reading where I will be starting my PhD in September. My main interests are Palaeolithic (particularly Lower Paleolithic) and Mesolithic environments, and the use of terrestrial carbonates in archaeology.  I hope you enjoy this photo of me in my element on the coast of Wales looking for Mesolithic footprints. Hopefully the weather at the Kaims will be slightly better than this…

Cuthbert – Dog

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I am Cuthbert. I joined the team in 2015. I’m a dog and I’m friendly but quite slobbery. My favourite type of site is one with a ball.

Kaims crew, assemble!

Today Kaims Supervisor Graham Dixon reports on the first couple of weeks down at the Bradford Kaims

The Kaims is wet, we all know this. Trench 6 is located next to and in a peat bog. Mix this with a months worth of fairly constant rainfall, and we have something like this.

Trench 6, cleaned up and ready for photography…wait what?

What better time than now to open a new trench in the middle of Embleton’s Bog?

A couple of weeks before the start of the season, the Kaims played host to ex project member Graeme Atwood and Jimmy Adcock of GSB Prospection Ltd. The team of geophysicians ran a magnetometry survey over a spit of raised land which kicks out into Embleton’s Bog, the intention being to find more possible areas of occupation which relate to our already ever expanding site. Magnetometry surveys measure and map out the patterns of relative magnetism in the soil, often affected in the past by burning and the movement of soil. The results were very positive.

The geophysics map of the Bradford Kaims new site, courtesy of GSB.

 The circular, red anomaly represents an area of burning, which we hoped would prove to be similar to that already unearthed in trench 6. With permission from the land owner of the next door field, and a rare sunny day overhead, the Kaims team started to de-turf.

At the suggestion of the geophysics team, a 2 metre by 20 metre trench was plotted out cutting right through the middle of this anomaly. Our intention was to uncover either end of the area of burning in order to understand its extent fully. Just below the topsoil in what is now Trench 42, approximately 15 cm down, we came onto the burnt layer, paydirt. Kaims aficionados may recognise how similar the dark, burnt layer of soil is to what we have found in the previous seasons overlying the paved hearth feature in Trench 6. Again this has turned out to be packed full of broken up burnt stone. And in the middle of this, right at the centre, lying on one of its narrow edges, appeared a large flat slab of stone.

The stone slab from Trench 42, just after deturfing.

While only a few inches of this is currently visible out of the bottom of the trench, the mere presence of an unnaturally placed upright stone is enough excite your average archaeologist. Just poking out of the soil, the stone also looks like it has been pierced, as there is a circular hole in one side. This is not shown on its opposite side, as we have not dug downwards like the antiquarians of old, but this will be resolved as soon as the time is right. Our first thoughts, a Bronze Age cist burial. These are formed by placing large slabs into a box shape. These are held together by the weight of the stones, along with smaller packing stones beneath the soil they are in. I hasten to add at this point that it is difficult to tell anything for certain, however a cist burial, cut into an area of burnt and cracked stone would be a great piece of archaeology for our students to witness, and learn from. While no secure dating evidence has come out of the new trench so far, cist burials are generally seen in the Bronze Age. This would make it far from contemporary with our middle to late Stone Age site in the field next door. Having said this, it would be great to find that the site has been used and re-used for multiple phases of occupation throughout the past.

More to follow, but till then, Kaims out.