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Dr Caroline Pudney, from 1st Sept. 2014, our new Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Chester

This post serves as an informal ‘welcome’ to my new archaeology colleague: Dr Caroline Pudney.

A Brief History of Archaeology at Chester

Some back-story. In recent years there has been a significant growth in teaching and research in archaeology and heritage in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester. Our staff numbers have increased to reflect this.

Until relatively recently we were one part-time archaeologist, then one full-time archaeologist (from 2004), then two archaeologists (from 2006), then three (from 2010), then four (from 2013). We are now four archaeologists – Dr Meggen Gondek, Dr Amy Gray JonesDr Barry Taylor and myself (Professor Howard Williams) – plus heritage specialist Dr James Pardoe. Throughout this period, our work has been supported in different ways by a range of active associate and honorary affiliates and visiting lecturers from the region and farther afield.

This last academic year (2013-14), our staff has been further enhanced by the addition of early medieval archaeologist Dr Adrian Maldonado who has been busy taking over my teaching duties whilst I have been on research leave. This coming academic year (2014-15) Adrian is temporarily replacing Dr Meggen Gondek.

A further addition came at the beginning of 2014 with the appointment of Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores as Senior Research Fellow connected with European Research Council project The Past in its Place. 

I think it is fair to say that these developments have helped to put Chester very firmly on the archaeological map.

A New Appointment

Against this positive background we were all delighted to recently receive the go-ahead to advertise and appoint a fifth full-time archaeology lecturer to specialise in the fields of Iron Age and/or Roman archaeology. Filling this new post from September 2014 is Dr Caroline Pudney, a specialist in late Iron Age and early Roman Britain.

Who is Caroline?

Caroline is very much a new and rising star in the archaeological firmament. She graduated from Cardiff University with a BA (Hons) Ancient History and Archaeology degree in 2005 and went on to gain an MA Archaeology from the University of Reading in 2006. Her PhD was completed at Cardiff University in 2011, entitled “Environments of Change: Social Identity and Material Culture in the Seven Estuary from the First Century BC to the Second Century AD”.

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Dr Caroline Pudney working at Llanmelin hill-fort (image from ITV website).

From April 2012, Caroline has been working as the CBA Community Archaeology Training Placement before being seconded in April 2013 to become Cadw’s community archaeologist. In this latest role, Caroline has been involved in many projects and dimensions of Wales’s archaeology including her role as supervisor for Cadw/CPAT excavations at the deserted medieval settlement at Hen Caerwys, Flintshire and Cadw excavations at Llanmelin hill-fort, Gwent, which has involved collaboration with Operation Nightingale (assisting in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers).

What will Caroline be doing in her new position?

In the coming years, as a Lecturer in Archaeology, Caroline will be actively researching her interests in late Iron Age and Roman archaeology. She will also be contributing to the teaching of archaeology undergraduate and Masters level programmes in the Department.

Given the rich Roman heritage of Chester and its environs, it is exciting indeed to have our collective heritage and archaeological expertise augmented by Caroline’s. So my colleagues and I wish to warmly welcome Caroline to the Department of History and Archaeology, the University of Chester and to the city and its region.

What of Archaeodeath?

For my regular Archaeodeath readers and to give fair warning to Caroline, I should say that while Caroline’s research has principally focused on the settlement archaeology, material culture and landscapes during the complex process of transition from Iron Age to Roman Britain, I will be cunningly seeking ways to encourage her to apply her expertise to more mortuary matters… Be warned Caroline!