In previous installments of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame I recognised the work of a pair of living history dudes – Stuart Strong and Adam Parsons – and the research of Dr Catrine Jarman. In this part 3, I honour the endeavours of just-doctored Brian Costello, who earlier this week passed his PhD viva voce examination. The examination evaluated his PhD thesis exploring ‘heirlooms’ in early Anglo-Saxon period graves from Kent: “The Heirloom Factor Revisited: Curated Objects and Social Memory in Early Medieval Mortuary Practices.”

I tweeted celebrations and even pulled together a TikTok video in Brian’s honour. But it makes sense to take this one step further and create a YouTube video and blog too. Attaining the highest-possible qualification in a UK university is no mean feat. The event is central to Brian’s life and career, but for me it has been a privilege and pleasure too.

In addition, Brian and I recently co-authored a chapter for an edited book titled ‘Rethinking heirlooms in early medieval graves‘ in the book ‘Objects of the Past in the Past: Investigating the significance of earlier artefacts in later contexts (edited by M.G. Knight, D. Boughton and R. E. Wilkinson).

As well as a former history teacher and now an experienced archaeological researcher, Brian has been presenting his research on early medieval burial practice but also his experimental beer-making! He is also an experienced teacher in archaeology, especially through his work on our first-year course ‘The Archaeology of the British Isles’. Brian has also been an unswerving supporter of mine in the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory and other public engagement events, including University Archaeology Day.

In his spare time, among other things he is an amateur boxer. So rather than liken him to a rock star directly, I simply provide links to two Rocky-related songs: Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and James Brown’s Living in America.

How does it feel when there’s no destination that’s too far
And somewhere on the way you might find out who you are?

Good luck for the future, Brian!