Dr Tim Evans
HERALD Project Manager + Digital Archivist



I originally started at the ADS in a short-term post designed to manage the integration of all ALSF archaeology projects into the ADS archive and website. Twelve years later I'm still here, and alongside core ADS duties I'm managing the HERALD project (the redevelopment of OASIS), take the lead on larger database and web map-driven projects such as the Roman Rural Settlement of Britain [https://doi.org/10.5284/1030449], and teaching on the MSc in Archaeological Information Systems. Thanks to my participation in the ArchAIDE project, I've also developed an (unhealthy) interest in the practical and conceptual classifications of pottery types, particularly Amphorae.

My PhD was based on examining the investigative and publication histories of archaeological excavation in England, and as a consequence I've developed an interest in the historiographical and epistemological foundations of archaeological practice. I'm also interested in the potential of unpublished fieldwork reports (so-called 'grey literature') and digital archives in dissemination strategies, alongside the practical issues of archiving such as sustainability of file formats (notably the PDF).

Prior to joining the ADS I worked in commercial archaeology for 6 years, primarily at Birmingham Archaeology (formerly BUFAU), working on a range of urban and rural sites across the West Midlands and beyond. The highlight being the multidisciplinary study at Catholme, Staffordshire [https://doi.org/10.5284/1000311]. In my younger days I also had the fortune to work extensively overseas, including excavation and survey projects in Cyprus, Italy and Egypt.

Away from computers and archaeology, I drink tea, enjoy watching and listening to cricket, follow the fortunes and (more often) misfortunes of Everton Football Club, try to complete cryptic crosswords, and wonder about what really happened to the Arteta money.



PhD thesis: Holes in the Archaeological Record: investigating 'unpublished' sites from modern excavations in England and the potential for the advancement and loss of archaeological knowledge


Supervisor: Prof. Julian Richards

The broad research aim of this thesis is to study the phenomenon of the 'unpublished excavation' in post-war England and assess its potential impact on how archaeology is practiced in the country, from planning and guidance to research and teaching.
This broad objective includes a number of subsidiary aims, the most important of which is to provide a historical and theoretical background to the study in order to establish what is meant by 'unpublished'. It will aim, by an analysis and discussion of the available literature, to identify several key themes in modern/post-war archaeological practice and publication in England.


The thesis also aims to establish whether unpublished – and indeed published – sites can be quantified at a local or national level. It will achieve this by attempting to draw up a definitive gazetteer of all archaeological interventions undertaken in three counties (Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and Surrey), and identifying the literary output of each. By classifying these types of output at a detailed level (specifically the different types of 'grey literature') it will also study and identify cultural trends in publication. These trends may, it is hoped, provide further information regarding temporal or geographical bias for unpublished sites; for example is non-publication a problem confined to urban areas with complex stratigraphy? This will also be extended to look at the economic and social background to excavations; the comparative levels of publication from urban re-development and industry prompted excavation. Furthermore, the thesis will also aim to identify potential historical or methodological bias within the datasets studied, for example is there a difference in output between large open area excavations with high post-excavation costs as opposed to small targeted interventions?

Inherent in all this will be the continuing theme of research value: are sites published because they are typical of their type, or tell us more about a specific period or place? By the same logic, are sites not published because they are relatively unimportant? The thesis will also aim to look at the differences in publication outputs in the archaeological 'information flow', and if this has had an adverse effect on planning mitigation or research. Associated with this is the idea of archaeological 'black-holes'; is it possible that data has been lost, or is in the process of being lost, and what does this mean for archaeology as an academic discipline and as an important part of the planning process?

Research group(s)

Archaeological Information Systems

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Contact details

Dr Tim Evans
Digital Archivist
Archaeology Data Service
University of York
The King's Manor




1st Year:

Contributor: Excavation Module

2nd Year:

Contributor: Research Skills


Module leader: Archaeological Information Systems (Digital publication and web technologies)

Contributor: Cultural Heritage Management




Selected publications

Claridge, A., Pakkanen, J. and Evans, T. (2016) Laurnentine Shore Project (Castelporziano, Rome). Papers of the British School at Rome 84, pp. 307–320. doi:10.1017/S0068246216000222

Evans, T.N.L. (2016) Twilight over England? Archaeological Excavation in England 1938–1945. European Journal of Archaeology 19(2), pp. 335-359. doi:10.1179/1461957115Y.0000000013

Evans, T.N.L. (2015) A Reassessment of Archaeological Grey Literature: semantics and paradoxes. Internet Archaeology 40. doi:10.11141/ia.40.6

Evans, T.N.L. and Moore, R.H. (2014) Beyond the 'Preserving Machine': Promoting Use and Reuse of Grey Literature and Grey Data. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 29.2, pp.226-243.

Evans, T.N.L. and Moore, R.H. (2014) The Use of PDF/A in Digital Archives: A Case Study from Archaeology. International Journal of Digital Curation 9:2, pp. 123-138. doi:10.2218/ijdc.v9i2.267

Evans, T.N.L. (2014) An Undiscovered Country? A History of Archaeological Investigation in Post-War England. Insights provided by Digital Resources'. In: Clare Mills, Michael Pidd and Esther Ward. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. Studies in the Digital Humanities. Sheffield: HRI Online Publications, 2014. Available online at: http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/openbook/chapter/dhc2012-evans

Evans, T.N.L. (2013) Holes in the Archaeological Record? A Comparison of National Event Databases for the Historic Environment in England. The Historic Environment 4:1, pp. 19-34.

Moore, R.H. and Evans, T.N.L. (2013) Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive. Information Standards Quarterly, 25:3, pp. 20-27. doi:10.3789/isqv25no3.2013.04