I’m a field archaeologist with over 20 years’ experience across the commercial and research sectors. I specialise in the excavation, recording and analysis of archaeological wood, with a strong interest in woodland exploitation and management as well as prehistoric woodworking technology. I hold a BSc (Hons) in Archaeology from UCL (2006), an MA by Research in Archaeology from the University of York (2018), as well as honorary research positions at the University of York and the University of Sheffield. I’ve been a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists since 2015 and serve on the ICOMOS-UK Wood Committee.
I started my career as a field archaeologist in 1997 at the Bronze Age site of Flag Fen, which led into a career in commercial archaeology and laid the foundations for my work as a wood specialist. I worked for a variety of units in East Anglia and London, latterly in Project Manager roles. During this time, I continued to work as a specialist on waterlogged wood assemblages and stayed involved with research at Flag Fen (co-editing the 2010 monograph for the site).
Since 2011, I’ve worked as a freelance archaeological wood specialist, undertaking work for a broad range of commercial units and university departments. Recently this has included excavation and analysis of the structural and artefactual wood assemblages at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr (University of York), and the Late Bronze Age site of Must Farm (Cambridge Archaeological Unit).
My time as an archaeologist started in the waterlogged environment of the East Anglian Fens and has continued to be focused around wetland environments and waterlogged burial contexts. I maintain my own research interests outside of my commercial contracts, exploring human-plant relationships within the woodlands that were so key to their way of life and their understanding of the world they inhabited.
My primary research interests lie in exploring the development of woodworking technologies in Britain, and the transfer of technical knowledge as expressed through woodworking. I also have a keen interest in landscape division, routeways and trackways, post alignments and bridges.
My early years working in archaeology were strongly influenced by my time at Flag Fen, where I established an on-going collaborative relationship with Maisie Taylor, and developed my interests and expertise in wetland archaeology and the analysis of waterlogged wood.
My principal regional focus is East Anglia, though I have worked extensively throughout the United Kingdom and in Northern Ireland. On a day-to-day basis, my work incorporates on- and off-site recording and sub-sampling of waterlogged wooden remains, and post-excavation assessment and analysis with a focus on species utilisation, woodworking technology, woodworking debris and tool mark analysis.
Must Farm: Cambridge Archaeological Unit have been excavating at Must Farm since 2006. During this time, substantial wooden remains have been encountered. These have included an assemblage of nine dug out boats from within a Bronze Age Palaeo-channel and an enigmatic pallisaded settlement site that came to an end in a catastrophic fire.
Flag Fen: I have been involved with Flag Fen since my first summer digging at the site in 1996. Sine then, I've overseen several seasons of research excavations on site and co-edited the most recent monograph alongside Francis Pryor. In 2011 I returned to the site as a Co Director with Dig Ventures to help deliver Europe's first crowd funded, crowd sourced archaeological excavation.
Star Carr: I've been working on the ERC funded POSTGLACIAL project at Star Carr, under Prof. Nicky Milner since 2013. This has been a fantastic opportunity to be part of a team investigating a site with some of the earliest evidence for carpentry seen in the UK.
Michael is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.
Michael sits on the Flag Fen Archaeology Advisory Group.