I teach in a range of medieval subjects, as well as in the practical aspects of artefact studies. I run lots of hands-on work with objects from the museum, as well as teaching lectures and seminars, particularly on the subjects of Vikings. I am also Chair of the Board of Studies, which means that I oversee all the teaching in the department, and will be one of the members of staff that new students see a lot of.
Like all our staff, I'm an active researcher in the subjects I teach, which means that students get to discuss the latest ideas about Viking-Age craft, trade, or identity as soon as they're published, and are privy to my own ideas even before they go to press. This makes both research and teaching really rewarding.
However, for me the real pleasure is the supervision process. At York, we develop close relationships with students over their three years with us, helping them to settle in at first, and then checking they are progressing well in their studies and getting involved in extra-curricular activities, supporting and encouraging them, and ultimately pointing them to advice on careers and further study. The result of this is that we see our students growing up, becoming more confident, and more aware of the world around them. They thus leave us better prepared not just for working in the 21st century, but also for living in it.
York is a wonderful place to live and work; it is so beautiful, with so much to do, and anyone who stays here for any time at all will find themselves wanting to stay. But for the archaeologist, it is a dream. Not only is our department itself in a wonderful historic building, but it is flanked by the remains of a medieval abbey on one side, and Europe's largest Gothic cathedral on the other. There are medieval walls on every corner, Romans under every paving stone, and glimpses of a thriving viking metropolis waiting to be revealed whenever anyone digs a hole.
That's not to mention the landscape of settlements, monuments and burial mounds that lies just beyond the city on the moors and wolds. Together, the city and the countryside that surrounds it make up a living archaeological resource, and it's all right on our doorstep. All of this inspires our research and our teaching, and provides a nice local counterpoint to what is a truly international department.