What do our archaeology graduates do after they leave the University of Manchester? #2 Jon’s Story

CaptureBy John Piprani

Continuing my exploration of what our UoM Archaeology graduates are doing now, this is Jon Dobbie’s story. I met Jon in the lab when he was working on his dissertation that was stone tool based. From analysing stone tools in the lab Jon has moved on to digging them out of the ground. This is how Jon became a man out standing in his field.

What are you doing now?

I am currently working as a field archaeologist at Cotswold Archaeology based in Andover.

What is the best bit about your job?

I enjoy many aspects of it, for example when we were fortunate enough to dig the ditches of a barrow cemetery, the satisfaction of seeing the end product of your work. This is also complemented on seeing how a site gradually pieces together during and after excavation. Also being lucky enough to be involved in some of the Palaeolithic sites we work on.

What is the worst aspect!

December, January and February! Working away for long periods can be tough.

What did you do at UoM? (Archaeology? Museology? Degree? Masters? PhD?)

I studied a BA in Archaeology.

How long since you graduated?

I graduated in 2016.

How well did UoM prepare you for your current role?

Very well. There is only so much you can be prepared for without actually doing it. But most companies are aware of this and train you appropriately. I also involved myself in projects which were not compulsory to the course.

What was the most valuable aspect of your education to you?

It’s tough to select a particular thing, in fact it was the combination of a wide range of aspects of my education that was valuable. I would say that for me the fieldwork was key in the fact it gave me a platform for further study and helped with my dissertation, but I suppose it depends on the direction you wish to pursue within the subject.

What is the most important advice you would give to a younger you wanting to work in archaeology?

Get involved with as many projects as possible. If fieldwork is an area you wish to pursue, it is valuable to contact companies over the summer to see if they have any work you can be involved in, to give you that foot in the door when it comes time to get work. Don’t be afraid to ask the department to be involved in extra-curricular work and attempt to focus upon your areas of interest. I have been fortunate enough to remain involved with the Jersey project, a dig the UoM was working on and is still ongoing. This is due to my constant pestering, plus involvement with the team who worked on it, many of whom also work for commercial units. This dig takes place in the summer, and I have been told that to some people it seems strange that I take a holiday from digging, to go and dig!

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