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About Dr Jo Kirton

I am currently Youth Engagement Manager for the Council for British Archaeology. This is a project management role based at one of the leading archaeological and educational charities in the country. Her work focuses on developing and delivering opportunities for 8-25 year-olds to engage with archaeology, heritage and history across the UK, which includes the management of the Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC).

I am an accredited member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (ACIfA) and committee member of the New Generation Special Interest Group, which focusses on supporting and developing pathways for early career archaeologists. I am also a member of the Heritage 2020 Public Engagement Group and volunteer admin for the Enabled Archaeology Foundation.

My PhD explored the early medieval sculpture of the NW of England, re-characterising the region's sculpture through the contextualisation of these monuments within their landscape settings. I remain active in this area and welcome collaborative projects in this field.

My current research focus is the excavation and subsequent publication of Bamburgh Castle and its environs. As co-director of the Bamburgh Research Project, I run an annual field school and undertakes post-excavation throughout the year.

Teaching

Professional Employment and Teaching

Youth Engagement Manager (F/T)

2018-Present, Council for British Archaeology (CBA)

As Youth Engagement Manager for the CBA I am responsible for the delivery and development of the Young Archaeologists’ Club, working with CBA volunteers, YAC members and CBA colleagues, and lead the development of the CBA’s wider work with young people, ensuring the interests of young people are reflected in all our activities. This has resulted in the creation of long-term consultation projects and a proactive steering group.

I project manage the development and delivery of long-term and sustainable relationships with key project partners and stakeholders and seek new partnerships to further access to, and engagement with, the Young Archaeologists’ Club and other youth focused projects. Current partnerships include English Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Historic England, the Portable Antiquities Scheme and Archaeology Scotland.  I also sit on several working groups, including CIfA’s NGSIG and the Heritage 2020 Public Engagement Group.

I am also responsible for developing and leading training for our YAC volunteers, members and young people, whilst identifying and promoting ways to recognise the skills and experience of stakeholders.

Responsibility for the communication strategy also falls to the Youth Engagement Manager. This includes the creation and implementation of a comms. strategy, utilising social media platforms, websites and print media where appropriate. In addition, I maintain and develop YAC’s digital presence to support the development of resources for YAC branch sessions, updating the YAC Leaders’ Handbook and associated policies in collaboration with the CBA Business Support Administrator.

The role also involves the development of income generation opportunities to grants and trusts, commercial sponsors and individual donations.  

Project Manager (F/T)

2014 – 2018, Big Heritage CIC

As Project Manager I was responsible for acquiring funding, planning, implementation and reporting of multiple archaeological and heritage projects. The types of projects vary from commercial undertakings to community focused research ventures and the curation of temporary and permanent museum exhibitions. I was responsible for organising staffing for each project and managing their outputs. 

On a daily basis, I had a number of varied responsibilities, including working with consultants, stakeholders, community partners and volunteers, costing, organising, managing and delivering projects, and evaluating projects to meet stakeholder requirements. 

A significant element of this work involved the preparation of desk-based assessments and preparing WSI’s, including those required for Scheduled Monument Consent. I planned and directed all aspects of archaeological investigation, including survey, test pitting and open-area excavation. This was often undertaken as a teaching exercise for individuals of all ages and abilities. Upon completion of field work, I was responsible for the processing of archaeological material assemblages in preparation for specialist reports, synthesising this information into broader excavation reports and preparing project archives for deposition with local museums. In addition, many of the community archaeology projects also involved teaching volunteers the basics of post-excavation and how to curate temporary exhibits. I also worked closely with local museum services to secure funding to process commercial archives, to design and deliver temporary and permanent museum displays and support a programme of volunteer involvement. 

Administrator           

2018 – Present, Enabled Archaeology Foundation (EAF)

As a member of the CIfA’s Equality and Diversity group and the BRP’s field school I became aware of the EAF and their ambitions to become a registered charity aimed at supporting and facilitating those with visible and invisible disabilities employed within archaeology. I am now working as the EAF’s administrator and as such undertook a successful application to become a registered charity in England and Wales, part of which including creating the functions and processes required to achieve their charitable aims. The primary tasks at present include liaising with volunteers and trustees, creating project management systems and applying for funding.

Visiting Lecturer

2010-2013, University of Chester

I delivered two modules and guest taught on a number of others, averaging 8 hours a week. These modules were delivered through lectures, tutorials, computer lab work, practical sessions and fieldwork. I assessed and marked for the modules and I was responsible for managing module support staff. I was also responsible for creating the learning resources, including PowerPoint presentations, activities, week-long practical training exercises, the module handbook and writing exams (Examples upon request). 

This is a role for which I was nominated by my students for the ‘Most Inspiring Lecturer Award’.

  • Introduction to Practical Archaeology – Level 4 double module (course leader)
  • Debates in World Archaeology – Level 4 single module (joint course leader)
  • Medieval Britain – Level 5 single module (contributor)
  • For Those About to Rock – Level 6 module (contributor)

Research

Research

Research Interests

Biography of early medieval stone sculpture and associated landscapes; methodological and theoretical approaches to early medieval sculpture and material culture; landscape in early medieval northern Europe; the archaeology of early medieval northern Britain and Ireland; public and community archaeology; disability, archaeology and non-traditional audience engagement.

 

PhD

PhD in Archaeology, 2010 – 2015, University of Chester 

Title: Sculpture and Place: a Biographical Approach to Early Medieval Stone Sculpture in Cheshire

Abstract: Researching early medieval stone sculpture has long been enabled and constrained by approaches devised and subsequently honed over the last century focusing on form and ornamentation. These approaches largely prioritise the physical appearance of sculptural fragments, often distancing them from their physical and cognitive contexts in which they operated from their creation to the present.

This thesis brings together popular strands of research from other areas of archaeology - landscape, biography, materiality and monumentality - to explore how early medieval stone sculpture operated in place and time, from their construction through processes of use and reuse. The study recognises that sculpture did not function independent of physical location or the socio-political context with which it was connected and that many sculptures have life-histories which can be charted through individual monuments, assemblages of sculpture, and regional patterns.

Using a tenth-/eleventh-century assemblage from Cheshire, the biographies of the county’s early medieval monuments and architectural fragments are explored in relation to their physical location and the local historical frameworks with which they are connected. Through this original and distinctive approach, Cheshire's corpus of early medieval stone sculpture is both revisited and reinterpreted to emphasis the power of place and the biographies of stone sculpture.

 

Research Projects

Director

2014 – Present, Bamburgh Research Project

The Bamburgh Research Project explores the environs of Bamburgh Castle through survey and excavation. Sites include the multi-period castle complex, an early medieval settlement and a multi-period prehistoric wetland. The project focuses on teaching visiting students the basics of excavation and post-excavation. Prior to becoming a director, I was responsible for the excavation and recording of several trenches. Whilst co-ordinating the excavations I also taught the projects visiting students the archaeological process through tutorials and hands-on activities, combining both research and educational outputs for the project and its students. This included recording and processing multi-period material recovered prior to specialist analysis and preparation for long-term storage and museum display.

My current role focusses on securing funding to undertake the post-excavation analysis and write up of this large multi-phase site and engage new stakeholders and community partners. Having secured funding for several discrete research projects, I am now in the process of writing up the excavation reports and creating future research agendas for the project. My secondary role is to organise the annual field school with my co-directors and to disseminate the projects outputs via social media and the project blog, whilst maintaining the website. 

Research Funding

2018 – Mick Aston Archaeology Fund as PI (on behalf of Bamburgh Research Project): £988

2018 – Society of Antiquaries of London as PI (on behalf of Bamburgh Research Project): £4704

2018 – Heritage Lottery Fund (on behalf of Big Heritage, Autism Together and the Land Trust – joint applicants): £500,000 of which £180,000 is directed towards an archaeological research project

2017 – Royal Archaeological Institute as PI (on behalf of the Bamburgh Research Project): £3030

2016 – Mick Aston Archaeology Fund as PI (on behalf of Big Heritage): £1000

2016 – Association for Roman Archaeology as PI (on behalf of Big Heritage): £650

2012 – Royal Archaeological Institute as PI (on behalf of Bamburgh Research Project): £4700

2011 – The Runes, Monuments and Memorial Carvings Network as PI: £450

2010 – Cox-Thompson PhD Scholarship: £48,000

2008 – Durham University Taught Masters Bursaries: £2000

Published Work

A detailed academic and grey-literature publication list can be viewed on ORCID:

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9664-2507 

Books

  • Williams, H., Kirton, J. and Gondek, M. 2015. Early Medieval Stone Monuments: Materiality, Biography, Landscape, Martlesham: The Boydell Press

Book Chapters

  • Kirton, J. 2015. ‘Locating the Cleulow Cross, Materiality, Place and Landscape’, in Williams, H., Kirton, J. and Gondek, M. 2015. Early Medieval Stone Monuments: Materiality, Biography, Landscape, 35-61, Martlesham: The Boydell Press

Journal Articles

  • Kirton, J. and Young, G. 2017. Excavations at Bamburgh: New Revelations in Light of Recent Investigations at the Core of the Castle Complex, Archaeological Journal, 174(1), 145-210
  • Kirton, J. and Young, G. 2012. An Anglo-Saxon Mortar-mixer at Bamburgh Castle, Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th Series, 251-8 

Literature Reviews

  • Kirton, J. 2018. Manx Crosses. By David. M. Wilson, Medieval Archaeology
  • Kirton, J. 2017. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, Volume XII. Nottinghamshire. By Paul Everson and David Stocker, Medieval Archaeology, 61(2), 436-98
  • Kirton, J. 2016. Middle Saxon Settlement and Society: The Changing Rural Communities of Central and Eastern England, by Duncan Wright, Archaeological Journal, 174(2), 492-493
  • Kirton, J. 2014. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Volume X: The Western Midlands. By Richard Bryant, Early Medieval Europe, 22(2), 237-8
  • Kirton, J. 2014. Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture Volume IX: Cheshire and Lancashire. By Richard N. Bailey, Early Medieval Europe, 22(1), 90-1
  • Kirton, J. 2014. New Voices on Early Medieval Sculpture in Britain and Ireland. Edited by Michael, F. Reed, Archaeological Journal, 169(1), 568-569 
  • Kirton, J. 2011. Trees in Anglo-Saxon England: Literature, Lore and Landscape. By Della Hooke, Archaeological Journal, 168(1), 428
  • Kirton, J. 2011. Landscape Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited By Nicholas J. Higham and Martin J. Ryan, Archaeological Journal, 168(1), 427-428

Grey Literature

  • Kirton, J. 2017. The Big Woodchurch Dig; Test Pitting Report, Big Heritage CIC
  • Kirton, J. 2017. Dig Blacon: Test Pitting Report, Big Heritage CIC
  • Kirton, J. 2016. Bromborough Courthouse: Interim Excavation Report 2016, Big Heritage CIC
  • Kirton, J. 2015. Bromborough Village: Test Pitting Report, Big Heritage CIC
  • Kirton, J. 2015. Bromborough Courthouse: Excavation Report 2014, Big Heritage CIC
  • Kirton, J. 2010. Report on Geophysical Survey around St Edith’s Church, Shocklach, Cheshire, University of Chester, Report No.2/2010

 

Conference Papers and Organisation

Papers and Sessions

  • Discovering Bromborough’ September 2017. Invited speaker, Wirral History and Heritage Festival, Bromborough
  • ‘Discovering Bromborough’ October 2016. Invited speaker, Merseryside Archaeology Society, Liverpool 
  • Early Medieval Sculpture in Cheshire: a study of the stone crosses found in Cheshire’ October 2015. Invited speaker, Cheshire History and Heritage Society, Chester
  • Early Medieval Sculpture in Cheshire: a study of the stone crosses found in Cheshire’ July 2015. Invited speaker, Mollington History Society, Cheshire
  • ‘Early Medieval Stone Monuments in Context’ June 2015. Invited joint speaker with Prof. H. Williams, Cheshire Archaeology Day, Wilmslow
  • ‘Is it just fortune and glory? The Social Impact of Archaeology’, December 2014. Session organiser,    Theoretical Archaeology Group, Manchester
  • ‘Monuments, Location and Orchestrated Audience Engagement at Sculptural Sites in Cheshire’ May 2013. Runes, Monuments and Memorial Carvings Network, Chester
  • ‘The Memory of Movement: early medieval stone sculpture as a tool in the creation of the historic landscape’ December 2011. Theoretical Archaeology Group, Birmingham
  • ‘Reconnecting early medieval sculpture with its physical context: Wincle, a case in point’ May 2011, Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium, Glasgow
  • The Shocklach Rider: contextualising early medieval stone sculpture’ November 2010. Invited speaker, Grosvenor Museum, Chester

 

Organisation 

  • Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium, Chester 2013 – co-organiser with Dr R. Nugent
  • Runes, Monuments and Memorial Carvings Network, Chester 2013 – co-organiser with Professor M. Gondek

 

Fieldwork Experience

  • 2019 – Conisbrough Castle, Conisbrough – Site Director: test pitting project with English Heritage, as part of the Kick the Dust project – Shout Out Loud, including excavation, post-excavation and curation
  • 2017 – HQ Archive, Chester – Project Manager: Rapid assessment and basic re-processing of large, multi-period, poorly prepared archive for the Grosvenor Museum
  • 2017 – Woodchurch, Wirral – Director: test pitting project with local schools and community, including excavation, post-excavation and curation
  • 2016 – Brombrough Courthouse, Wirral – Director: research excavation on medieval scheduled monument, including a community outreach element with survey, excavation, post-excavation and curation
  • 2016 – Deanery Field Geophysical Survey, Chester – Director: radar and resistivity survey with local participants, with additional supporting temporary exhibition
  • 2015 – Blacon, Chester – Director: test pitting project with local schools and community, including excavation, post-excavation and curation
  • 2014 – Bromborough Courthouse, Wirral – Director: as above
  • 2014 – Brombrough Village, Wirral – Director: test pitting project with local schools and community, including excavation, post-excavation and curation
  • 2013 – Brombrough Village, Wirral – Director: as above
  • 2013 – Halkyn Landscape Project, Flintshire – Director (covering mat leave): week-long survey of industrial landscape, using a variety of survey techniques (total station, dumpy, walkover etc.) for 
  • undergrad module
  • 2012 – Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - Site Supervisor: ongoing research project on a multi-period site with teaching in excavation, post-excavation and survey
  • 2012 – Project Eliseg - Site Supervisor: joint research project between the University of Chester and Bangor University, excavating a prehistoric mound with possible early medieval reuse
  • 2012 – Halkyn Landscape Project, Flintshire – Survey team and Demonstrator: as above
  • 2011 – Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - Site Supervisor: as above
  • 2011 – Halkyn Mountain, Flintshire – Survey team and Demonstrator: as above
  • 2011 – Project Eliseg – Excavation team: as above
  • 2010 – Shocklach, Cheshire – Independent research: Geophysical surveyor: resistivity survey of church grounds
  • 2011 – Project Eliseg – Excavation team: as above
  • 2010 – Bradford Kaims – Site Supervisor: multi-period prehistoric wetland site. This season included test pitting to establish if archaeology was present
  • 2008 – Akrotiri, Cyprus – Excavation Team – 6th/7th century basilica site
  • 2008 – Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - Trench Supervisor: as above
  • 2007 - Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - Trench Supervisor: as above
  • 2006 - Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - Finds Assistant: as above
  • 2002-2005 – volunteer with various UK projects