Meet the 2015 Field Team


Dr Rachel Pope

I am a prehistorian, specialising in British settlement archaeology. I have been at Liverpool since 2007, and my greatest contribution to the Liverpool student experience is an active commitment to research-led fieldwork training, to professional standards.

I began excavating at the age of 15, and with 23 seasons in the field, am strongly committed to undergraduate learning in a research excavation context. Between 2005-2011, I directed two research excavations in the UK – Kidlandlee Dean Bronze Age Landscapes Project (Northumberland) and Eddisbury Hillfort, Merrick’s Hill (Cheshire).

I currently direct the University of Liverpool excavations at Penycloddiau Hillfort (Flintshire), in partnership with Cadw (Welsh Assembly Government), Denbighshire County Council, and the Global Institute for Field Research (California).

Rich Mason

After graduating from Durham University in 2005, I spent several years working for English Heritage as a visitor operations manager, before leaving to pursue a career in archaeology.

I spent several years excavating for commercial archaeology units, gaining a wealth of experience in most periods of British archaeology, as well as 11 seasons experience teaching Undergraduate students in the field. On completion of my post-graduate degree I began working as an independent archaeological consultant. Employed predominantly by English Heritage, I have completed assessments on some of the largest archaeological resources in Britain including Beeston Castle, Roman Aldborough and Wharram Percy.

In 2008, I began co-directing research excavations for University of Liverpool, completing the final season of the Kidlandlee Dean Landscapes Project, Eddisbury Hillfort (Cheshire) in 2010-11, and now Penycloddiau 2012 to present.

I manage the post-excavation process for the Liverpool Field School, and am currently writing up our recent investigations at Eddisbury Hillfort, as well as working on English Heritage collections recovered from Rievaulx Abbey (North Yorkshire).

Jenn Danus

My name is Jenn Danus and I am joining the LAFS team as the excavation cook/accommodation supervisor and one of the first aid-ers. This will be my 7th season as a field school cook for a British University. I have a background in both food service and archaeology. I have worked in kitchens in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Antarctica, and England, of course.  

My archaeological fieldwork varies from research excavations in England, Scotland, and Greece, to cultural resource management (CRM) throughout the USA. I attended a field school in Scotland in 2002 where I met Dr Rachel Pope, who was then a PhD student. I have worked with her and Rich Mason on various projects since, first on the archaeology side of things, and now cooking/logistics. I currently spend half of the year employed by the United States Antarctic Program as a fuel systems operator and the rest of the year travelling and cooking for field schools.


Alison Atkin - Supervisor

I am an osteoarchaeologist, particularly interested in studying the effects of disease on past populations, including its impact on burial practices. Currently I am working to complete my PhD research, which uses paleodemography to investigate plague burials in medieval England. 

I started at university in Canada (BA Hons. Biological Anthropology and Archaeology) before moving to the UK to continue my studies (MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology). I’ve worked on multi-period sites in North America and Europe for both research and commercial excavations and taught in classrooms, laboratories, and on field schools across a range of archaeological subjects.

I am really keen to get more people engaged with the past and as a result over the past decade I’ve also worked in museums, done stand-up routines at science festivals, demonstrated skeletal anatomy to zillions of school pupils, and doodled a conference poster that went viral. If you want to talk to someone about maths (especially graphs or statistics) while on site, please come find me.

Josh Dean - Supervisor

My name is Josh and this will be my first season at Penycloddiau as a supervisor. I graduated from the University of York in 2012 with a BA in Archaeology. The landscape of hill forts that populate this part of Wales is very familiar to me as my home is set within the Berwyn Mountain Range approximately 25 miles to the south of Penycloddiau. I have spent the last 3 years accumulating experience in field archaeology in a variety of volunteer positions in the North East, North West and Wales. Subsequently I have been working as a self-employed archaeologist in the North West and in Wales.

Predominately I have worked on industrial sites associated with the 'Modern' period and as such an opportunity to work on a hill fort is both refreshing and a privilege. I have a keen interest in the archaeology of Wales with a specific focus on the Iron Age and the hegemony of Rome. I am fascinated by the landscape character of North Wales and how this might have affects the cultural decisions of the Iron Age clans. Furthermore, I am interested as to how we might seek to understand the complex connotation of Romano-Britishness and ascertain whether more distinct cultural forms survived into the Roman Era.

Anthony Foy – Environmental Processing

I have always had an interest in archaeology but never had the confidence to do much about it. I left school at 15 to work a full time job but it was miserable and I felt underachieved. Once I got into university and began my first season at Penycloddiau my confidence grew with the help of other supervisors and the directors. The field school helped strengthen my love for the outdoors and allowed me to gain lots of new friends globally; my confidence has never been better when going onto different sites. I have been coming to the field school at Penycloddiau since 2013 and I thoroughly enjoy the experience of meeting new people and working with them. My advice to any new comer is to get stuck in and not be afraid to ask questions.

Julian Heath - Archaeological Illustration

BA & MA from Liverpool - studied European Prehistory and Egyptology - specialised in Neeolithic and Bronze Age archaeology in NW Europe. After graduating was Finds Illustrator with the University of Liverpool missions to Zawiyet umm el Rakham Ramesside fortress on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, and the tomb of Ankhtifi near Luxor. Hoping to go to Hierakonpolis with the British Museum next year.

Designed and taught an Undergraduate Archaeological Illustration module at Uni of Liverpool. Author and illustrator of several books on Archaeology and Egyptology, e.g. Life in Copper Age Britain, Before Farming, Archaeology Hotspot Egypt, Stories from Ancient Egypt (with Joyce Tyldesley).

Aside from working at the field school, this summer I will be continuing work on a new book on Neolithic Wales and also will be starting work on illustrations for a children's book on ancient Greek myths. 

Dr Ceren Kabukcu - Supervisor

I completed my BA at Ithaca College (NY, USA) with a double major in Anthropology and Economics. During my studies there I became very interested in the different ways people use plants today and in prehistory. This interest led me to pursue my MA degree at Trent University (ON, Canada) where I wrote my thesis on archaeobotanical (seed) remains from the Bronze Age site of Jerablus Tahtani in northern Syria. My PhD research (thesis completed at the University of Liverpool in 2015) focused on the analysis and interpretation of anthracological (carbonised fuel wood) remains from late Pleistocene and early-mid Holocene prehistoric sites in the Konya plain of central Anatolia, Turkey (including Çatalhöyük East and West mounds, Pınarbaşı, Boncuklu and Can Hasan III). 

My key area of interest is understanding the evolutionary history and diverse ecologies of early farming systems in Southwest Asia and Europe through the integrated analysis of plant macro-remain (seed, charcoal) and faunal datasets. My work on wood charcoal macrofossils focuses on reconstructing palaeoenvironments, especially woodland growth conditions, the availability and life histories of trees and woodland habitats near habitation sites, people’s use and management of wood fuel resources, prehistoric impacts on woodland vegetation, and the origins and development of arboriculture. I have also been working on the plant macrofossils from Penycloddiau since 2013.

Samm Lewis - Environmental Processing

This will be my third year on the field school staff after completing my BSc as one of Dr Pope’s students at the University of Liverpool, and my fourth year at Penycloddiau. My focus is very much the scientific aspect of archaeology and I'll be quite happy to get wet and muddy all day and every day if it means I can teach students both the benefits and fascinating aspects of thorough scientific testing. I'll be spending most of my time on the field school teaching students in the laboratory area which is both inside and outside at the accommodation site.

Morgan Murphy - Supervisor

Hi, my name is Morgan. I am currently studying my MA in archaeology part time at the University of Liverpool whist working as a shift runner at KFC to pay for it! I did my undergraduate degree at the university as well, studying Archaeology and Ancient History. This will be my fourth year I will have been digging at Penycloddiau; having been a first year student on the dig back in 2012. I have therefore been part of the team since we started digging at Penycloddiau.

I grew up in Ruthin which is about 5 miles from the hill fort so I know the area very well. I know what it's like to be a first/second year student on the dig, so if you are struggling with anything feel free to come to talk me. I have also spent two months digging in Turkey on Doug Baird's project, so i can tell you all about that too. The dig is a fantastic experience and I am sure you will all love it!

Alex Neumiller - Supervisor

I am entering my final year of undergraduate study at North Dakota State University in the United States. I am pursuing a double major in Anthropology and History. I intend to apply to graduate school for the fall term of 2016 with the hopes of eventually completing two Masters degrees, one in Archaeology, the second in human osteology. 

This will be my third year as a member of the University of Liverpool's archaeological field school. I began as a student of the field school during the summer after my freshman year of college. I was invited to return the following year and was trained as a supervisor for the first half of the field school and then took over in the area that I had been working in after my supervisor had to depart from the dig. I was invited to return this year. In each of the previous two years of excavation, I have been working with the inner rampart as well as the areas of the trench that are located within the inner rampart.

In addition to excavating at Penycloddiau, I spent a month last summer in northern Greece excavating at the site of Argils with a team based out of Canada at the University of Montreal.

Dr Andy Shuttleworth - Supervisor

I am a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University (having previously studied and worked at Liverpool where I received my PhD in 2013). My research interests centre on understanding Neanderthal and Modern Human adaptations and socio-behavioural responses to environmental and landscape variability in relation to their physiological limitations, human migration into new landscapes and hunter-gatherer social networks.

I have gained extensive fieldwork experience since my first dig in Israel in 2005. My current work includes a survey project in Saudi Arabia (where it's very hot) in conjunction with the University of York, and excavations in Iraq (where it's also very hot) as part of an excavation team from Cambridge. My primary undergraduate training is in osteoarchaeology and the interpretation of human skeletal remains, whilst my postgraduate training has been in the interpretation of prehistoric social behaviour from the Middle Palaeolithic archaeological record. Through my work with National Museums Liverpool, particularly the World Museum, and lithic surveys in Saudi Arabia, I also have experience in Palaeolithic stone tool analysis.

PEN15 will be my third season working with the Liverpool Archaeology Field School n the Penycloddiau Hillfort excavations. I'm the on-site teacher and resident ginger for LAFS and I look forward to meeting you all. Off-site, I often like to relax and chat with students over a friendly game of poker and discussion on who is better: Batman or Superman. Batman obviously.

Karl Smith - Planning Supervisor

Born and raised in the American Northwest by cyborg kangaroo farmers, I completed my BA in Archaeology with a minor in taxidermy at Dickinson College in 2014 which included a year of study at Durham University. My field experience ranges from hillforts in Wales to Bronze Age cities in Greece. I once saved a litter of kittens by fighting a dragon. This summer will be my second stint as planning supervisor at Pennyclioddiaoai using the latest in segway technology. In the fall I will begin a master's in archaeology at Oxford University where I plan to also pursue a semi-professional career in parkour. In the future I plan to complete my personal bio instead of having other members of staff do it for me.

Simon Wood - Survey

After getting my BA from University College Cork in 2007 I spent a short time working in commercial archaeology in Ireland, before moving to Edinburgh to do an MSc in Archaeology, focusing on the enclosed sites of Argyll such as duns and forts.  Having spent not nearly long enough as a student I then did an MA in Practical Archaeology at Birmingham, which included a lot of geophysics and topographic survey - my dissertation involved carrying out a survey of a valley on the isle of Harris - and supervising undergraduates.  I then worked as a field archaeologist for approximately three years for the Museum of London, Northamptonshire Archaeology, and Birmingham Archaeology which included a lot of digging ditches, getting drenched and occasionally supervising some geophysics.  I am now in my third year of my PhD in Edinburgh exploring GIS-based techniques to categorize fortified sites in Western Scotland, and teaching first and second year undergrads the basics of archaeology.


Matt Diener - Trainee Supervisor

Matt graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a B.A. in Anthropology. He started at the field school as a student in 2013 and has been there ever since. Currently he is a volunteer in the heritage department with the U.S. Forest Service in San Bernardino, California.

Catherine Jones - Trainee Supervisor

Hi, I'm Catherine, I'm Welsh and I love pugs. This is my third summer excavating at Penycloddiau. I've just graduated from the University of Liverpool with an Archaeology (BSc) degree. Now I'm hoping to get some funding to do a Masters in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology at Bradford University.

I got involved with archaeology when I was 8 as a member of the 'Young Archaeologists' in North Wales. I've done a few volunteer digs as well as research excavations and I'm heading up to Scotland later this year to do some more field work. I've recently been excavating human remains at Poulton in Cheshire and learning about post-excavation of human remains at Sheffield University. 

In my degree I focused on British Iron Age archaeology, excavating an upland site like Penycloddiau is really interesting for me. The Liverpool Archaeology Field School taught me all the skills needed for carrying out high level field work and made me confidant with excavation techniques. I'm so happy to be coming back for my third season. It's a great atmosphere up the hill - with some beautiful views! Looking forward to meeting you.

Morgan Windle - Trainee Supervisor

Morgan Windle found her interest in archaeology in high school and after a gap year to relax began her university education in Ancient History and Archaeology in Toronto, Canada. In 2014 she travelled from her colonised homeland (Canada) to the wild land of North Wales to begin her career in field archaeology. Under the tutelage of Richard Mason and Dr Rachel Pope, Morgan started out at Penycloddiau in the 2014 season. Her love for archaeology has brought her back this year for two months digging, one of which is back at Penycloddiau as part of the PEN15 team!

Hans Whitefield - Site Assistant

Hans Whitefield hails from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he spent his childhood frolicking on bikes, skis, and foot. Hans discovered archaeology after his hand modeling career ended in tragedy; at which point he realized he could wield a trowel without endangering his livelihood. He studies Anthropology and Archaeological Science at the University of New Mexico. After graduation he hopes to continue his education in England. He has worked previously as an archaeological lab technician. This is his second season at Penycloddiau. (He also always knows where Morgan is, always).

Beth Woerner - Trainee Supervisor

I am from Virginia, United States. I went to James Madison University where I earned a B.s. degree in anthropology with a concentration in archaeology. I am currently completing a graduate-level certificate in Geographic Information Systems through the University of Western Florida. My first archaeology field experience was at Penycloddiau as an IFR student in 2013. This will be my third season on site.

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