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2020 Conference - Science in Archaeology

Saturday 28th March

2pm - 6pm

Castor (Near Peterborough)

Conference Cancelled due to Covid-19

With regret, the trustees of the Nene Valley Archaeological Trust have taken the decision to cancel the 2020 NVAT conference in the light of the Covid-19 epidemic.

As a Charity with a Duty of Care, we do not believe that it is wise to bring an audience together in a relatively confined space, nor to ask the intended speakers to travel on public transport or to expose the volunteers from the St. Kyneburgha Trust to any potential exposure.

Those who have already made bookings will be contacted shortly regarding refund of ticket payments.

We are already planning a conference for 2021, which will be announced on the Website and by email newsletter. The Trustees hope that you will understand their caution, and look forward to seeing you in the future.

The Nene Valley Archaeological Trust invites you to join us for our 2020 Conference which will take place at Castor, near Peterborough, on Saturday 28th March.

This year we concentrate on scientific and non-invasive techniques which are revolutionising archaeology. Six eminent speakers will explain how these techniques work - and how they are providing new windows on the past.

By attending this event you will be enabling NVAT to continue its activities, particularly the information we carry on our website, and the excavation programme at Durobrivae. We look forward to seeing you.


Why Attend?

Why Attend

The objective of the conference is to demystify the science used in archaeology.

Increasingly, we can "see" hidden archaeology without excavation; we can date ancient objects with precision; we can identify where individuals lived; we can identify the flora and fauna associated with a site.


The scientific techniques developed over recent decades are often presented on the television and in the media as "black-box" magic, without any explanation of how they work, how they can be applied, and importantly, the limits of what they can tell us.

Our speakers are all experts in their fields. The have been asked to concentrate on explaining their specialities in a way which will better inform the audience about what one sees and hears in archaeological programmes and exhibitions. The conference is targeted at an amateur audience, but our speakers will not shy away from the detail when required!

As usual we will offer time for questions - so here is your chance to get to grips with archaeology at the cutting edge.


Archaeoentomology - studying Insects in Archaeology

As the most diverse and frequent animals on the planet, it might be surprising that insects have not used more in archaeology, particularly as most have very specific habitat requirements. The presentation will explain methodology and interpretation of these faunal remains.

Speaker - Paul Buckland

Secrets of Teeth

Teeth provide a wealth of information to archaeologists. Disease, diet, tool use, wealth, and health all leave marks on teeth over a lifetime. This talk will give an overview of the methods and analysis bioarchaeologists and dental anthropologists use, and how that data allows us to investigate and understand the past.

Speaker - Maura Griffith


A biological profile contains the age-at-death, sex, ancestry and stature estimation that can been gleamed from a set of remains. 

Additionally, such features as evidence for trauma and decay of a body can give vital information about their lives from the pre-natal to death. This session will present some of the well-known techniques that can be applied in archaeological triage to helped estimate the biological profile. 

Speaker - Elizabeth Church


The presentation will look at the basic principles of dendrochronology, its limitations and successes, and also outline how radiocarbon dating works.

Speaker - Martin Bridge

Aerial Survey
Archaeologists have been using aerial photographs to record and monitor archaeological remains since the 1930s. However, in the last 20 years there have been a range of significant advances that have improved our ability to do this. This talk will look briefly at some of these advances and how they have impacted on the work of Historic England.
Speaker - Simon Crutchley

The talk will outline the four main methods of geophysical survey: Magnetometry, Magnetic Susceptibility, Earth Resistance and Ground Penetrating Radar.  Examples of each technique will be given using examples from the Community Archaeology Geophysics Group's surveys, principally at Verulamium.
Speaker - Kris Lockyear

The Conference will begin at 2pm and close at 6pm.

Registration (with tea/coffee available) will take place at the Cedar Centre from 1pm.


The talks will typically last for 25 with 5 minutes for questions and discussion.

Afternoon tea will be provided.



Castor CE Primary School
Stocks Hill



Registration will be at the nearby Cedar Centre


Castor is close to the A47, 5 miles west of Peterborough.

Nearest railway station - Peterborough.

Speaker Profiles

Speaker Profiles
Paul Buckland PCB at Glabbole RJB 8 14-4

Prof Paul Buckland

Paul graduated in geological sciences and archaeology from the University of Birmingham, where he subsequently completed a doctorate in quaternary entomology. He has taught in the universities of Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Bournemouth, and is currently a self-employed technician specialising in work with fossil insects.

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Maura Griffith

Maura completed her MSc in Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology at UCL and has returned to the same institution to complete a doctorate in Bioarchaeology. Previous training includes field work in cemetery excavation and laboratory analysis of juvenile remains in Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc), Romania. Her current work includes developing methods for sex estimation of sub-adult skeletal remains and its application in archaeology.

Elizabeth Church

Elizabeth is a PhD student based out of the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. Her doctoral project is to design a novel method of sex estimation using photogrammetric modelling software. The aim of this research is to create a science- and law-first method that meets best practice standards in the field of digital forensics. She previously studied at Boston University School of Medicine and is originally from Canada. 

Bridge Bo1zOsJQ-43.jpeg

Dr Martin Bridge

Martin started working with tree ring dating 40 years ago and has worked in New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Scotland and France, but mostly in southern Britain where he looks at medieval buildings and artefacts, working with Historic England, Cadw, RCAHMW, Royal Palaces, the National Trust and many individual properties and owners. He is a part-time lecturer at UCL's Institute of Archaeology, and a partner in the Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory.

Crutchley SPC_portrait-43.jpg

Simon Crutchley

Simon is a landscape archaeologist and aerial imagery analyst at Historic England, with over 30 years’ experience of mapping and interpreting features of archaeological and historical interest visible on aerial photographs and other aerial imagery. He has worked in many areas of England including the World Heritage Sites of Avebury and Stonehenge. He has a special interest in “new” technology such as lidar and satellite imagery and its application to archaeological research and investigation.

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Dr Kris Lockyear

Kris joined the Welwyn Archaeological Society in 1975 and took degrees at Durham (BA Archaeology), Southampton (MSc Computing and Archaeology) and UCL (PhD).  His research interests include Iron Age and Roman archaeology, especially coinage, statistics in archaeology and geophysical survey.  He has worked at UCL since 1996 and run research projects in the UK and Romania.


A Romano-Celtic temple at Durobrivae revealed using different geophysical techniques

(and with comparison to a reconstruction based on a similar structure at Caerwent)

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