Jason and the Archaeologists

Yes its excavating season. Time to bring out the digging t-shirts,  cowboy hat and trusty 4.5" pointing trowel. This August we returned to the Nunnery in Alderney, where our team last dug in 2013. This is Britain's best preserved Roman small fort, continuing in use as medieval castle, Napoleonic barracks, German strongpoint, farm, hospital and holiday... Continue Reading →

Cover Shot

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is a widely ignored cliché, as many book buyers do just that. In general the advice is (1) ensure the book looks like the kind of book it is supposed to be and (2) in the modern age make sure it works as a website thumbnail. My publishers... Continue Reading →

We All Write Period Fiction

For the first half of my career, I was an ‘artefact researcher’. It is natural therefore that my archaeological thrillers contain plenty of objects. Objects can be dated, as can particular social habits and organisations, so we can quickly spot a piece of period fiction without being told it was set in the past. Fairly... Continue Reading →

You can’t edit your own book

Recently I read a book by an academic colleague. It was interesting and ground-breaking but needed a good edit, and I told the author so. The author was surprised. The facts were right, a spell-checker had been used and there were no obtrusive typos. What the book lacked was that final polish which would expand its value beyond just a... Continue Reading →

Asterix #5: The Fiat Gearbox

It was a divers' joke. The object they found was a blue-grey colour, heavy, metallic. It was the size of a man's oustretched palm, with a circular central hole and three vanes each with a screw hole. Three further supporting lugs added strength. They called it the Fiat Gearbox, or the Messerschmitt gearbox, thinking this... Continue Reading →

Wrecked!

For the past few months I've been editing a book written by a colleague. Wrecked, Guernsey Shipwrecks, is the work of Patrick Martin. When Patrick was working at Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum he asked if he could write a book about the wrecks on display. This seemed an ideal opportunity to publish some of the... Continue Reading →

Asterix the Ship #4: The Jigsaw

Back in 1985, the divers departed leaving me with occasional volunteers to record the timbers. Some had been planned in position on the seabed, which was fortunate in the case of one keel timber - the largest on the ship- which vanished overnight and was never seen again. We think it was dragged out into... Continue Reading →

'Upchurch' was my first book, published by BAR in their no-frills fashion directly from my manuscript. It was a distilled-down version of my PhD thesis, typed on a 256k Amstrad. Incredibly the statistics were processed on a 124k Spectrum fed by a tape recorder and viewed via a black and white portable television. As the BAR is... Continue Reading →

Easter, 1985. The Roman ship had been found on Christmas Day, 1982 by local Diver Richard Keen. The wreck was buried between the pierheads of St Peter Port harbour, and due to the lack of shipping that is the only day in the year divers are allowed to go down for scallops. Fortunately Richard had... Continue Reading →

Test digs in Alderney

Undertook two quick test digs on Longis Common, Alderney. One by the Nunnery was looking to explain a depression (a 19th century road?) and a mound (a sand dune). The other sampled the previously fertile site at the Kennals where Roman deposits still lurk within a metre of the surface.

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