(written by Black Sea MAP STEM Scholars)
Role in Black Sea MAP
Responsibilities of the role
The initial part of Jon’s role was to secure funding for the science research. Jon presented his ideas to the funding board trustees and designed the overall aims of the project. His next task was to obtain permits from the Bulgarian authorities to allow the research to take place.
In the field and at sea his primary responsibility was to direct and coordinate the many activities collecting data for the scientific research. At sea this involves working closely with the Offshore Manager of the project like adjusting the work schedule depending on how various tasks are progressing. Jon was part of the dive teams that explored some of the shipwrecks.
His other main role is to coordinate the work after the field work is completed, write reports for the Bulgarian authorities and Universities and coordinate the academic publications.
Subjects studied at school
Art, English, Biology and Ancient History
Jon attended Durham University and completed a degree in Archaeology, then after a period of working as an archaeologist, a PhD at Stockholm University.
In 1979 Jon qualified as a professional diver (having to relearn his O-Level maths to do so!)
After leaving University Jon joined the Mary Rose Project, the excavation and recovery of Henry VIII’s warship, lost in 1545. Jon says he most enjoyed this project because it led to the acceptance of the idea that scientific archaeology could be done under water.
What is the favourite part of your career so far?
Being able to do research and extend other people’s knowledge as a teacher is something that Jon particularly enjoys about his career. He said that among his many ‘favourite’ projects is the Mary Rose excavation. This was because of the challenges that he and the team faced and because of the mind-blowing experiences they had.
He loves being able to work with so many extraordinary people and in so many amazing places, the Black Sea for example, which is why the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project now ranks alongside Mary Rose in his ‘favourites’.
When asked “Why did you decide to get professional diving qualifications and work commercially?”, he responded by saying that he never wanted to be told that he couldn’t dive on an archaeological project because he didn’t have the right piece of paper. Working commercially in the North Sea and Persian Gulf among other places gave him the experience of a technical side of diving that most archaeologists never see but which is enormously valuable in organising and running projects. He has never lost his love of diving and so along with archaeology is in the happy position of doing the things he loves and getting paid for them.