Yvette A. Marks

Archaeological Technician

Yvette's job title is Technician in Archaeological Science at the University of Sheffield

What I do

A lot of the time our work is related to building work. So if there is any work that will break ground, like a new pipe being laid, a new train line or a house being built, there is a law that states that an archaeological survey must be done.  

There are lots of different ways of approaching a dig. Sometimes there might be a myth or a story you are following, like Richard III or King Arthur, or sometimes it’s a walking survey, where you scan the ground to see if there is something underneath.

I decided that I didn’t want to be outdoors all year round, so that is why I do lab management as well. There is research and writing to be done, as well as analysis in the lab. I extract collagen from bones or look at metal to see how it was made. You could find out if a person had a vitamin D deficiency just by looking at a tooth, or you can find out if a coin was cast or struck, or find out how a glass was made, just by looking really closely.

I wasn’t a confident person, but archaeology has given me so much confidence that I am happy to stand up and teach and talk about archaeology.

Colleagues on fieldwork by water

Hear more about Yvette's role by watching the video below...

How I became a technician

A typical day in my
working life

The most exciting thing I've achieved
so far in my job

In Greece we found a stone axe from about 5,000 years ago! At first, they used it for cutting down trees to make houses, but it had got to the stage where it couldn’t be used as an axe anymore. So they reused it as a mould, pouring metal into it to make new axes. It was amazing to see that they were reusing and recycling objects thousands of years ago. 

I was also on Channel 4 News last summer. They had a feature on the site at Loftus in North Yorkshire where we were looking for evidence of salt working, as we think it is one of the earliest places in Britain that was making hard cheese. It was really exciting – they filmed for two-and-a-half days and it was only a five-minute piece.

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