Centre of Archaeology Summer Report 2014

It has been a very busy summer for the Centre filled with a wide variety of fieldwork, publications and other events.


Staff from the Centre led a student training and research project to Alderney as part of our ongoing project examining sites of the Occupation during World War II. This year’s season focused on recording several structures at the former SS concentration camp, DSC_0292Lager Sylt, and on recording engravings, images and writings within the WWII fortifications built by slave workers. Several publications based on the work are in prep and will be published in 2015.

Public Lecture Series

Our public lecture series drew to a close in June. In May, Laura Walton-WIlliams delivered a fascinating lecture entitled ‘Archaeology: It’s in the DNA’, in which she discussed the ways in which advances in DNA technology have impacted upon archaeological research. Our final lecture was delivered by Stephen Dean, Principal Archaeologist at Staffordshire County Council who provided a compelling update on the ongoing research into origins and nature of the Staffordshire Hoard. We would like to thank all of the speakers and attendees at this year’s lecture series. A new series is being planned for 2015 and details will appear on our Public Lecture Series page very soon.

Short Courses

In June and September, we welcomed two cohorts onto our short course programme. Our 2014 programme is now complete and dates for our courses for 2015 will appear on our website very soon.

New Member of Staff

The Centre is delighted to welcome Dr Kirsty Squires. Dr Squires is now a Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology within the Forensic and Crime Science department and she will join the Centre of undertake research and consultancy work. She has a diverse background in academia, commercial archaeology and osteo-archaeological consultancy. Her particular areas of expertise is the analysis of cremated human remains and early medieval funerary archaeology.

Treblinka Exhibition Project

Throughout the summer, staff at the Centre have been working on a new exhibition project which will showcase the work undertaken at Treblinka extermination and labour camps in Poland. The exhibition will open at Treblinka in the Spring of 2015 and there will be an associated programme of lectures, publications and an online virtual exhibition hosted on the Google Cultural Institute. There will also be a travelling version of the exhibition that will appear in various locations across Europe in 2015. Because of the large amount of work involved in the exhibition, we did not undertake fieldwork at Treblinka this year. However, a new programme is planned for 2015.

Killing Sites Project

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has recently published its Multi-Year Working Plan on  Killing Sites based on the Killing Sites conference which was held in Krakow in 2014. The work of Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls and staff from the Centre of Archaeology and Forensic and Crime Science department was referred to in the document. A publication based on the conference, which will include Dr Sturdy Colls’ work will be published late 2014/early 2015. More details can be found in the publications section below.


Staff from the Centre have completed various publications over the summer break:


  • Sturdy Colls, C. 2014. Gone but not forgotten: Archaeological approaches to the landscape of the former extermination camp at Treblinka, Poland, Holocaust Studies and Materials 2013. Available here. Also available in Polish.
  • Colls, K. 2014. Early Settlement at Eckington, Worcestershire. Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society.


  • Colls, K. et al. 2014. Living on the floodplain: Excavation of a multi-period settlement site in Sawston, Cambridgeshire. Oxbow Books.
  • Colls, K and Hunter, J. 2014. A changing Hebridean Landscape: Recent Survey And Excavation Along The West Coast of Harris’ International Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume.
  • Sturdy Colls, C. 2014. Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions. New York: Springer. [Available December 2014].
  • Sturdy Colls, C. 2014. ‘Learning from the Present to Understand the Past: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Sites of the Holocaust’ in International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Killing Sites. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
  • Sturdy Colls, 2015. ‘Uncovering a Painful Past: Archaeology and the Holocaust’. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites17 [Available here early 2015].



Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls has presented at several conferences over the summer. In early September, she delivered a paper entitled ‘Badania archeologiczne w Obozie Zagłady i Karnym Obozie Pracy w Treblince’ (Archaeological Surveys in the Extermination and Labour Camps in Treblinka) at the II Konferencja Naukowa „Treblinka – Historia i Pamięć” (Second Scientific Conference – Treblinka-History and Memory) hosted by the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka.

She also presented the keynote speech at the 3rd Annual Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide Conference in Manchester. Her lecture, entitled ‘Earth Conceal Not My Blood: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Locating Human Remains of Holocaust Victims’ specifically focused on the ethical issues which have to be considered when searching for missing victims. A book based on the conference proceedings is in preparation.


In June, Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine, a documentary which followed the Centre’s project at Treblinka in Poland, won the CINE Golden Eagle Award in the Televised Documentary and Performance Division – History category. The documentary has been repeatedly broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel in the United States.

In early September, Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls did an interview with Perry Spiller from BBC Radio Stoke regarding her work as a forensic archaeologist. Dr Sturdy Colls and Kevin Colls also took part in an archaeology mini-series for the same station earlier in the summer.

At a recent conference at Treblinka, Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls was interviewed by TVP and Polskie Radio (Poland, in Polish) regarding her work at the former camps. The interviews followed a paper she delivered  at the conference concerning the latest seasons of fieldwork. More information can be found in the conferences section above.

Lidice Cultural Value Project

Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls took part in some of the workshops for an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Cultural Value project, which aims to develop new insights and understandings of the value of arts and culture to society. The project, which is ran by staff from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies at Staffordshire University, centres on the relationship between Stoke-on-Trent and the small village of Lidice in the Czech Republic, which was destroyed by the Nazis in 1942, and which ordinary citizens in Stoke-on-Trent helped to re-build through their fund-raising efforts. You can read more about the project here.

Heritage Lottery Projects

The Centre of Archaeology is currently working on a number of HLF applications at both Stage 1 and Stage 2 with a number of partners. These include Redfern Cottage in Uttoxeter, the Museum of London and Friends of Dudley Castle, and St Giles Church in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. All of these projects focus heavily upon community engagement with local heritage. These will appear on the Projects section of the website in due course.

New Place, Stratford Upon Avon

Under the direction of Kevin Colls, staff from the Centre of Archaeology completed further small archaeological excavations at New Place, the final home of William Shakespeare. The redevelopment of this important site is currently moving through the planning process after a successful HLF bid and the new-look New Place is due to be opened in 2016. Kevin is the archaeological heritage consultant for the project.

shakespeare dig_080410_0005