Kevin Colls

Associate Professor of Archaeology, BSc, MSc, MCIFA


Kevin Colls is an Associate Professor of Archaeology working for the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University and the lead Archaeological Project Manager. Kevin has directed and published archaeological projects throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and holds 20 years’ experience in research and professional development-led archaeology. His specialist subjects include archaeological field techniques, urban archaeology and forensic archaeology.

Kevin’s project portfolio includes major archaeological excavations in many of the UK’s urban centres including London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol, archaeological survey and remote sensing on Scottish Islands, and rural archaeological surveys in central Greece.

Of his current projects, the highest profile is the prestigious ‘Dig for Shakespeare’ Project in Stratford upon Avon. This globally important project focuses upon the excavation of the final residence of William Shakespeare (called New Place) and the house in which the Bard passed away. This project, and his work on the Scottish Islands, have led to two high profile appearances on television programmes for the BBC (Digging for Britain BBC2, and BBC Alba in Scotland) and the site was the focus of an hour-long Time Team special in 2012 (Channel 4). More recently, he has also been involved in an investigation of Shakespeare’s Tomb using a wide range of advanced non-invasive survey methods and this research was the subject of a major Channel 4 documentary (Shakespeare’s Tomb).

For the past eight years, Kevin has also worked closely with his wife (Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls) on a number of forensic research projects throughout Europe, including the aforementioned projects at Treblinka, Alderney and Staro Sajmiste. He is an active member of the Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries and Accessing Campscapes: Inclusive Strategies for Using European Conflicted Heritage projects, bringing his expertise in project management, archaeological field survey and the application of innovative non-invasive techniques to this research. He has also worked with numerous police forces as an external consultant associated with the search for buried human remains and is currently managing a diverse portfolio of major research and commercial projects. Kevin is currently undertaking a PhD which is investigating the archaeological remains on the Isle of Harris, the Western Isles of Scotland, and has research projects focused on Island Archaeology, the archaeology of Shakespeare and the archaeological of Alderney in the Channel Islands.

Professional Memberships

  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MIFA)
  • Committee member of the Archaeology and Shakespeare Research Advisory Board
  • Member of Hebridean Archaeology Forum

Research interests

  • Hybrid search and survey methodologies
  • Advances in archaeological field practice
  • Forensic Archaeology – the search for, and recovery of, clandestine burials
  • Island Archaeology

Working with the Media

Areas specialised in:

  • General archaeology in the UK
  • Forensic Archaeology – in particular, the search and recovery of buried remains
  • The archaeology of Shakespeare

Previous Media Experience:

  • Digging for Britain. World War Two Special. December 2018
  • Adolf Island. Smithsonian Channel. May 2018
  • Secret History: Shakespeare’s Tomb, Channel 4. Televised March 2016.
  • Time Team special. Unearthing Shakespeare. Televised March 2012
  • Radio 4 interview regarding work in Poland. Aired Jan 2012
  • ‘Digging for Britain series 2’ 360 Productions presented by Alice Roberts. The Vikings Episode to feature excavations in the Hebrides, 2011. BBC 2
  • Joint lecture with Michael Wood – Stratford Upon Avon Winter School, Jan 2011
  • ‘Digging for Britain series 1’. 360 Productions presented by Alice Roberts. Episode 4 ‘The Tudors’ featured Dig for Shakespeare. BBC2
  • ‘Sacred Soil’ Featured Colls, Harris excavations. BBC ALBA
  • ‘Midlands Today’ March 2010 – Dig for Shakespeare
  • Buzz Magazine (123) front cover and article. University of Birmingham
  • Newspaper articles and references in 2010 includes the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Birmingham Mail, the Coventry Echo, Stratford Herald, Stratford Observer, Stornoway Gazette
  • Radio interviews for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire, BRMB
  • Filming for ‘Inside out’ documentary for the Dig for Shakespeare Project. Midlands Today



Abate, D., Faka, M., Toumbas, K., Bakirtzis, N,. Mitchell, W., Colls, K., and Sturdy-Colls, C. (forth-coming) Multi-modal digital documentation and visualization of the unesco painted churches in troodos (cyprus). Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Colls, K, Sturdy Colls, C., Cherkaska, D., and Mitchell, W. (in prep) Holocaust Archaeology in practice: Killing sites in Ukraine. Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Manchester University Press.

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. (In Press). Adolf Island: The Nazi Occupation of Alderney. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Mitchell, W; Abate, D.; Colls, K; Faka, M.; Sturdy Colls, C.; Bakirtzis, N. (2022) ‘Ground Penetrating Radar Survey of the UNESCO Painted Churches in the Troodos Region (Cyprus)’Heritage5, 260-285.

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. (2021) Holocaust Victims, Jewish Law and the Ethics of Archaeological Investigations. International Journal of Heritage, Memory and Conflict. ISSN 2666-5050

Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. (2020) The Heart of Terror: A Forensic and Archaeological Assessment of the Old Gas Chambers at Treblinka. In: Vareka, P. and Symonds, J. Archaeologies of Totalitarianism, Authoritarianism, and Repression: Dark Modernities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Sturdy Colls, C., Colls, K. and Kerti, J. (2020). Tormented Alderney: Archaeological Investigations at the Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp at Sylt. Antiquity 94(374): 512-532.

Mitchell, W and COLLS, K, 2019 An evaluation of community-led archaeology projects funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund: Two case studies. Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage. Taylor & Francis

Sturdy Colls, C., Bolton-King, R., Colls, K., Harris, T. and Weston, C. (2018). Proof of Life: Mark-Making Practices on the Island of Alderney. European Journal of Archaeology 22(2): 232-254. View published article or download pre-print draft from eprints

Colls, K. (2017) The Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave. Current Archaeology, 325. pp. 36-39. ISSN 0011-3212

Colls, K. and Utsi, E. (2017) The GPR investigation of the Shakespeare family graves. Archaeological Prospection, 2017. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1075-2196

Mitchell, W. and Colls, K. (2016) Ancient beginnings: the site of New Place from the prehistoric to the early medieval period. In: Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: An Archaeological Biography. Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK. ISBN 1526106493

Mitchell, W. and Colls, K. (2016) The origins of New Place: Hugh Clopton’s ‘grete house’ of c.1483. In: Finding Shakespeare’s New Place: An Archaeological Biography. Manchester University Press, Manchester, UK. ISBN 1526106493

Colls, K. (2016) EVOLUTION OF AN IRON AGE SETTLEMENT AT DEAN FARM, BISHOPS CLEEVE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE: ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK 1999 TO 2005. Centre of Archaeology Monograph Series; Volume one. Centre of Archaeology Book Series, 1 . Create Space and Staffordshire University, Staffordshire University. ISBN 9781535425896

Edmonton, P. Colls, K. and Mitchell, W. (2016) Finding Shakespeare’s New Place. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Paul, S. Colls, K. and Chapman, H. (2015) ‘Living with the Flood: Mesolithic to Post-Medieval Archaeological Remains at Mill Lane, Sawston, Cambridgeshire a Wetland/Dryland Interface. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Colls K. and Hunter J. (2015) ‘A Changing Hebridean Landscape: Recent Survey And Excavation Along The West Coast of Harris’ International Journal of the North Atlantic, Volume 9, 108-124.

Colls, K. and Mitchell, W. (2013) ‘A cycle of Recession and Recovery AD 1200-1900: Archaeological Investigations at Much Park Street, Coventry’. British Archaeology Report series. Archaeopress.

Colls, K. and Hunter J. (2011) ‘Defining the archaeological resource on the Isle of Harris: an assessment of the impact of environmental factors and topography on the identification of buried remains’. In The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures Volume 4, number 2

Colls, K. and Halsted, J. (2010) ‘New evidence for monument reuse in Bronze Age Wales: Archaeological excavation at Llanymynech, Powys, 2007’ Archaeologia Cambrensis 158 69-96.

Complete List of Publications

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