Dan Garner

Visiting Research Associate

Overview

My professional archaeological career has spanned more than 22 years and has involved working in both the commercial and public sectors of archaeology in the UK.

My commercial experience has included working as part of an archaeological team within Gifford & Partners (Chester) for 8 years (1996-2004) where my responsibilities varied from purely desk-based work (such as production of project designs, tender documents, desk based assessments and archaeological chapters for EIA’s), to managing fieldwork projects ranging in size from small scale watching briefs, through evaluation work to large scale excavations (such as Manchester Airport Runway 2 and 25 Bridge Street, Chester).

The work at Gifford also included managing programmes of post-excavation work from grey literature client reports through to full publication. I also developed a specialism for finds analysis with particular reference to Roman and post-Roman pottery. My experience was constantly being expanded as the commercial market diversified so that some of my work included historic building surveying and the production of a conservation management plan forChesterCastlein partnership with Donald Insall Associates.

I have spent two periods of four years working in the public sector and on each occasion the work was attached to the delivery of a single major project. In the first instance, I was employed by Chester City Council to co-direct the Chester Amphitheatre Project (2004-2007) along with a senior archaeologist from English Heritage; the project was a partnership between English Heritage and Chester City Council and involved a research excavation on parts of the largest Roman amphitheatre yet discovered inBritain. The project was multi-faceted and involved contributions from an array of specialists. The whole project was an exercise in public outreach through the use of as many types of media as possible including local press, television, radio, a dedicated website and public lectures to local, regional, national and international audiences. In particular, I was involved in the making of a specially dedicated Timewatch programme for BBC2 called ‘Britain’s Lost Colosseum’; interviewed live on Radio 4’s the Today Programme by John Humphries, and presented a joint paper on the preliminary results of the amphitheatre excavations at an international amphitheatre conference hosted in Chester in 2005.

Having completed 3 seasons of excavation on the amphitheatre, I was also tasked with developing a Heritage Lottery ‘Parks for People’ bid for the restoration ofGrosvenorParkinChestercity centre (adjacent to the amphitheatre). This involved running a training excavation within the park for both local volunteers and students fromChesterUniversity, and the production of a popular booklet on the results of the work.

Later my experience working in the commercial sector was renewed when I took up a role within AOC Archaeology in 2008 which was essentially focused on the creation of a new regional office based inChesterto cover theWest Midlands,Northwest EnglandandNorth Wales. The role was split between working with the Business Development Team and managing the acquisition and delivery of new regional projects. During this time I worked on a mixture of contracts including laser scanning a section of Chester City Walls, an area excavation in advance of a Sainsbury’s development and contracts for post-excavation pottery analysis.

My second public sector project (2008-2012) was an HLF funded Landscape Partnership Scheme called ‘Habitats and Hillforts’ which was first hosted by Cheshire County Council and then its successor authority (Cheshire West andChesterBC). The project involved the investigation and conservation of 6 prehistoric hillforts spread out across the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. All six hillforts are scheduled monuments which had been placed on to the At Risk Register by English Heritage for a variety of reasons and all of them were in a mixture of public and private ownership. The whole project was divided into 4 programmes of work, from which I was primarily responsible for Programme 2; which encompassed both archaeological and related conservation work. I was responsible for applying for SMC for work on all 6 monuments, producing briefs and appointing contractors for a full suite of non-invasive work (including LIDAR, geophysics and topographic surveys); producing project designs for excavation work to MoRPHE guidelines; managing all of the excavation and post-excavation work for 5 invasive schemes of work on 4 of the hillforts in the group; producing grey literature reports on the results and pulling together a multi-authored publication.

As a landscape project there was a great deal of emphasis on trying to place the hillforts within their landscape through the use of multiple data sets within ARCGIS map based software as well as a lot of ground proofing and landscape investigation.

A major part of the hillforts project was public engagement which meant working with a lot of local volunteers and community groups as well as helping to set up a permanent educational resource for school children in the form of a mock archaeological excavation and replica roundhouse. This aspect of the work also involved presenting a lot of public lectures to local, regional and national audiences including presenting papers to the CBA NW and The Bronze Age Forum (Cardiff) in 2011 and the Re-thinking

As of April 2012 I became Chairman of the Chester Archaeological Society. Amongst the work of the society’s committee, I contribute to planning fieldwork, publication of the annual journal and also co-ordinate responses to planning applications which impact on the local historic environment. The latter aspect of this work has necessitated me staying abreast of developments within the NPPF (e.g. the emphasis on sustainable development) and the Governments Localism Agenda.

Published work

 

Garner D, 2001 The Bronze Age of Manchester Airport: Runway 2 In Bruck J (ed) Bronze Age Landscapes Tradition and Transformation. Oxbow Books.
Fraser R, Garner D, et al, 2001 Chester Castle Conservation Plan English Heritage
Garner D, 2004 Amphitheatre Project The Past Uncovered, June 2004. Chester City Council.
Garner D and Dunn G, 2004 Gladiators at the Amphitheatre The Past Uncovered, October 2004. Chester City Council.
Garner D, 2005 Viking Treasure in Huxley The Past Uncovered, February 2005. Chester City Council.
Garner D, 2005 Chester Amphitheatre Project The Past Uncovered, June 2005. Chester City Council.
Garner D, 2005 Salt Making in Roman Middlewich: Discoveries before 2000 In Brine in Britannia: Recent Archaeological Work on the Roman Salt Industry in Cheshire. Nevell M & Fielding A P (ed). Archaeology North West vol.7 issue 17 CBA
Garner D, 2006 Amphitheatre news – what happens next? The Past Uncovered, June 2006. Chester City Council.
Wilmott T, Garner D and Ainsworth S, 2006 The Roman Amphitheatre at Chester: An interim account English Heritage Historical Review, Vol.1, pp6-23
Garner D and Wilmott T, 2006 The Roman Amphitheatres of Chester Research News No.4, pp6-9. English Heritage.
Garner D and Wilmott T, 2006 The Amphitheatre Site after the Romans Research News No.4, pp17-19. English Heritage.
Garner D and Morris M, 2006 Chester: Contrasting Approaches The Archaeologist, No.62, pp38-39. IFA
Garner D and Wilmott T, 2007 Let the Games Begin British Archaeology, March/April 2007, pp 10-15
Garner D J, 2007 The Neolithic and Bronze Age Settlement at Oversley Farm, Styal, Cheshire BAR, British Series, No.435. Archaeopress.
Garner D, 2007 Prehistoric sword from Beeston The Past Uncovered, June 2007. Chester City Council.
Garner D, 2007 The Pre-Roman Archaeology of Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre Past, No.56, pp5-7. Newsletter of the Prehistoric Society.
Garner D, 2007 Archaeology in the Park The Past Uncovered, October 2007. Chester City Council.
Garner D, 2007 Archaeology in the Park: Grosvenor Park Chester 2007. Chester City Council
Rogers I R and Garner D J  2007 Wilderspool and Holditch: Roman Boom-Towns on the Road North BAR, British Series no.449. Archaeopress.
Garner D J, et al  2008 25 Bridge Street 2001: Two Thousand Years of Urban Life in Microcosm Archaeological Service Excavation and Survey Report no.14. Chester City Council
Garner D and Reid M (forthcoming) Roman Middlewich: re-assessing its form, function and chronology Chester Archaeological Society Journal (forthcoming)
Garner D (forthcoming) Helsby Hill to Maiden Castle: Prehistoric forts of the Cheshire Ridge CBA NW (forthcoming)
Garner D (forthcoming) There and back again: Eddisbury Hillfort and its environs CBA NW (forthcoming)
Garner D 2012 Hillforts of the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge Cheshire West and Chester Council