Archaeologist Kirsty Millican sits on a pile of stones while making notes on a clipboard

Did you know that HES employs over 70 people with an archaeological background in a wide variety of roles? Archaeology’s transferable skills can be applied to the range of opportunities that a wide and diverse organisation such as HES provides.

Training and trainees

One of our Graduate Trainee schemes enables a recent graduate to gain invaluable experience in the work of different teams across the Heritage Directorate.

Our current Trainee, Rachel Nicholson, has a background in archaeology and feels her existing knowledge has helped inform her work across the different teams:

It has allowed me to place archaeology into a wider context by developing a more comprehensive understanding of how our historic environment is managed, protected and shared.”

Rachel Nicholson carrying out field work in a snowy wood.

Rachel Nicholson

In HES’ Learning and Development team, Julie Lochrie is another archaeologist who now puts her skills of understanding people in the past towards working with people in the present.

Before I studied archaeology, I had no idea of the vast variety of subjects that I would learn – it’s improved my understanding of people, economics, science, maths, agriculture, industry and so much more.

Survey and Research

Alison McCaig is an archaeologist who works across the whole of Scotland, mapping, surveying and illustrating sites of all periods.

“My archaeological knowledge contributes to the identification of sites in the field and in employing the survey methods best suited to interpreting, recording and understanding these sites and landscapes.”

Lisa Brown takes a break from fieldwork, leaning on a moss-covered tree

Lisa Brown

In 2017, HES appointed our first-ever archaeological science manager. Lisa Brown came from a varied background in archaeology which included radiocarbon dating.

“I use this knowledge and experience every day in my work, connecting archaeological science professionals working across Scotland.”

Advice and Regulation

Kirsty Millican assesses sites and monuments for scheduling. She applies her archaeological knowledge to a wide variety of sites:

I could be looking at a chambered cairn one day and a medieval castle the next. I have to both understand the monuments I’m looking at, and how they fit within their wider archaeological context.”

Kirsty Millican surveying on a desolate moorland

Kirsty Millican

Julie Candy works on researching, consulting and amending the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

An archaeological background helps her to “see beyond the big house of Scotland’s country estates. The landscape always tells a fuller picture of the past.”

Our Head of Casework, Ann MacSween has a unique background in archaeology and planning, having completed degrees in both.

“As an archaeologist, what makes Scotland so interesting is the layers of history, the legacy of past communities. In my job, I often think about the impact of our decisions on the layer we will leave behind.”

Julie Candy working on site, on the lawn of a historic garden

Julie Candy

Archaeological advice is provided to our Properties in Care teams. Rachel Pickering highlights just how diverse this role can be:

One day I can be advising jewellery designers on Neolithic art for a new retail range, another I can be working on a new visitor car park development!”

Archives and Collections

HES cares for thousands of objects and millions of photographs, along with a wealth of data.

Our Head of Archives, Lesley Ferguson, is responsible for documenting Scotland’s archaeological, architectural and industrial heritage. A background in Prehistoric Archaeology gave her skills which help to create an  amazing archive of discoveries.

Beth Spence is a Regional Collections Manager. This involves the curation of everything from archaeological finds to industrial objects.

“My work can be outdoors and physically challenging, or involve handling delicate objects. I have been fortunate to work at some spectacular sites across Scotland.”

Rachel Pickering working at an archaeological dig

Rachel Pickering

Climate Change

Mairi Davies is an archaeologist and our Climate Change Manager. She looks at how we can adapt to climate change, improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions.

“My background in archaeology is invaluable because I am used to thinking about long term environmental change and its relationship with human behaviour.”

“This informs much of my work, from assessing climate change impacts on historic sites to influencing recycling habits.”

Mairi Davies speaking at an event at The Engine Shed

Mairi Davies

The Engine Shed

Lyn Wilson is Digital Documentation Manager at the Engine Shed, our conservation hub in Stirling. She notes that her archaeological background “means I understand the challenges our historic environment faces and how digital technologies can be of benefit in our conservation efforts.”


Lyn Wilson working with a laptop onsite at Stirling Castle. She wears a hard hat and reflective vest.

Lyn Wilson

Annie-Leigh Campbell works in the Activities Team and helps to remind colleagues that buildings are more than just bricks and mortar!

“Through archaeological excavation, I can understand how buildings have changed over time, as well as the experiences of the people who lived inside them.”

Global connections

Our coordinator for the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site, Patricia Weeks, studied archaeology, museums and business. She gets to combine all three on a daily basis.

“My work involve protecting the physicality of the site itself, improving public appreciation of the Wall, sourcing funding and developing initiatives to encourage the next generation.”

Patricia Weeks at an event celebrating the Antonine Wall Patricia Weeks

All of our archaeologists agree that variety what makes their work so attractive and fascinating. But I will leave the last words to Beth Spence:

My current role is challenging, and my remit can feel vast. No two weeks are the same, and I am never ever bored at work!”


About Author


Rebecca Jones

Rebecca is our Head of Archaeology and World Heritage. She has a PhD in Roman Scotland from the University of Glasgow and her research interests focus on Roman camps and Roman frontiers. She is co-Chair of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies.