Anna West BSc (Hons)
Environmental Supervisor

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Biography

Having a keen interest in archaeology from an early age Anna remembers with great fondness her time spent volunteering on the York University excavations of the royal Anglo Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo during the late 1980’s, before going on to study Archaeological Sciences at Liverpool University. Anna completed further site and post-excavation placements with the Great Lakes Archaeological Research Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA whilst carrying out her studies.

Graduating with a BSc Honours Degree in 1994 Anna worked in Heritage and Environmental Interpretation throughout England and Wales before joining Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service in 2005 as their Finds Supervisor. Working on both commercial and community excavations Anna particular enjoys working with groups of volunteers from local history groups to schools and university students, spending a year assisting the Outreach Officer on the Hands on Heritage Project helping to raise awareness of archaeology through archaeologically related children’s activities.

In 2009 Anna established our first internal environmental department taking on the processing and assessment of whole earth samples. Today we offer processing of bulk samples and assessment reports externally as well as internally and as our Environmental Supervisor Anna liaises with a suite of external environmental specialists to produce assessment and analysis reports for grey literature and publication.

Favourite Find

The burial and its group of finds mid-excavation

During the autumn of 2013 Anna worked as part of the Suffolk Archaeology team supervising the community excavation at Barber’s Point, Aldeburgh, run in conjunction with the Aldeburgh and District Local History Group. The fourth and final phase of this excavation, which began in 2004, was very exciting. The Anglo Saxon cemetery was to be fully excavated and Anna assisted a number of history group members as well as students from Cambridge University as they carried out this excavation.

The grave of a young girl aged about 16 years old was excavated revealing a group of finds, curios, that would have been contained within a wooden box and placed at her feet. The finds group included a panther cowrie shell from the Red Sea, iron rings including one with an amber bead and a blue glass bead threaded onto it, an iron key, a copper Iron Age terret ring, fragments of pale green Roman glass including a fragment of Roman glass bottle, a spindle whorl, a fragment of amber and a fossil echinoid. Objects she may have gathered together in life, many of which could have had potent symbolism, were then buried with her in death.

Radio carbon dating showed this grave dated to around 600 AD, making it the founding grave of a cemetery that lasted maybe 300 years or more. This was a very exciting excavation to be involved in covering the transitional period from the end of pagan Anglo Saxon rituals to the adoption of Christian burial rites.