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Jimmy Adcock

MSc Archaeological Prospection - Shallow Geophysics



Jimmy Adcock
  • Working as an Archaeological Geophysicist

One of the main reasons Archaeology graduate, Jimmy Adcock chose to study the MSc Archaeological Prospection - Shallow Geophysics at Bradford was due to its strong reputation in the world of geophysics.

"I work for a company that's based on the outskirts of Bradford. So, I came for one year and ended up staying for... we we're up to 10 now I think. And we are Archaeological Geophysicists which means that we map what's under the ground, but without doing any of the digging. So we tell archaeologists where to dig.

"It's something that's developed over the last 40 years or so. And actually Bradford was at the forefront of that, the University. They had a Physics Department which became an Archaeology Department - and that's quite a side step. But they recognised that these scientific techniques that were emerging could be used and applied to archaeology, whereas before they'd been applied to perhaps geological surveying, other techniques... and then brought those together and started offering these scientific courses. So really it is in the last 30 years, and probably in the last 25 or so it's really been used a lot for commercial work as opposed to just academic research.

"I chose the University of Bradford because the course it offered is fairly unique in archaeology. I had done done Geophysics as an undergrad, and that trained me to work in the oil industry but my real interest was using it for archaeological sites and there's only a very small number of places that offer that, and Bradford is one of them. And in fact Bradford was the first place to do scientific degrees for archaeology rather than having it as an art. And so having looked into the different places I could go, Bradford seemed the obvious choice.

"A bit intrepid coming up north, but it was brilliant. I mean, a really friendly campus was I think the thing that struck me as soon as I got there. Much smaller numbers than the university I'd been to previously. So, it sort of felt like there was a more friendly atmosphere I think.

I finished the Master's degree and it's very highly thought of amongst archaeological geophysics firms because it really is key to what we do - I mean what we learn on the course is what we use in our everyday work, and so I was able to apply to GSB and with my Master's behind me and my undergraduate degree and actually get in here as just a junior surveyor, where I'd go out and be doing the real basic stuff of setting out grids to survey. And then slowly started to learn the commercial side which is slightly different to the academic side. And then I've worked my way up now to be a Senior Geophysicist and help out with the management of the company as well as the actual data collection. I think there's probably two main reasons for choosing Bradford. And one of them is fairly generic and the other one is sort of specific to archaeology.

"The generic side is that it's a sort of quite close-knit campus, or it certainly was when I went through there, and you felt that... you'd bump into people all the time that you knew, you didn't feel part of this massive body of students, even though it is still quite a large institution. And everyone who was there was friendly, everyone was there to help- and I really felt at home as soon as I got there. And then from the archaeology side I think the department has such a long history of offering this scientific side rather than just the arts side, so you can come away with a BSc or an MSc in Archaeology.

"It has a real strong practical input from the commercial side, and it does some great research as well. And to actually be a part of that, you know, it's got a strong name in the field of archaeology and that's worth a lot."

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