Sue McGalliard

Post-excavation Officer and Osteologist

Sue McGalliard sits at a desk and works with ancient bone fragments.
© Caroline Raynor

I have worked in the commercial archaeology sector since 2011 and have undertaken a variety of roles in this time across the profession, including as a field archaeologist, an osteologist and a post-excavation officer. I have also worked in Western Australia as a Heritage Consultant, working closely with Aboriginal Traditional Owners on sites impacted by mining. After many years in the field, I joined a large team on HS2 South as a Senior Osteologist. This role enabled me to develop my post-excavation skills and I now work as a Post-excavation Officer and Osteologist. This role largely involves coordinating and managing the final stages of a project before the report is sent to the client. For this, I combine all the component parts of the project such as results of the fieldwork, survey, finds, environmental and graphics to produce a coherent and logical product for the client. As an Osteologist, I also undertake skeletal assessments and analysis.

The most rewarding part of my job is working with all departments across my company and understanding how everyone contributes to the final result, from the field team to the project manager. This also enables me to see what processes we have in the company that need adjusting which will help everyone, and to highlight those that are working well.

My career has not only equipped me with the practical and academic abilities necessary for my job but has enabled me to develop skills that would be desirable in many industries. Excelling in written and verbal communication, paying attention to detail, developing relationships, analytics, research and problem solving are all practical skills that I use every day and are immediately transferable to the Civil Service, construction and academia. These, in conjunction with working with human remains, would also be compatible with working in the funeral home sector or as a scientific technician in a university or hospital.