Victoria Sands

Senior Post-Excavation Assistant, Colchester Archaeological Trust

Victoria Sands in front of a mural showing Roman chariot racing
Image credit: Victoria Sands

My name is Victoria Sands and I am a Senior Post-Excavation Assistant at Colchester Archaeological Trust. My role can be hugely varied, and everyday can present a new challenge (or an old one rearing its head!).

Primarily, my day-to-day involves preparing archives for deposition, managing our volunteer team, and maintaining our social media presence. Working in a small unit means that I often support other colleagues with different tasks, and I really enjoy this aspect of the job!

Prior to my role at Colchester Archaeological Trust, I studied a BA in Archaeology and History followed by a Masters in Business and Heritage Management at the University of Southampton. My studies focused on interests including the English Civil War, animal bone analysis and public engagement with the past. During my University years, I developed my professional experience in museums through volunteering, internship placements and paid roles for Southampton Museums and the National Trust. After graduating, I undertook a Trainee Archaeologist role at Oxford Archaeology to explore the world of commercial archaeology.

Whilst training as and becoming a fully-fledged Field Archaeologist, I dug on a complex Roman villa site near to Bristol which I was completely enamoured with. On this site I developed my understanding of finds and commercial archaeology as a whole, before joining Colchester Archaeological Trust's Post Excavation team in 2021. This role combines my interest in archiving with engaging volunteers and work experience students with Colchester’s history. I also organise community events such as the Washathon Project and our Archaeology Open Day to raise awareness about local archaeology.

The most interesting part of my role is being able to get hands on with a variety of finds - from intricate coins to complete pottery vessels. My personal interest is in animal bones, so I particularly enjoy coming across jaws with teeth still in them! I also enjoy imparting this knowledge on to others, whether that be another member of staff during a training session or member of the public at an open day.

I would still consider myself fairly new to archaeology, but I find working in a commercial unit incredibly exciting with lots of space to progress. I even won the Council for British Archaeology's Early Career Archaeologist award last year, which I was completely honoured to receive. If you ever have any questions about early career archaeology or what it's like to work in Post-Excavation, I am always happy to answer questions - Thanks for reading!