DR PHIL HARDING

Honorary President of Defence Archaeology Group

I accepted the offer to act as Honorary President having been involved in a fringe role since the start of Op NIGHTINGALETM. I assume that this together with my experience as an archaeologist and my familiar face through Time Team helped ‘tick boxes’.


I have tried to keep in touch with projects as they occur, but cannot of course be involved with them extensively (As I remain a full time archaeologist), however I have visited excavations at Caerwent, Salisbury Plain (Burrow Clump, Spitfire and Perham Down) and Cyprus. In addition I have become part of the team undertaking Waterloo Uncovered for the past two years. I like to think that this involvement helps me keep in touch with projects and reassure people that I am not an inactive President. I have no military background, my father was a very reluctant soldier, but I am glad to be able to help recovery where I can.


On a broader picture I have been digging since 1966 (the year we won the World Cup!!) First as a schoolboy volunteer, then progressively through being an itinerant digger and finally being selected for a full time post in 1975 as assistant to the Wiltshire County Archaeologist (Rural) based at Devizes. This small group was amalgamated with similar groups from adjacent counties in 1979-80 as a body which is now Wessex Archaeology. I guess most people know me as one of the Channel 4 Time Team, something that I remain very proud of, as it brought archaeology to so many people that had never experienced it before. Perhaps that is one of the things that gives me the satisfaction with regard to Operation NIGHTINGALETM type projects.