Ian Meadows has been project managing the archaeological digs at Chester Farm.
He has an impressive 40 years' archaeological experience; working for Northamptonshire Archaeology for 22 years and latterly MOLA Northampton as a senior project officer. He went self-employed in 2014. As well as project managing excavations he also teaches archaeology and landscape history.
We really couldn't have anyone more qualified, as Ian has spent most of the last 20 years on excavations in and around the Wellingborough area, including a number of Roman farms and vineyards (the first proven in the UK); such important context for what we are currently doing.
Volunteering is a big feature of the Chester Farm project and Ian had some 20 helpers on site each day of the two week July 2016 dig. Many of these volunteers have worked on previous Chester Farm digs, so Ian says they are building up a real continuity of experience.
You might think that working with volunteers is more challenging but Ian says that he likes working with them "they ask lots of questions and an amateur is often much more careful as they try to extract every ounce of understanding".
As Ian explains to a new volunteer the stage that the dig has reached or the life of a Roman soldier or his specialist subject, Roman coins, the others all stop to listen, clearly fascinated and keen to add to their knowledge.
In July 2016, Ian led the biggest dig to date: a 100 metre trench from Chester House to Lime Avenue, this was a vital part of the project and the contractors could not begin until recording the exposed remains had been completed.