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Nicole (Bonnie) Burton

BA (Hons) Archaeology and MSc Archaeological Sciences

  • Digital Documentation Trainee at Historic Environment Scotland
  • Studied at postgraduate level to broaden knowledge and specialise in a technical area
  • Came to an Open Day at Bradford and was impressed by the facilities and departmental environment
Nicole Burton, BA Archaeology and MSc Archaeological Sciences graduate

Current role

"Working with the Digital Documentation team at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), who are part of the conservation directorate, has helped me develop key career skills as well as personal growth.

"The initial attraction to this role included the ability to work in the field at historic sites across Scotland as well as developing computer skills in the office. I have a range of responsibilities, including contributing to teamwork and individual work and ensuring projects are finished within time restrictions.

"Other responsibilities range from periodically checking highly technical equipment and producing high quality 3D models for public outreach."

Nicole Burton, BA Archaeology and MSc Archaeological Sciences graduate

Finding my passion

"During my undergraduate degree, I felt overwhelmed and unsure on what direction to take my career. But, after volunteering at the Knowe of Swandro for six seasons, I had the opportunity to use digital documentation techniques on the coastal site, enhancing my awareness of the rate of destruction to our cultural heritage.

"Finding my passion for digital heritage, I focused my Masters’ thesis on digital documentation on an eroding site at the Knowe of Swandro."

I wanted to pursue my postgraduate degree at Bradford, due to the incredible facilities the Archaeology department has - especially the Visualising Heritage team.

Experience at Bradford

"I am originally from Bradford and I initially wanted to stay local. Prior to enrolling at the University, I registered on an Archaeology Open Day, where I was able to ask questions. On arrival, I was extremely impressed with the facilities, as well as the small and friendly departmental environment.

"Postgraduate study allowed me to gain experience with these tools which has had an impact on my achievements so far.

"Initially, I had never considered studying at postgraduate level, especially in Archaeological Sciences, due to having a BA (Hons) Archaeology background. However, at the end of my final year, I wanted to broaden my knowledge and specialise in a technical area.

"Overall, I enjoyed my study at Bradford, I felt encouraged by my lecturers who were extremely helpful and friendly during examination and dissertation periods.

"The advice I would give students considering postgraduate study is to do their research of their chosen course, as well as discuss any queries you have with your lecturers. Furthermore, I would recommend making a professional Twitter profile, as this is where interactions with fellow colleagues and other professionals within the discipline can take place."

"The biggest inspirations to my career are two of my previous lecturers, senior lecturers Dr Stephen Dockrill and Dr Julie Bond. Without their encouragement and enabling me to gain experience on their site at the Knowe of Swandro, as well as giving me the opportunity to develop various archaeology skills throughout my study, I would not have had the courage or confidence that I have in my abilities today."

Finding work

"After finishing my Master's degree, I wasn’t focusing on any particular type of job other than in Archaeology within the surrounding area. I was frequently looking at the Archaeology job sites, as well as emailing my CV to various companies within West Yorkshire, regardless of them advertising jobs or not.

"I received back a prompt email that a company was hiring and I attended one interview before receiving the job for when I finished my Master's study.

"One thing I have learnt from looking for Archaeology jobs is to make connections at conferences or via Twitter, as this allows you to present your work as well as getting your name out to other professionals."