Branch Leaders

Liz Caldwell


Winner of the Council for British Archaeology’s Community Archaeologist of the Year

I have been actively involved in archaeology in Somerset for about 20 years. I am a Trustee of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (SANHS) and also the Secretary of the SANHS Archaeology Committee. I help to run the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group, a community based archaeology group run by and for volunteers. I also have my own business partnership with fellow MAYA Branch Assistant, Nigel Harvey, carrying out geophysical surveys and processing soil samples for archaeological consultancies in the Southwest. While my son was growing up I worked as a volunteer in schools, Cubs/Scouts and other local activity groups for children.

Mick Aston was never happier than when he was sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for archaeology with people, especially children. He was keen to set up another branch of the Young Archaeologists Club in Somerset and some of his enthusiasm has rubbed off on me! I and the other Branch Leaders and Assistants of MAYA were all inspired in one way or another by Mick and we are delighted to dedicate this Branch of the Young Archaeologists Club to his memory.

Natasha Paine


I have recently graduated from my degree in History Heritage and Archaeology proudly gaining a 1st and student of the year! My passion and love for history and archaeology has come from watching episode after episode of time team as a child and so this group is close to my heart. I am particularly interested in the archaeology of disability and difficulties, which was the basis of my dissertation. I am an active member of my parish council and work very closely with The National Trust to ensure that everyone can access and enjoy our history and heritage. I am very lucky to volunteer for Owl Obsession and therefore get to be close to these amazing creatures! However it has also given me the experience of talking to and teaching groups of people – no matter what their age or ability.

Although I was never fortunate enough to be able to meet Mick Aston, his work is certainly where I’ve gained my love and passion for this subject. His work in the community and particularly with children is something that I hope to be able to achieve. Knowing how important it is to take time to teach and inspire the younger generation


Branch Assistants

John Davey
John Davey

I am a landscape archaeologist and Lab Manager at the University of Exeter. I also currently run the University’s field school at Ipplepen in Devon. I have also run a small excavation for young people since 2011 at Yarlington in Somerset. I graduated with a PhD from the University of Bristol in 2004 and have nearly 20 years’ experience as a field archaeologist mostly working in the SW of Britain. I have also worked for Dorset County Council on their Historic Towns Project and for the Portable Antiquities Scheme as a finds Liaison Officer.

I believe that the practice of archaeology provides exercise for both the mind and the body and as such forms a perfect past time for young people. It is also important for the future of the discipline to encourage the involvement of young people at an early stage. Mick Aston had been my tutor and mentor since 1996. He was a wonderful and inspirational educator and it is a great privilege to be able, in Mick’s honour, to pass my knowledge and experience on to the next potential generation of archaeologists.

Nigel HarveyNigel

I have been working in archaeology in Somerset for over 12 years.  I am on the committee of the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group and am their fieldwork co-ordinator.  I run a Business Partnership (GeoFlo) with fellow MAYA Branch Leader Liz, doing geophysics and archaeological soil sample processing.

I am a qualified Nanny and worked with vulnerable children as a Social Worker for 9 years.

 Thomas Caldwell

Thomas pic 1

I am a 19 year old engineering student at Somerset College but I have been interested in archaeology and the ancient past for many years. I have also helped out with several archaeological surveys for the South Somerset Archaeological Research Group. My role in MAYA is to help with the social media side of things. I like computer games and having fun! I have always been a big fan of the Time Team and it’s great to be involved with something that has been set up in memory of Mick Aston.