Historic Environment Officer
Chris Jones is the National Park’s Historic Environment Officer. He has always had a fascination with the past since a very early age and first visited Hadrian’s Wall on a family holiday at the age of 12. Chris’ Great Grandfather was a Newcastle man and he has been drawn to Northumberland’s rich history and stunning archaeology and his family are settled in Hexham, where he and his partner Dawn are bringing up their two sons, recently being elected as a Parent Governor to the Sele First School, which eldest son Lewis attends.
Born and bred in Sheffield, Chris spent a lot of time from an early age in the Peak District National Park and whilst studying for a Masters degree in Landscape Archaeology, carried out his University work placement with one of the Peak District’s archaeologists. Since qualifying as an archaeologist, Chris has worked on a range of sites from London to the Outer Hebrides.
Chris joined Northumberland National Park Authority in 2007 after a maternity cover post with the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and before that worked for three years for North Pennines Archaeology Ltd.
In Northumberland National Park can be found over 5,000 years of human activity, from the hillforts of the Cheviots to Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman frontier to the fortified farmhouses or Bastles of the Border Reivers. His own ancestors on his Mum’s side, the Dodds, were on such reiving family.
There are 425 Scheduled Monuments, 229 Listed Buildings and over 4,000 known records for sites in the National Park. The National Park Authority owns very little land and the majority of which is owned by private individuals. With less than 2,000 residents in the National Park and some very small settlements and tighter planning controls, it is through working with farmers that the historic environment is protected and Chris works as part of a wider conservation team to conserve the National Park’s distinctive historic environment.
Chris’ also works with partner organisations and provides advice and support to local communities on the research, investigation and conservation of our historic environment. He is also responsible for the National Park’s Young Archaeologists Club which is open to all children between the ages of 8 and 16 and includes a range of activities and visits to historic and archaeological sites in and around the National Park.
When asked what the best part of his job is, Chris said: “This is the best job an archaeologist can have, I get to spend time hiking and looking at hillforts, castles and other interesting remains of our past.”
“I get to work with interesting and creative people on a range of projects, working collaboratively to support each other’s work. I love it when people ask me what it is that I do and their reaction when I tell them. But it’s not about bragging, it’s about encouraging people to get involved with projects we all have a stake in. There’s no “I” in archaeology.”