Dr Michael Dawson
Member of Common Room
Heritage Consultant (RPS plc)
Department for Continuing Education
DPhil (Oxon), MPhil (Notts), BA (Hons) (Cardiff), BA (Liverpool Poly)
Michael is an archaeologist and lectures on the late Iron Age and Roman period for the Dept of Continuing Education. He is editor of the journal ‘Historic Environment Policy and Practice’ and has enjoyed a long career as a field archaeologist and senior consultant. He is a former Chair of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, has been Secretary of the Standing Conference of Archaeology Unit Managers, and a member of the Bedfordshire Archaeological Council. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
He has wide research interests including the relationship between policy and practice in the historic environment, institutional agency, Roman urbanism, and the representation of Roman Britain through the display of mosaics in contemporary exhibition. He has written widely on these subject areas. In 2021 he published Spectacle and Display? A Modern History of Britain’s Roman Mosaics (Archaeopress), an exploration of the often disparate and diverse ways in which mosaics are used to represent not onlyRoman Britain but contemporary issues.
A career long interest in the archaeology of Romania began in 1981 with research excavations at the colonia, Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa. It led to an MPhil and papers on Romano-Dacia urbanism. More recently he was a co-author of a ‘Statement of Significance’ for the Roman mines at Roşia Montană, which was instrumental in the designation of the gold mines as a World Heritage site in 2016.
As a consultant he has represented clients in the Crown and County Courts and at Public Inquiry. Engaging with a wide spectrum of issues in the historic environment for commercial clients and government agencies his experience led to the recently published Heritage Under Pressure. Studies of Agency and ‘Soft’ Power in the Historic Environment (Oxbow), and Engaging with Heritage and Historic Environment Policy: Agency, Interpretation and Implementation (Routledge).
Firmly committed to good regulatory practice, he contributed to the Highways Agency’s guidance Assessing the Effect of Road Schemes on Historic Landscape Character and the ICE Conditions of Contract for Archaeological Investigation. He has served on the National Trust’s ‘Chedworth Research and Publication Board’. Speaking in Britain and overseas, at conferences, to client focused and professional groups, as well as university Extra Mural classes, schools, amateur groups and the public, he believes communication is a key part of contemporary archaeological practice.