HS2 Archaeology & Heritage Lead

What is HS2?

High Speed Two is the high speed railway network that will connect London with other major cities including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. When it’s finished, the route will span 330 miles. HS2 is the biggest infrastructure project in the UK – it will be part of our generation’s mark on history.

What is an HS2 Archaeology and Heritage Lead?

High Speed Two is the largest construction project in the UK, and it will also involve the biggest archaeological investigation that Britain has ever seen. It is a fantastic opportunity to discover what lies in the ground so that we can learn more about our heritage

An HS2 Archaeology and Heritage Lead sets the standards for how the historic environment, including archaeology, is taken into consideration when the railway is being planned and built, while still making sure it’s built on time and on budget.

Typically an archaeologist is someone who studies the development and behaviour of human beings from the past to the present day. They study the remains of past societies, excavating sites and analysing artefacts and other evidence , which helps give us a better understanding of what the world was like for our ancestors all those years ago.

What does an HS2 Archaeology and Heritage Lead do?

  • Develops policy and strategies on archaeology and heritage issues relating to HS2.
  • Sets the standards for how the historic environment and archaeology are taken into consideration during the construction of the new railway, while still ensuring the project is built on time and on budget.
  • Trains and influences people who are working on HS2 to ensure archaeology and heritage issues are key considerations in project decision making.
  • Manages a team of archaeology and heritage technical experts.
  • Tells the government and agencies like Historic England about archaeology and heritage issues relating to HS2, as well as dealing with public and media requests.

To learn more about what an Archaeology and Heritage Lead does on a day-to-day basis, hear from Helen Glass, one of HS2's Archaeology and Heritage topic leads.

Is an HS2 Archaeology and Heritage Lead career right for me?

If your answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’, then a career in archaeology at HS2 could be for you:

  • Do you enjoy carrying out investigations, either in the library or on site?
  • Do you have a strong interest in the past? Do you like talking to lots of different people to engage them in stories of the past?
  • Do you enjoy working outdoors as well in a library or a laboratory?
  • Do you like problem solving, detective work and piecing together evidence?
  • Do you like being involved in projects from start to finish?
  • Are you good with technology?
  • Do you enjoy working in a team or with other organisations?

How to become an HS2 Archaeology and Heritage Lead

Most archaeologists have a degree in the subject, or in a science-related field. Many archaeologists who work in senior positions also have a master’s degree or postgraduate qualification. These qualifications will make you stand out from other applicants and will be seen as very valuable in the eyes of an employer.

To be an archaeologist, you may find the following qualifications useful:

  • A degree in archaeology or a science subject
  • A degree in history
  • A master’s degree in archaeology or a postgraduate qualification
  • A HND in archaeology

It’s important that you have some practical experience before applying for jobs. Archaeological associations often provide details about fieldwork that students can get involved with. You can find more information about this on the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA) website.

Other sources of information about how to get started or get involved can be found at:

  • Archaeologist Training Forum
  • Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
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