Helen Wass


As a Northumbrian, visits to Hadrian’s Wall were frequent and I wondered what the Romans were doing there, how they talked to the natives? What did they eat? Why and how did they build the wall? Thus began a curiosity in the people of the past.

I volunteered at the excavations of the Roman fort Arbeia and learnt that I liked field archaeology, and how to shovel into a wheelbarrow from a distance.

I studied archaeology at the Universities of Reading and Oxford and following that worked in a field unit and consultancy, before joining High Speed 1 for nine years. There I managed the delivery of the archaeological site and post excavation works. This proved the perfect hothouse for my current role. On High Speed 2, on the client side, I have an over-arching strategic remit to set the project’s strategy and technical standards for the historic environment, supported by many consultants, academics and contractors, together with Historic England and local authority specialists. Collaboration and communication are key elements of my work and I do have the best job in the UK right now.

Guest Speaker for Green Skills Week