Vince Russett

You will no doubt be delighted to learn that Vince has been recognised by the prestigious I.A.G (Independent Archaeologist Group)for his work encouraging local Community Groups. Here is the commendation featured in their Spring publication.

It is very satisfying to look back over the last nine years of successful Local Community Archaeology Groups and recognise that these achievements are chiefly due to the inspiration and efforts of Vince Russett, the North Somerset County Archaeologist.

Vince's involvement began in 2001 when he joined a small group of five, then headed by Penny Stokes, the Mendip District Archaeologist, who was about to leave to take a post in Cornwall. Vince soon instructed this band of enthusiasts to survey, research, write reports and field walk, and, with the dignity of the acronym, CHERT, Charterhouse Environs Research Team. to feel some achievement. News of this " local expert" soon spread, when numbers steadily began to grow, coming from a wide area around Charterhouse. Who is this "expert"?

Vince left Oxford with his M.A. to begin a varied career in archaeology starting at ground level, training with the Axbridge Archaeological Society, mentored by experienced "diggers" and local historians. This knowledge was enriched with a spell at the Bristol Museum, washing and identifying pottery, which would be of great value to him as he progressed to become the county archaeologist for Avon County and to his present position as North Somerset County Archaeologist.

The ability to direct and lead groups of such disparate, independently minded enthusiasts requires special qualities, Vince, with his knowledge, charisma, his approachability, and sheer common sense has that rare quality.

That ability and the success of Chert has led to the formation of seven similar groups in the area. The same enthusiasm has been infectious with the result that several members have now achieved archaeological degrees, others trained to master resistivity equipment and groups have their own Web sites managed, with his help, by people who once would have found it difficult to use a mobile telephone!

We are indebted to Vince for enabling many of us, particularly those who have retired, to become involved with current archaeological thinking and techniques and able to contribute to the National Archive.

Peter Johnson