Institute of Archaeology


Oliver Hutchinson - Honorary Research Assistant

Oliver Hutchinson
  • Honorary Research Assistant
  • BA (Hons)
  • Email: o.hutchinson@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Since 2015 Oliver has worked on the multi-award winning Coastal and InterTidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN) in the South East of England. CITiZAN is a citizen science-led response to record and monitor coastal archaeological sites that are increasingly threatened by coastal erosion. Oliver specializes in building volunteer networks within local communities, training small teams in rapid field recording techniques and enabling them to preserve by record the ever changing archaeological record of their local foreshore. Focussed primarily on Mersea Island on the Blackwater Estuary, Oliver’s volunteer teams have revealed an extensive re-emerging landscape including well preserved Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon remains. With over 60 registered volunteers on the island and over 500 residents attending events over the last two years the project has proven a great success and a key case study in community coastal archaeology.  

In partnership with Historic England, The National Trust and the Crown Estate, CITiZAN added over 1000 new archaeological features to its dataset, reached over 9000 people people during its first three year phase and won two national awards; The National Charity Awards 2018 for Arts, Culture and Heritage and The British Archaeological Awards Best Community Engagement Archaeology Project 2018.

Now in its second phase running from 2019-2021, Oliver is working in collaboration with Professor Andrew Reynolds of the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, to run terrestrial excavations on the island following a successful application to Society of Antiquaries’ Margaret and Tom Jones award in 2019. This joint project will help to answer questions about the foreshore archaeology of Mersea and its relationship to the island, further helping us to understand Mersea’s important role within wider social and economic developments within the Anglo-Saxon period.

Oliver is also a presenter on Channel 4’s Britain At Low Tide. The show follows the exploits of the CITiZAN project in England and Scotland. Its primetime transmission regularly attracted over 1 million viewers and highlighted an ongoing public interest in the past whilst introducing audiences to the developing field of coastal archaeology.

Research Interests

  • The intertidal archaeology of Essex with particular referece to the Colne and Blackwater estuaries
  • Archaeology as a proxy for understanding historic sea level change and wider climate change
  • The impact of changing sea levels on coastal communities  
  • Rapid field recording techniques in the intertidal zone

In his capacity as Honarary Research Assistant at the Institute, Oliver is collaborating with Professor Andrew Reynolds studying Anglo-Saxon archaeology of Mersea Island, Essex. He contributes lectures and seminars to ARCL0010 Introduction to Archaeology, and has also delivers lectures to students on the Institute’s MA Public Archaeology.