International Women's Day - profile on our Principal Archaeologist

In honour of International Women’s Day today, we've met some of the women in the council doing interesting jobs here in Cornwall. 

My name is Jacky Nowakowski. 

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I am a Principal Archaeologist at Cornwall Council’s Cornwall Archaeological Unit (CAU) and my research interests are the Bronze Age and later prehistory. 

My job involves developing and delivering a wide range of archaeological and heritage projects. I work mainly with the voluntary sector and community groups on projects like the restoration of a prehistoric chambered tomb at Carwynnen Quoit in Camborne and investigating the stone circles at The Hurlers on Bodmin Moor. 

I’m the project director of research excavations at Tintagel Castle for English Heritage. We’re working on the post fieldwork programme after two successful digs in 2016 and 2017. 

The work at Tintagel is tremendously exciting and varied. I work with a large specialist team whom I bring together to work on projects. This brings me into contact with many different disciplines, as well as the wider public who are keen to find out about our new discoveries. 

My role is to co-ordinate everything and drive the project to a successful conclusion. 

One of my recent personal successes has been publishing Archaeology and Landscape – The West Penwith Surveys 1980-2010, which is one of CAU’s best sellers. Its publication represents a major milestone for the service – a legacy project of over 400 landscape surveys undertaken by staff at CAU since the 1980s. 

In a typical week, as well as managing staff I could also be managing a variety of projects, scoping up new ones and preparing talks for outreach. I do a lot of outreach and networking to promote the work of the service. 

I also work as part of the management team at CAU and help with the operational programme of the service which is wide is scope. We deal with clients from varied backgrounds - agency, charities and private developers - and provide a commercial service for archaeology projects that arise out of the planning process. 

I’ve worked for the Council for more than 30 years. Before that, I was a field archaeologist working on excavations for trusts and universities across the UK and abroad. I have always been an archaeologist, having volunteered as a teenager on a dig in London and got smitten by the bug! 

The best part of my job is being part of something that matters and makes people connect with their heritage. 

The restoration of Carywnnen Quoit has to be my most memorable experience. Watching the capstone of an ancient site restored to its original form in a field with 600 people on a glorious midsummer day was just magic. 

When the monument was restored, people in the community gave it a new lease of life by dancing and singing around it.  Digging at Tintagel Castle has also been very special, rewarding and uplifting. 

What I love most about my job is the variety. Doing something that shows archaeology and heritage is a shared resource we can all celebrate and enjoy. 

I love working with people, sharing my knowledge and expertise. It’s a delight to see people get involved in archaeology. 

I love living in Cornwall because it’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring places I know. Infinitely varied, always surprising and there is so much to learn and discover still!