About

I am an archaeologist. This is like saying “I am human”. Being an archaeologist is not a profession, it is a state of being.

First – the boring bits!
I originally specialised in the study of prehistoric flint tools but then moved into public archaeology and heritage education. I offer consultancy in public archaeology, archaeology education, policy development, advocacy and curriculum development.

I am Honorary Director of the Centre for Audio-Visual Study and Practice at the Institute of Archaeology in University College London, and was Head of Education at the Council for British Archaeology for 17 years. I am involved in research in public archaeology, the archaeological landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales, as well as the history of Anglo-Saxon England and early medieval Britain.

My interest in public heritage covers both theoretical issues of public engagement with the past, and practical issues of narrative creation and communication within heritage.

I have a keen interest in the portrayal of the past and of archaeology on television and in feature films, and in the use of audio-visual media in communicating archaeology to diverse audiences.

Now – the more interesting bits.
I have a great love of walking, the Pennine landscapes of northern England, good traditional British food (indeed food of all kinds really), real ale, and Japanese language and culture.

I come from Lancashire – Red Rose and proud of it – from a place called Penwortham that no one has heard of. But I betray my heritage my supporting rugby union not league!

Favourite beers – Westvleteren 8, Brains SA, Brains Dark, Hopback Entire Stout, Nethergate Old Growler Porter, Nethergate Umbel Magna and many, many others.

Favourite foods – Lancashire hotpot, Bradford Kashmir curry, Bradford Fighting Cock chilli, monkfish, Whitby crab pate, chorizo in cider at the El Corral in Barcelona, okinomiyaki in Japan, seafood linguine at Mama Mia’s in York and many, many others. Oh, and the sausage, chips, cheese, peas and fried egg at the Maltings.

Favourite films – Top 3: A Matter of Life and Death, Mishima, Kundun. Others – The Red Shoes or anything by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, Letters from Iwo Jima, Lord of the Rings, Odd Man Out, Let the Right One In, Hidden City, Gregory’s Girl, Zulu and many, many more.

Good TV – Dr Who, Red Riding, The Killing (Danish version only please), The Prisoner, Torchwood – Children of Earth, The Forsyte Saga (original version), Bill and Ben, The Magic Roundabout. Lots of other stuff I can’t remember.

And, I love vampire fiction and films (no, not the Twilight series!).

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4 Responses to About

  1. marketaz says:

    Dr Who, The Prisoner, Torchwood, The Magic Roundabout….good selection

  2. Don Henson says:

    Of course, I have impeccable taste! Eagerly awaiting the next series of Dr Who.

  3. HexCam says:

    Hi Don. I drifted here after reading an interesting article about CASPAR. I don’t know if our work would be of any interest to you. Tomorrow, we are carrying out our first archaeological photography shoot using our radio-controlled octocopter at the Caistor Roman Project just outside Norwich. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some great still images and video for them. Hopefully we might meet the remit for creative use of ICT, new technology and AV media in archaeology! We are at http://www.hexcam.co.uk All the best! Good beer choices, you should come over to the flatlands and try a few Adnams or Grain variants!

    • donhenson says:

      Thanks for this. It’s always good hear of new technology being used. I’ll keep an eye out on what you do. Mostly CASPAR is oriented towards public communication through AV technologies, although I also have an interest in how digital technologies are used in teaching archaeology.

      The wilds of East Anglia do indeed have some good beers, and Norwich just recently beat York for the number of different ales on sale in the city (254 to York’s 247).

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