Meet the Team





David Mason - Durham County Council - Site Director

David Mason is the Site Director, as well as the Research Consultant to The Auckland Project for the Binchester excavation project. As the Principal Archaeologist at Durham County Council, he has managed the visitor centre at the fort since 2004. He was also the director of the previous excavations at the site between 2009 and 2015. His specialisms include Roman military archaeology, the Roman navy, and Roman architecture and civil engineering. He also managed the English Heritage-funded post-excavation work for the 1976–81 and 1987–91 investigations of the site, which were published in 2010.


John Castling - The Auckland Project - Archaeology Curator and Site Supervisor

John began working as an archaeologist in 2007 (coincidentally with NAA’s Matthew Town as his boss) and, following several stints in the commercial archaeology sector and gaining an undergraduate and MA degree in archaeology from Durham University, he now works for The Auckland Project as the Archaeology and Social History Curator (as well as doing a part-time PhD at Durham). In particular, John works to connect the Binchester excavation to The Auckland Project’s work, as well as being involved in organising the Auckland Castle digs. He’s passionate about telling visitors to the site about what archaeological discoveries we’re making, so if you’re able to come and visit, he’d be only too happy to say hello and show you around!


Matthew Town - NAA - Project Manager

​Matthew has worked as a field archaeologist and historic environment consultant for 25 years. His role is the Project Manager for the excavations and has responsibility for liaison and consultation with The Auckland Project and consultees, and the overall coordination of the project.

Matthew is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeology (MCIfA) and has a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Prehistory, and an MA in Landscape Archaeology, both from the University of Sheffield. As a jobbing archaeologist, he worked extensively at Birdoswald Roman fort, on a range of Roman sites (including the Botchergate excavations) and supervised the Bottle Bank excavations in Gateshead. He is currently managing the vicus excavations at Benwell Roman Fort, Fenham.

Through this, Matthew has acquired a thorough understanding of Roman military archaeology and an enthusiasm for community archaeology. He has developed skills in conveying archaeological information and advice in a direct and easy to understand manner, which is so important in community-based projects, and has managed the training of a diverse volunteer workforce, as well as conducted various public talks and open days.


Steve Collison - NAA - Lead Site Supervisor

​Steve has worked in commercial archaeology for 12 years on a huge range of archaeological sites up and down the country, few of which were quite as special as Binchester. Steve is the lead Site Supervisor, and as such is responsible for the day to day running of the site and excavation. As you can imagine, this is a varied task that could involve anything from organising the daily tasks of our volunteers to making sure welfare facilities are in working order.

Aside from making sure that volunteers and visitors coming to the site stay safe, the next most important part of his job is to ensure that the excavation is run to the highest standards to ensure that Binchester remains an invaluable research resource for the Roman period in Britain. However, Steve’s favourite part of his job is working with the volunteers and sharing skills, allowing everyone involved in the excavation to come away feeling that they have made a lasting contribution to our understanding of the ancient world.


Rebecca Cadbury-Simmons - NAA - Volunteer Co-ordinator and Site Supervisor

Rebecca has been working in community archaeology for over three years and is passionate about giving as many people the opportunity to experience archaeology as possible. She undertook her BSc Archaeology at Bradford University, graduating in 2014, and went on to do an MSc at Durham University. Since she’s been at NAA, she has led on several community projects, as well as assisted at last year’s Binchester dig. She loves working with the volunteers at Binchester and hearing all about their experiences from previous seasons digging at the site!  

As well as helping Steve to supervise the ongoing work at the site, Rebecca’s role is to ensure that the volunteers are having a great time and that everyone is receiving the best education in archaeology from their experience. She is responsible for the social media coverage of the Binchester excavations, keeping our digital visitors up to date with everything going on. She’s also available to answer questions from visiting members of the public, so keep an eye out for her if you’re around the fort this summer!


Eddie Dougherty - NAA - Site Supervisor

Eddie has been involved with archaeology since the early part of 1983, when he was involved with the excavations at Segedunum Roman fort under the direction of the late Charles Daniels. To date, he’s been employed with Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd (NAA) for over 5 years. Prior to that, he worked with other commercial archaeological units, as well as academic bodies.

He has been an Archaeological Supervisor with NAA since April 2014. This has given him the opportunity to supervise and organise many of the services we provide across a wide geographical area, ranging from the Scottish borders to the metropolitan county of South Yorkshire. This has given him an excellent understanding of the archaeology in northern England.

On a lighter note he also carries out many of Steve’s entertaining and delightful daily tasks. One could say he’s like Commander Riker to Steve’s Captain Picard.






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