James Wright attended the BA (Hons) course in Archaeology, (and also studied subsidiary courses in Classics & Ancient History) at the University of Nottingham between 1996 and 1999. Whilst there he studied a wide ranging series of topics on the history, architecture and archaeology of Europe. Under tutors such as Dr Philip Dixon and Lloyd Laing, James began a specialisation on the Medieval period within England which continues to this day – principally high status Medieval stone-built structures.
After graduation James began his professional career at Trent & Peak Archaeology, and learned many of the essential skills of a field archaeologist working on multi-period gravel extraction sites in the Trent Valley.
At the beginning of 2001 James was given the opportunity to retrain as a conservation stonemason working alongside a small specialist team attached to Nottingham City Council. Across a three year period James attended Weymouth College on block release. He gained a familiarity with building stones from across the UK, the ability to produce working drawings and templates, practical experience of hand-carving and fixing stonework on buildings as diverse as Newstead Abbey, Wollaton Hall and Nottingham Castle.
James returned to the archaeological profession at the beginning of 2004 within the local authority system. Initially as a Community Archaeologist and subsequently as Archaeological and Historic Buildings Assistant at Nottinghamshire County Council, James was a Project Officer and support staff within a local authority heritage team. He gained project management experience (desk-based assessments, watching briefs, topographic survey, geophysical survey, woodland survey, archaeological excavation, report writing) upon local authority run sites, in conjunction with commercial units and also with community groups. He was the officer in charge of the “Castles of Nottinghamshire Project” which included wide ranging research and fieldwork over 4 years and resulted in the publication of interpretation panels, articles and a book on the subject. James’ historic buildings experience included publication of conservation management plans, condition surveys and building recording. Additional quasi-statutory experience was gained alongside the Development Control and Historic Environment Record teams for both archaeology and historic buildings. GIS experience as a tool for research, development control and presentation. Outreach work included lectures and events (including conference organisation) alongside academics, fellow professionals and community groups.
James then worked as a researcher and consultant for Videotext Communications Ltd as a key member of a freelance team working on a project on King John’s Palace, Nottinghamshire for Channel 4’s Time Team. He contributed to the production development, desk based research and project design. He also gained on screen experience during filming as a consultant on the archaeology, architecture and history of the site.
In May 2011 James was recruited by the Museum of London Archaeology and worked as a field archaeologist on urban locations prior to joining the Built Heritage team in August as Senior Archaeologist.