Marine Geophysicist

Louise Tizzard, Wessex Archaeology

 

How did you get into your job?

I originally studied geology at university and then worked as a marine geophysicist for an offshore survey company. A marine geophysicist uses geophysical techniques, such as sonar and magnetics, to investigate the seabed and the sediment layers under the seabed. This gave me the opportunity to see the world and gain a lot of experience working onboard ships. Then, following a PhD in marine geology, I was looking for an opportunity that would incorporate all the skills that I had acquired but that would provide a new challenge. I have worked for Wessex Archaeology since 2006 and my position has allowed me to use my knowledge and experience in marine geophysics but apply it to a archaeology.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My day to day job varies. Generally, I spend the majority of my time conducting archaeological assessments of geophysical data. This may involve processing sidescan sonar, magnetometry and bathymetry data to interpret ship and aircraft wrecks on the seabed, or processing sub-bottom profiler data to interpret the sediment layers under the seabed and make assessments on now submerged land surfaces. Submerged land surfaces are areas that were exposed as dry land in the past when the sea level was much lower than today, but are now covered by the sea.

My job also involves report writing and the day to day management of projects, such as the East Coast REC project.

What is your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of the job is that it is varied and that I am always learning something new. This might be learning new technical skills, such as new processing software, or keeping up to date with the latest research concerning marine archaeology.

What skills/qualifications are useful for your profession?

I have a geological background but many others working as marine geophysicists in archaeology have either geophysical or archaeological backgrounds. As such, there are many different qualification routes that are available. 

Any other career tips?

My top career tip would be, if possible, find a job you love doing.  It makes life a lot easier!