Associate Professor Cassie Newland


Associate Professor in Cultural Heritage / Director of the Cultural Heritage Institute


Cassie Newland heads up the Cultural Heritage Institute at RAU Swindon where she oversees the delivery of the MSc programmes in Conservation and Management of Historic Buildings and the MSc in Cultural Heritage Management. Within the university, Cassie is passionately committed to widening participation and is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion champion. She has a background in heritage consultancy, delivering heritage and redevelopment advice and guidance for a wide variety of commercial, ecclesiastical, and domestic clients. Cassie is also a regular presenter and contributor on broadcast media mainly on industrial archaeology and historical buildings but also on subjects as wide ranging as stealth boats, experimental archaeology, and Minoan sewers! Cassie has received the British Archaeology Award for the Best Public Presentation of Archaeology with Time Team and a BA Festival of Science Award for the Presentation of Heritage for The Van project.


My research is based around the archaeology of science and seeks to connect  has several strands.

Early plastics

As we increasingly return to plant-based polymers in the 21st century, this work sheds light on the previous perils, pitfalls and possibilities of growing our own plastics. This research examines their surprisingly early development and the impact on the global political, economic, social and ecological landscapes that ensued. This work seeks to demystify polymer chemistry (there are a lot of pasta analogies!) and connect the way people in the past understood and worked with plastics to our current understandings.


From submarine and overland telegraphy, to RADAR, radio and mobile phones, my research explores the way that telecommunications technologies have shaped our worlds. For example, the AHRC project Scrambled Messages, examining the ways that telegraphic technologies are enmeshed in, and emerge with, Nineteenth-century society. Often focused at a global level, Cassie uses the production of raw materials, such as copper, jute, gutta percha, rosin, tar and turpentine to sketch out telecoms landscapes. The focus on production, manufacture and use allows the research to re-people what can often be techno-centric stories.

Contested Heritage

Building on work undertaken while running the Fulbright Summer School, this work seeks to pick apart the processes by which we negotiate the built remains of the past, and how we change, reuse or replace them in the present. 

Currently accepting PhD students. Please email to discuss.

Programme leader:

  • MSc Conservation and Management of Historic Buildings
  • MSc Cultural Heritage Management
  • MSc in Archaeology


  • L7 Understanding Historic Buildings and Landscapes
  • L7 Conservation Planning
  • L7 Practical Conservation
  • L7 Managing and Sustaining the Historic Environment
  • L7 Dissertation
  • L6 Heritage Properties
  • L5 Heritage Management

Contribute to modules:

  • L7 Heritage Interpretation
  • L7 Debates in Archaeology
  • L7 Landscape Archaeology
  • L7 Excavation and Post-excavation

Dissertation supervision at UG and PG. Current PhD students, external PhD examining.

  • In prep. ‘A Cultural History of Plastics’. Monograph.
  • Under review. ‘Archaeology/Archives/Biography: Sir Charles Wheatstone’s Junk Mail’ in Journal of Material Culture.
  • 2023 (in press). ‘Early Plant Plastics’ in Routledge Handbook of Plastics and Archaeology. J Schofield (ed.). Routledge.
  • 2022. ‘Rolt Memorial Lecture: The Tools of Empire?’ in Industrial Archaeology Review. Vol. 44 (2). Taylor and Francis.
  • 2020. ‘Economic Object: Gutta percha’, in Cultural History of Objects: Age of Industry (AD 1760-1900), Carolyn White (ed.), Dan Hicks & William Whyte (general eds). Bloomsbury.
  • 2017. ‘Exhibition catalogue for the exhibition Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy held at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London from the 20th September, 2016 to 22nd January 2017’, C. Arscott & C. Pettitt (eds). London: The Courtauld Institute of Art & King’s College London. (Co-authored. Peer reviewed.)
  • 2016. ‘How the Victorians cheated time and space’. In The Conversation. 1 October.
  • 2012. ‘Mr Hopgood’s shed: an archaeology of Bishop’s Cannings wireless station’ in Beyond the Dead Horizon: Studies in 20th-Century Conflict Archaeology, Nicholas Saunders (ed.).  British Archaeological Reports.  Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • 2009. ‘Marconi’s First Transatlantic Wireless Message’, in Defining Moments: Dramatic Archaeologies of the Twentieth-Century.  John Schofield (ed.).  British Archaeological Reports.  Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • 2009. Bailey, G, Newland, C, Nilsson, A, Schofield, J, Davis, S & Miles, A. ‘Transit, Transition: Excavating J641 VUJ’, in Cambridge Archaeological Journal, vol. 19, pp.1-28.
  • 2007. ‘Telecommunications’ in Images of Change: an archaeology of England’s contemporary landscape.  S. Penrose, (ed.). London: English Heritage.
  • 2007. ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’, in British Archaeology, vol. 92, (Jan-Feb).

Curated exhibitions

  • 2016-17. Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy held at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London from the 20th September, 2016 to 22nd January 2017’. (Artefact and map curator.)
  • 2006-09. The Van, travelling film and installation of the excavation and ongoing project.

Excavations directed

  • 2019. Hunting landscapes. Student/community excavation of a post medieval dog kennels and associated structures, Newton Park.
  • 2010. Royal Fort Gardens. Excavation of Civil War fortification in 1790s garden designed by Humphrey Repton. A training excavation for undergraduate students run as a commercial site with external funding.
  • 2009. Turbo Island: an archaeology of Homelessness. Public archaeology project run as drop-in site for students and public alike. Part of a larger English Heritage funded project exploring the archaeology of contemporary homelessness.
  • 2008. Goldney Grotto. Training excavation for undergraduate students excavating and recording an 18th century shell grotto, miniature Newcomen Engine house and adjoining rococo gardens.
  • 2007. Montravers Plantation, Nevis. Survey, recording and selective excavation of a sugar plantation landscape on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Sites included plantation house, slave housing, transition and post-slavery villages, boiling houses/benches/works, animal housing, water systems and later copra-works. Project undertaken by the University of Bristol with funding from Newfoundland Holdings, Nevis.
  • 2006. The Van Project. The now infamous excavation of a 1991 Ford Transit van. Successful experimental exercise into the archaeology of vehicles.

Selected conference papers

  • November 2021. Landscapes of Telegraphy. Greenwich Industrial History Society.
  • August 2021. Rolt Memorial Lecture: Tools of Empire? Keynote paper given at the annual conference of the Association of Industrial Archaeologists.
  • May 2021. Colston Must Fall? Decolonisation roundtable, Equalities Week, Bath Spa University.
  • October 2019. ‘Field Archaeology’: the launch of 5G. History and Heritage Research Centre seminar, Bath Spa University.
  • March 2019. The Long Fields. Society of Post Medieval Archaeology conference, Glasgow.
  • February 2019. The Zulu Telegraph. CoLA Research Centre conference, Bath Spa University.
  • January 2017. Distance, transmission and impedance. Introductory paper, Coding and Representation conference, Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
  • December 2016. Junk mail and the analogue archive. DigiTAG session, Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, Southampton.
  • November 2016. Jute: A Raw Material? Raw Materials Workshop, King’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medecine, London.
  • September 2016. Decoding Wheatstone: geo-narrating lives. British Association for Victorian Studies, Cardiff.
  • May 2016. Monstrous proportions: Alice, mapmaking and the trans-Atlantic cable .Media History Seminar, UCL.
  • April 2016. Bloomsbury fields/feldes: detectings, hauntings and spell-sòcn. Frazzled and Dazzled symposium, King’s College London & Courtauld Institute of Art.
  • 2015. Sir Charles Wheatstone’s Junk Mail and the Analogue Archive. Scientific lives: Oliver Lodge and the History of Science in the Digital Age, University of Leeds.
  • 2014. Junk Mail: the unintentional biography of Sir Charles Wheatstone. Archaeologies of Media and Film Conference, CASPAR panel.
  • 2014. Making the Splice. Arts and Humanities festival, King’s College London.
  • 2014. Gutta-percha: sustaining stories. British Association for Victorian Studies, University of East Anglia.
  • 2008. The day the Pope discovered RADAR. World Archaeology Congress, Dublin.
  • 2004. An Archaeology of Mobile Phones. Contemporary & Historical Archaeology Theory, Leicester.

(Further information on request.)

Selected research outputs in other media

  • Sep 2020. Ancient Engineering. A ZDF production. Various channels.
  • 2019 (various). Impossible Engineering. A TwoFour production for Discovery.
  • 2019 (various). Impossible Railways. A TwoFour production for the Yesterday channel.
  • 2015. Time Crashers. Presenter of popular factual entertainment archaeology/living history program for Channel Four.
  • 2013. AHRC Scrambled Messages project website,
  • 2013. The One Show. Presenter of archaeology sections for magazine-style show for BBC One.
  • 2013. The Genius of Invention. Presenter of factual show about technology and the industrial revolution developed for BBC Two and re-edited for BBC World Wide, Learning Zone and Bitesize.
  • 2012 to present. Coast. Presenter of archaeology sections for popular factual show for BBC Two.
  • 2015. Wittgenstein’s Jet. Presenter of radio show exploring the philosopher’s role in the invention of the pulse jet for BBC Radio 3.
  • 2009. New Archaeologies. Writer and presenter of the strangely affective archaeology of radio landscapes for BBC Radio 3.
  • 2006-13. Time Team. On screen archaeologist for Channel 4’s flagship archaeology program.
  • 2010-12. Original Features. Archaeological consultant and on-screen Buildings Archaeologist for UKTV historical building renovation series.
  • 2012. Urban Secrets. Contributor to program on hidden histories of cities for Sky Atlantic.
  • 2010. A History of the World in 100 objects. Contributor on the subject of the telegraph for BBC Southwest.