John was appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Discovery Programme in November 2020, to steer the Discovery Programme to be a leader in advanced archaeological research. Following the broad strategic direction of its Board, John oversees the day-to-day management of the Discovery Programme, from its corporate governance to the development of effective working relationships with stakeholders. Key focal areas for John over the next three years will be the development of a strategic archaeological research framework for the island of Ireland, and completion of long-standing Discovery Programme projects.
Before joining the Discovery Programme John worked for over 22 years with the Department of the Environment and the Department for Communities in Northern Ireland. From 2007-2020 he was a Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments and an Assistant Director with Historic Environment Division, and in those roles led on all aspects of statutory functions with regards to archaeology and the historic environment in Northern Ireland including strategic and operational spatial planning, major research projects, the conduct of archaeological excavation, and the conservation of historic monuments. John has a keen interest in conservation standards, professional practice and public engagement. He has lectured widely, especially in adult education, about archaeology and local history, and served on many working groups and committees as an expert contributor on matters of policy, practice, academic development and public participation in the historic environment. From 2016-2020 he was a lead organiser and contributor to the Way Forward for Archaeology in Northern Ireland Working Group, and has been an active contributor to the work of the European Archaeology Council.
John is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast (BA (Hons) Archaeology 1995) and the University of Ulster (PhD Archaeology 2008). He is also a Chartered Construction Manager through the Charted Institute of Building, a Member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland and a Member of the Charted Institute for Archaeologists.
See Orcid for a full list of John’s publications.