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Dr Heather Montgomery

Assistant Excavation Director

Telephone: 028 90 973728                                                                                                                     



Heather graduated from Queens in 2009 with BA Hon’s in Archaeology. She worked in commercial archaeology before commencing her doctoral studies in 2012. Her research comprised the historical archaeological landscape analysis of Ireland’s First World War training camps; thesis, entitled: Training Kitchener’s New Army, 1914-18: An Archaeological Perspective on the Irish Experience. This study considered the Nature of British military training in Ireland during the First World War (1914-1918) through the evaluation of methods employed in the training of Ireland’s volunteer recruits. This critical examination led to the identification of previously unrecognised archaeological remains throughout Ireland, illustrating how these relic landscapes represent a wealth of unstudied and largely unknown Irish First World War heritage, presenting significant new evidence that challenged the existing historical narrative on the training of the new Irish Divisions. As part of these studies Heather directed/co-directed several projects including:

  • Joint licence holder and Co-director - Grey Point Fort Coastal Defence Site, 2014: The archaeological excavation at Grey Point Fort, Co. Down, undertaken in October and November 2014.  The excavation was commissioned and funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).  The primary research aims of the excavation were to uncover new information about Grey Point Fort Coastal Battery, Co. Down, and to enhance the visitor experience at the monument. Excavation work was commissioned and funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (now Historic Environment Division), carried out by the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast.
  • Joint licence holder and Director - Ballykinler Training Estate, 2016: An programme of archaeological fieldwork undertaken in two phases during 2016, at the Ballykinler Military Training Estate in County Down, Northern Ireland. The study was undertaken to inform Heather’s recent doctoral studies but also as part of a wider project, designed to provide new information about the estate’s function as a training establishment, before and during the First World War. Phase 1, the evaluation, was undertaken to better inform a larger excavation programme undertaken during August/September 2016.  The work was undertaken as a joint initiative between the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at Ballykinler, Queen’s University Belfast’s Living Legacies 1914-1918 Engagement Centre and Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF), both in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, the Historic Environment Division (HED) of the Department for Communities. Defence Infrastructural Organisation (DIO) and Queen’s University Belfast’s Living Legacies 1914-1918 Engagement Centre financed the fieldwork and it was undertaken by a team of archaeologists from the CAF. As a result of these excavations at Ballykinler, the CAF team and Heather were the winners of Defence Infrastructure Organisation Sanctuary Awards, ‘Heritage Project 2017’ for works at BK.

During her doctoral studies Heather also worked as Project Officer for Material Cultures and Landscapes for QUB WW1 Engagement Centre. An AHRC funded project working directly with community groups across the UK to develop new FWW projects, and/or undertake existing ones using her expertise in WW1 landscapes, field archaeology, digital landscape analysis and historic research.

Since completing her PhD Heather has worked on several research projects, including:

  • Project researcher and archivist on the ‘Men Behind the Glass’ HLF funded research project. A heritage lottery funded project in partnership with Campbell College, Belfast and PRONI to restore and preserve photographs of Old Campbellians lost in WW1. Telling the stories of these brave men, both as boys and men who walked the corridors of Campbell College and as the soldiers who fought and died. Opening up the Campbell College Archives to all, working in partnership with PRONI, Schools and the local community to bring these stories and others to life in their memory.
  • Academic to the Historical Archaeological ‘History Hut’ Peace IV WW1 project, in collaboration with The Centre for Data Digitisation and Analysis, QUB, Newry, Mourne & Down Council and Down County Museum. A shared History & Culture project, funded by EU PEACE IV money, aimed at bringing the stories of the people who stayed in Ballykinlar during the early part of the 1900s back to life. The end result will be the recreation of the ‘Ballykinlar History Hut’, recreated in the courtyard of Down County Museum opening early in 2020.

Public Outreach and Community Engagement

Heather is passionate about public outreach and the positive role heritage, material culture and archaeology can have on people and places. Community and public outreach accounted for a significant part of her work during her doctoral studies. The projects were undertaken at different times throughout the course of her study and were often in collaboration with groups such as the HLF, the HED Defence Heritage Project, the Ministry of Defence and the Irish Defence Forces, Department for Defence. The aims of the projects were to engage members of the public with their local heritage. Heather was responsible for coordinating volunteer groups and school visits (primary, secondary and special needs), an integral part of these community excavations and engagement events. To do this successfully she liaised with representatives from other stakeholders to coordinate interactive group visits to the sites and events.

An important element of her work as a Project Officer with the Living Legacies 1914-18 Engagement Centre included functioning as a Facilitator alongside the Council for British Archaeology, designing and delivering interactive workshops to local community groups  and schools across the UK.

Heather currently sits on the Defence Heritage Advisory Board for Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme. She is also assistant leader with the Belfast Branch of the Young Archaeologists’ Club and Education Officer for the Belfast Branch of the Western Front Association.



Montgomery, H (forthcoming 2020) Training Kitchener’s New Army, 1914-18: An Archaeological Perspective on the Irish Experience

Montgomery, H. A. & McNeary R. W. A. (2016) “Airborne Laser Scanning and the Archaeological Interpretation of Ireland’s First World War”, in Conflict Landscapes and Archaeology from Above, (eds) Stichelbaut, B. & Cowley, D, Ashgate Publishing.

Submissions relating to Ireland, in The Home Front in Britain 1914-18: An Archaeological Handbook (2015). The Council for British Archaeology Handbook No.22. (eds), Appleby, C., Cocroft, W. & Schofield, J.

Journal Articles

Callaghan, S. Shine, D. & Montgomery, H (2019): Great War Training Trenches at Birr Barracks, a Rehearsal Ground for Kitchener’s New Army. Offaly Heritage, Journal of the Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society, 2019.

Montgomery, H. & Logue, P (2017): Operation Skylark-Finn01: Observing the Sons of Ulster as they marched towards the Somme. Archaeological excavations of relic trench features at Ballykinlar Military Training Estate, County Down, Northern Ireland April 2016; in Sanctuary’, Ministry of Defence Sustainability Magazine. Issue No. 45. 2016

Montgomery, H. (2014): WWI Trenches Ballykinler, DIO SD Training NI:  Identification of relic trench features at Ballykinlar Military Training Estate, County Down, Northern Ireland March 2014; in Sanctuary’, Ministry of Defence Sustainability Magazine. Issue No. 43. 2014

Internal Reports

Montgomery, H (2019): Excavations at Ballykinler Training Estate, County Down, 2016 Data Structure Report: No. 121

Gormley, S. & Montgomery H (2019): Programme of Works for excavation at Ballykinler Military Training Estate, County Down; March 2019.

Gormley, S. & Montgomery H (2019): Investigation of an Enigmatic Earthwork at Ballykinler. Sanctuary Magazine: Issue No. 48, 2019.

Gormley, S. & Montgomery H (2019): Ballykinler, Co. Down, 2019 Data Structure Report: No. 129

Montgomery, H.  (2016): Programme of Works for excavations at Ballykinler Military Training Estate, County Down; March 2016.

Montgomery, H. (2016): Programme of Works for excavations at Ballykinler Military Training Estate, County Down; August/September 2016.

Montgomery, H, & Logue, P. (2016): Summary Account of Evaluation Excavation at Ballykinlar Military Training Estate, Co. Down, April 2016.

Ó Baoill, R. & Montgomery, H. (2015): Excavations at Grey Point Fort, Co. Down. The CAF DSR 108.

Montgomery, H. & Ó Baoill, R.  (2014): Grey Point Fort Research Design: Programme of Works for Excavations at Grey Point Fort Coast Battery, Helen’s Bay Co. Down.

Technical Papers

Gordon, L. & Montgomery, H. (2015): Grey Point Fort Survey Report No.51., Ulster Archaeological Society Survey Group, in association with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.