Alphaeus Lien-Talks

Digital archaeologist


A PhD candidate at the University of York. Open to work experience in digital archaeology.

I strongly believe in the need of ensuring the reusability and long-term preservation of archaeological data.

As a PhD candidate in digital archaeology at the University of York, I am skilled in GIS, data modelling, and preservation standards. I have experience with the Archaeology Data Service, Ashwell Archaeology, and Grampus Heritage, and am proficient in HTML, Python, SQL, and Norwegian (Bokmål). Current research involves investigating the methods of capturing and preserving archaeological datasets and data communities.

This website will detail my past experience with both archaeology and digital technologies.

Digital Archaeology

A photo of Alphaeus Talks holding his thesis outside of the Archaeology Data Service.

Digital Archivist Placement

Archaeology Data Service

This role primarily involved working with archive collections from metadata creation to manifesting

  • In detail knowledge of metadata standards and practices
  • Understandings of archiving practices for big collections
  • User testing and problem solving of user interfaces
  • Understanding and working experience of archival process from ingestion through to file migration and manifest
November 2023 - December 2023

Natural Language Processing and Named Entity Recognition

Leiden University

This placement involved the creation and testing of a NLP/NER system for English Archaeological texts

  • Working knowledge of Machine Learning (NLP/NER)
  • Able to utilise Python to analyse large datasets including textual documents
  • Able to problem solve with iterative testing to improve systems
  • Team working skills to develop code for multilingual projects
September 2022 - October 2022

Geospatial surveying

Historic England

Using total stations and photography to create 3D models of heritage assets

  • Working knowledge of data collection using automated 3D scanners
  • Working knowledge of photogrammarty processes
  • Able to manipulate and process collected datasets to create Orthophotos
  • Understandings of best practices in managing 3D datasets
April 2022 - May 2022

Digital Archaeologist

LP Archaeology

This role primarily involved surveying, analysing, presenting and tidying survey data using GNSS and GIS as well as digitising of onsite records at supervisor level.

  • Interpreting survey data - collecting and analysing data to make informed decisions on various sites simultaneously.
  • Surveying - my day to day job involved surveying archaeology, topography and making of pre- and post-excavation plans.
  • Supervisor - on site, I was in charge of all aspects digital, from photography, data management, digitising of records and day to day maintaining of equipment.
  • Technical awareness - using initiative to solve problems on site creatively and efficiently
  • Understanding of working in commercial units.
  • Good working knowledge of field drawings - interpreting and ensuring that all details were present.
  • Ability to carryout prolonged manual work outdoors in variety of different conditions.
  • Motivating, coordinating and training - upskilling archaeologists, and site directors how to survey, and how to manage and analyse data.
  • Team work - working effectively as a unit, under tight deadlines, whilst offering support and care and having a positive attitude.
  • Ability to work under pressure - working under strict and difficult conditions whilst achieving excellent results.
September 2020 - January 2021


Archaeology Data Service

This role primarily involved the proofing, testing and ensuring the preservation of archaeological documentation, but most recently the redesigning of the website.

  • Team work - Working together to archive documents
  • Data management - Handling data to a professional standards.
  • Data interpretation - handling data to a professional standard.
  • Problem solving - Archiving files is never easy.
  • Strong computer skills - Using Microsoft Office and Google Suite to make notes, record work and analyse results.
  • Attention to detail - Proofing reports and databases before release.
  • Substantial knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and the English language - using these for creating User Experience Design elements.
October 2017 - March 2020

The Use and Reuse of bioarchaeology data

Masters thesis

My thesis aims to understand bioarchaeological data, in terms of what is produced, in which file types and how these are made accessible. The main objective of this research is to make biological data much more able to be reused in the future.

  • Good organisational skills - Ability to set own timescales, to accomplish substancial pieces of work.
  • Communication and English language skills- Communicating with bioarchaeological specialists about technical aspects of digital archaeology.
  • Substantial knowledge of MS Office, Google Suite and Libra Office - Utilising Word, Excel, and Powerpoint and their equivalents to their full potential.
  • Data anaysis - Understanding both qualitative and quantitative data with results dessminated to 21 individuals at 15 different international institutions.
  • If you would like a manuscript of this thesis please let me know.
January 2020 - October 2020

Osteoarchaeology and Paleopathology research tool

Undergraduate dissertation

I created a "Google style" search interface that enabled osteoarchaeologists and paleopathologists to search through the records held by the Archaeology Data Service, using machine learning, Named Entity Recognition and Natural Language Processing

  • Interpreting data - Analysing a substantial dataset to establish trends.
  • Coordinating a small team - Collaboratively working alongside and leading specialists in bioarchaeology and digital archaeology.
  • Good technical awareness - Ability to understand complicated technical elements.
  • Problem solving skills - Using initiative and creative thinking to solve issues, using and created by technology.
  • Good organisational and communication skills - Establishing an effective timeschedule by communicating and negotiating with multiple stakeholders.
September 2018 - September 2019

The Ashwell Project

Understanding local stories

As part of my masters course, I combined local intangible heritage with HER records. The project combined Google Maps and a Progressive Web App.

September 2019 - Present

Digital Technology

I have always had a fascination with digital technology and enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of technologies from Arduino kits, to EEGs and drones.

My Saga

Technical problem solver

In all systems using technology, there will be problems. My role is to fix them, using my creativity, determination and analytical thinking

  • Good technical awareness - my main role is to solve any issues developed whilst publishing.
  • Meticulous attention to detail - my main role is to solve any issues developed whilst publishing and also ensuring effective layout of published books.
  • Good organisational skills - organising own schedule, on an ever-varying workload.
  • Excellent communication skills - the work involves proofreading whilst communicating to a dispersed team.

September 2020 - Present


Researcher and data analyst

Researching trends in technology in sectors ranging from Healthcare to Financial Services to Retail and in particular looking at technologies like wearables, blockchain, Internet of Things and Augmented Reality.

  • Independence and focus - often leading own research, and often in a repetitive manner.
  • Organisational and time management - projects completed quickly and professionally.
  • Teamwork - working together to create reports.
  • Communication - professionally and directly to the manager.
  • Report writing - analysing trends and detailing effectively.
  • Flexibility - able to work on a range of different projects simultaneously.
  • ArcMap and QGIS - making of four maps which have been published in autobiographies.
September 2015 - Present

University of York, Archaeological Department

Data Analyst

Using analytical, organisational skills, attention to detail, and ability to multitask, I ensured that the lecturers' presentations and teaching material were accessible to all. This is something I strongly believe in.

  • Excellent analytical skills and meticulous attention to detail - to ensure accurate translation from visual to textual elements.
  • Good working knowledge of field drawings and digitising techniques - working on a wide range of archaeological documents and ensuring that they are digitised for educational purposes.
  • Strong organisational skills - the project was self-led and targets were constantly met.
  • Good technical awareness and substantial knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and MS Office - to ensure accurate digitisation.
  • Interpreting data - understanding archaeological data in a wide range of contexts.
October 2019 - April 2020


A photo of Alphaeus Talks during a presentation

CAA International 2024

The tale of three cities: Strategies for Improving Accessibility and Reusability of heritage Data

Presenting in the session: Keep it simple, just not too simple -- Challenges and (Best?) Practices in Managing and Integrating Archaeological Data

Session chairing

Co-chaired sessions: Keep it simple, just not too simple - Challenges and (Best?) Practices in Managing and Integrating Archaeological Data, and
From Trials and Errors to Triumphs: Machine Learning Applications in Archaeology

Auckland, New Zealand, 8-12 April 2024

CAA International 2023

How FAIR is bioarchaeological data: with a particular emphasis on making archaeological science data reusable

Presented in the session: How do we ensure archaeological data are usable and Reusable, and for whom? Putting the R in FAIR See my abstract here (p. 320).

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 11-14 April 2023

CAA International 2023

A comparison of machine learning and rule-based approaches for text mining in the archaeology domain, across three languages

Work presented in collaboration with Alex Brandsen and Dr. Andreas Vlachidis See the abstract here (p. 149).

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 11-14 April 2023

Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Work In Progress

Updates on the PhD

Presented regularly on updates on the PhD, and where the research is developing.

London and York, 2021-2024

Symposium on AI and ethics in academic research

Excavating data ethically with AI: a case-study of NLP and NER in bioarchaeology
Online, 5 May 2023


Releasing the knowledge hidden in PDFs by using NLP and NER

Presented in the Artificial Intellegence section on the use of NLP and NER in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. See my abstract here.

Cologne, Germany, 5-7 October 2022

CAA International 2022

The Ashwell Project: Creating an online geospatial community

Presented my work on creating a digital community for intangible heritage using Progressive Web Application. See my poster here, and my abstract here.

Oxford, 9-11 August

Being Human Festival

Presented my PhD for the general public

Presented my PhD, and the reasons why heritage data matters to everyone

Kenwood House, 12 November 2022

PhD symposium at the University of York

Updates on my PhD

Presented an overview and updates into my PhD topic in making data from the historic High Street more accessible. See my presentation here.

York, 7 June 2022

Research forum at the University of York

The FAIRness of archaeological data: an examination of bioarchaeological and Historic High Street datasets.

Presented on the overall FAIRness of data in archaeology, ranging from bioarchaeology to my recent work in making data from the Historic High Street. See my presentation here.

York, 25 February 2022

CAA International 2021

An exploration of NLP and NER for enhanced search in osteoarchaeological and palaeopathological textual resources

Presented a poster on the use of NLP and NER to ensure greater reusability of biaorchaeological data. See my poster here, and my abstract here.

Online (Limassol, Cyprus), 14-18 June 2021

CifA 2021 online: Annual Conference

Are you being FAIR with bioarchaeological data?

Presented a poster on the extent to which biaorchaeological data is FAIR following my masters disseration. See my poster here, and my abstract here.

Online, 21-23 April 2021


Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology

How FAIR Is Bioarchaeological Data: With a Particular Emphasis on Making Archaeological Science Data Reusable

To what extent is bioarchaeology data FAIR

Read the article here

Internet Archaeology

The Ashwell Project: creating an online geospatial community

Capturing and disseminating intangible heritage through Progressive Web Applications

Read the article here

Historic England Research Magazine

Data and the Historic High Street

Lessons from the High Streets Heritage Action Zones

Read the article here

The Post Hole

Origins and migrations: how aDNA analysis is not necessarily the answer

How ancient DNA may not always be the answer.

Read the article here
Bog Bodies of Norway: In search Of Nordic Noir

A paper researching the lack of bog bodies in Norway

Read the article here


University of York

PhD Digital Archaeology (in progress)

My PhD research focuses on making data accessible from the Historic High Street and the High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) program, with the goal of creating a digital platform for public engagement with the historic environment. Through this research, I aim to bridge the gap between academic research and public engagement, and to promote community involvement in heritage preservation and interpretation.

During my time at the University of York, I have developed a range of digital skills, including:

  • Data management and curation
  • Geospatial analysis and mapping
  • Web development and design
  • Project management and collaboration
  • Public engagement and outreach
September 2021 - Present

University of York

Msc Digital Archaeology

During my time here, I published an article in the Post Hole, detailing how ancient DNA may not always be the answer.

During this course I have been able to develop my digital skills. I have been able to carry out projects such as The Ashwell Project and The Use and Resue of Bioarchaeological Data as well as continue my passion for bioarchaeology. Particular elements of note are:

  • Thesis: The use and reuse of bioarchaeology data.
  • Digital Knowlege Production in Archaeology: the critical fundamentals of making archaeological data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable online.
  • ArcGIS: I carried out an additional module in the use of Geographical Information Systems.
  • Progressive Web App: I have been creating an application that allows the local population of my home village to connect to the past.
  • MS office and English language: published two articles within the Post Hole, a student led journal in Bog bodies and aDNA, and led a Research Jam.
  • Data interpretation: analysing and utilising data collected in many different contexts.
September 2019 - September 2020

University of York

Bsc Bioarchaeology

During my undergraduate degree, I published an article in the Post Hole, detailing the lack of bog bodies in Norway.

I have also shown my interest in digital technology in archaeology in a range of different modules. These include:

  • The Invention of World Heritage: in which I proposed the conservation of the UNESCO site of the old towns of Djenné through 3D modelling and 3D printing.
  • Communicating Archaeology: I studied a range of different techniques to communicate archaeology, including 3D modelling and the use of blogs.
  • Researching Archaeology: GIS was used to show the distribution of different burial types during the Mesolithic.
  • Fieldwork: using magnetometer, GPR and EM on a farm north of York, and in Malton.
  • Team Project: working as part of a team to create a data analysis of diet in the UK using Excel. My main task in the project was to collate and manage the data.

September 2016 - July 2019

The Knights Templar School

A levels

Maths: A, Geography: B, Applied ICT: C

I also completed an Extended Project Qualification on "Is digital technology the future of Archaeology", in which it looked at the extent to which digital technology has advanced, and how far it could come to answering questions about our human past.

September 2008 - August 2015

IT BTEC: A*, Maths: A*, Biology: A, Chemistry and Physics: B, English Literature: B, Computing: B.

Field Work

A photo of Alphaeus Talks during excavation

Building Surveying for Historic England

Understandings of best practice when carrying out stading building recording

  • Teamwork - working together to survey the whole site
  • Understandings of how to record and interpret historic building fabrics.
  • Knowlege of phasing historic buildings
  • Understanding of archaeological fieldwork procedures in commercial units.
  • Good working knowledge of elevation drawings
May 2023

Grampus Heritage and Training

Between the second and third years of my studies, I took part in a placement excavation in Germany with Grampus Heritage and Training Limited. This excavation was a month long and looked into Germanic tribes in Saxon Anhalt, principally in Bebertal II, Germany.

  • Teamwork - working together to complete an excavation.
  • Ability to carry out prolonged manual work in a heatwave.
  • Motivation - to encourage myself and others to complete the excavation to the best of our abilities.
  • Understanding of archaeological fieldwork procedures in commercial units.
  • Good working knowledge of field drawings
August 2018

Sedgeford Historical And Archaeological Research Project

At SHARP, I learned basic excavation and recording techniques. This gave me strong understanding of archaeological procedures,field, artefact and pottery drawings, photography and total stations.

I have since returned to study a course in environmental archaeology and to volunteer.


University of York excavation

During the first year of study, I took part in a three week excavation in Malton, East Yorkshire.

This excavation was led by the university and provided me with a further opportunity to develop my skills.

This excavation worked on a Roman site, situated by an old roman road.

June 2016

Community Archaeology

Ashwell Archaeology

Growing up in a small village, you are likely to be involved in community events.

In my community, I am lucky to have an Archaeological Group with which I am involved.

The investigations that take place are test pits, field-walking and geophysics.

  • Working with geophysics, especially magnetometers to investigate a roman goddess site.
  • Ability to carry out prolonged manual work in a variety of conditions.
  • Able to motivate and help coordinate a small team of community volunteers.

Ashwell Museum

In the village of Ashwell, Hertfordshire is a locally run museum. For this museum I have been working on updating the digital archives, temperature recording and training in Modes Complete

During another time, I created a donation box with an automotive rat

Extra curricular

A photo of Alphaeus Talks exploring Norwegian archaeology.


When not found on the computer or carrying out archaeology, I can be found on hikes through the countryside. This was primarily carried out through the Outdoor Society which takes people out into the countryside.

Gold Duke of Edinburgh and international expedition

My interest in hiking could be stated to come from secondary school in which I partook in Gold DofE, as well as hiking in Morocco and Kyrgyzstan. These provided me with useful skills of motivation, team work and leadership.

Most recently I have taken up horse riding, including horsetreking in Norway.

Morris Dancing

Another great passion of mine is Morris dancing. I have been an active member of Ebor Morris since 2020, keeping traditional English Dancing alive

Gold Duke of Edinburgh and international expedition

My interest in hiking could be stated to come from secondary school in which I partook in Gold DofE, as well as hiking in Morocco and Kyrgyzstan. These provided me with useful skills of motivation, team work and leadership.

Most recently I have taken up horse riding, including horsetreking in Norway.

Singing and Acting

Singing and acting are other passions of mine and have given me incredible opportunities.


During school I took part in music tours in which the group performed in a range of amazing places such as Cologne Cathedral and St Marks Basilica, Venice. Most recently I sang for ITV's Victoria.


There is nothing more special than putting yourself out there on stage, with the protection of acting. My most recent productions were "The Pirates of Penzance" (sergeant of police) and "The Mikado" (Mikado), for The University of York Gilbert and Sullivan Society, where I was the webmaster.

Awards and Certifications

Driving licence

I have a full clean driving licence and own a car.

October 2015

First Aid Course

Completed training in Emergency First Aid

25 April 2024

Academically Qualified CSCS Card

Understanding of Health and Safety on a construction site.

August 2020

Intercultural Studies Program

Understanding of different cultures.

Jun 2017

National Navigation Award Scheme - Silver

Qualified to lead people outside.

Feb 2018

Drone license including drone or model aircraft operator ID

Ability to fly drone for non-commerical purposes

July 2020

Coding, languages and technical expertise


Practical and theoretical use of QGIS and ARCGIS to create maps from data gathered in field and online.


Understanding of effective weblayouts and ability to research, design, build and test websites, as well as progressive webapps.

User Experience Design

Understanding of creating designs for a variety of different users.

3D modelling

Able to create 3D models using 3DS Max.

Norwegian (Bokmål)

Conversational Norwegian, with constant improvement.

Coding languages

SQL, HTML, Javascript, R, Javascript with qualifications, alongside Visual Basic and CSS thorughout my education.

Digital Marketing

Understanding of effective marketing stratergies including clickfunnels with qualification.