Paul has been the Senior Projects Manager for ORCA Marine since 2011, prior to which he was a Senior Projects Officer in ORCA. He has been a professional archaeologist for more than 30 years, after gaining an Honours degree in Archaeology at Durham University and a post-graduate qualification in Post-Excavation Studies at Leicester University.
Between 1978 and 1983 he excavated all over the UK, and since then has worked almost exclusively in Scotland, on sites dating from the Neolithic to the Second World War, except for except for occasional work on sites and survey projects in Greece, Egypt and Jordan. He has worked extensively in Scottish commercial archaeology on all manner of watching briefs, evaluations, excavations, walkover surveys, landscape surveys and standing building surveys, and produced many desk-based surveys and archaeological impact assessments for inclusion in environmental statements, both on and off-shore. He has authored many technical reports for clients and published refereed articles in archaeological monographs and journals.
Paul has a particular research interest in and has published several articles on prehistoric and Norse soapstone artefacts from the Northern Isles. He is involved in archaeological research projects on various Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norse and Medieval sites in the Northern Isles, and in fieldwork techniques and post-excavation studies. Paul has research interests in various aspects of marine and maritime heritage, coastal change, connectivity and how people inhabit their maritime worlds.
Another major strand of Paul's research includes methods and approaches to the archaeological and cultural heritage aspects of environmental impact assessments, both on and offshore, especially in identifying and evaluating the historic environment and potential impacts on it. This research is especially relevant in application to sustainability issues, renewable energy and other construction developments.
Paul is currently involved in the production of the archaeological, historic environment and cultural heritage sections of Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Statements relating to utilities such as electricity and telecoms cables and to the hydrocarbon and renewable energy sectors.
Paul is part of the Jarash Hinterland Survey project in Jordan, the objectives of which are to identify, record and make mitigation and management recommendations for archaeological sites threatened with destruction by rapid urban expansion around the internationally important site of ancient Gerasa. It also aims to provide a richer basis for understanding the hinterland of the city and the relationship between city and country. And it gets Paul to somewhere hot and sunny now and again.
Paul leads the Prospecting for Orkney’s Maritime Infrastructure Research Project, a programme involving other academics and local community interest groups conducting marine and onshore survey fieldwork to record early harbours, landing places, maritime sites, structures and artefacts in Orkney. Taking an holistic approach that incorporates Westerdahl’s definition of the maritime landscape, a multi-disciplinary methodology is being used, including targeted walkover, diver and marine geophysical surveys, historical, toponymic, ethnographic and cartographic data, the analysis of currents and tides and community knowledge.
Paul contributes lectures to the postgraduate degrees on aspects of archaeology in the planning system, desk-based assessments and environmental impact assessments, as well as being one of the excavation training staff.
External Responsibilities and Memberships
- Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
- Honorary Research Fellow at the University of the Highlands & Islands.
- Member of the Orkney Marine Archaeology Forum and the Scapa Flow Wrecks website steering group.
- In November 2016, Paul presented a paper with Julie Gibson ‘Prospecting for Orkney’s medieval harbours and landing places’ at the Nautical Archaeology Society and the SCAPE Trust joint conference, hosted at the University of Glasgow.
- In September 2015, Paul presented a paper ‘Prospecting for Orkney’s Maritime Heritage’ at the 21st Annual Meeting and Conference of the European Association of Archaeologists, hosted at the University of Glasgow.
- In May 2012, Paul presented a paper How much Sustainable Development can the Historic Environment sustain? at the international conference on Sustainability and heritage: how can the past contribute to a sustainable future? hosted by Orkney College UHI.
- In April 2011, Paul co-hosted a session on Assessing Significance Underwater at the Annual Conference of the Institute for Archaeologists. He also presented a paper in this session, titled Evaluating Significance in the Commercial Sector: Environmental Impact Assessment off the Coast of Scotland.
- McDonnell, G, Card, N, Downes, J, Chabot, N, Clelland, S-J, Maclean, P, Ovenden, S, and Sharman, P 2008 Craft Specialisation in Iron Age Orkney – the Mine Howe Smithy, Mine Howe, Tankerness, Orkney, UK. Paper delivered at the NABO conference at Bradford University.
- Downes, J, Sharman, P, Challands, A, Guttmann-Bond, E, McKenzie, J, Towers, R, and Voke, P D 2016 ‘Place in the Past: an early Neolithic house at the Knowes of Trotty barrow cemetery, Harray, Mainland, Orkney’ in Richards, C and Jones, R (eds) The Development of Neolithic House Societies in Orkney. Oxford: Windgather Press.
- Sharman, P (2011) ‘Evaluating Significance in the Commercial Sector: Environmental Impact Assessment off the Coast of Scotland’, The Archaeologist vol. 81, Autumn 2011, p.21. Institute for Archaeologists.
- Ewart, G, Gallagher, D & Sharman, P (2010) ‘Graveheart: cult and burial in a Cistercian chapter house – excavations at Melrose, 1921 and 1996’, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 139 (2009), 257-304.
- Forster, A K & Sharman, P M (2009) ‘Use in Early Prehistoric Shetland: from the Neolithic to the Early Iron Age’ in Forster, A K & Turner, V E. (eds) Kleber: Shetland’s Oldest Industry. Shetland Soapstone Since Prehistory, Shetland Amenity Trust Monograph Series, Lerwick, 27-36.
- Sharman, P M (2009) ‘Steatite Funerary Urns in the Early Prehistoric Northern Isles’ in Forster, A K & Turner, V E. (eds) Kleber: Shetland’s Oldest Industry. Shetland Soapstone Since Prehistory, Shetland Amenity Trust Monograph Series, Lerwick, 39-47.
- Turner, V E, Sharman, P M & Carter, S (2009) ‘Excavations at Catpund, Cunningsburgh’ in Forster, A K & Turner, V E. (eds) Kleber: Shetland’s Oldest Industry. Shetland Soapstone Since Prehistory, Shetland Amenity Trust Monograph Series, Lerwick, 70-84.
- Sharman, P M (2008) Excavation of a Bronze Age funerary site at Loth Road, Sanday, Orkney, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 25, www.sair.org.uk
- Card, N, Downes, J, Gibson, J & Sharman, P (2005) ‘Religion and metalworking at Mine Howe, Orkney’, Current Archaeology 199 (Sep/Oct 2005), 322-7.
- Ballin Smith, B, Ballin Smith, T & Sharman, P (2005) ‘The Artefactual Evidence’ in Ballin Smith, B Catpund: A Prehistoric House in Shetland, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 7, 21-41, www.sair.org.uk
- Dixon, P J, Mackenzie, J R, Perry, D R and Sharman, P M (2003) The Origins of the Settlements at Kelso and Peebles, Scottish Borders, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 2, www.sair.org.uk
- Sharman, P.M. (2000) ‘Steatite and Other Fine Stone Objects as Chronological Indicators’ in Downes, J M and Lamb, R 2000 Prehistoric Houses at Sumburgh in Shetland: Excavations at Sumburgh Airport 1967-74, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 65-9.
- Sharman, P.M. (2000) ‘Steatite and Other Fine Stone Objects’ in Downes, J.M. and Lamb, R. Prehistoric Houses at Sumburgh in Shetland: Excavations at Sumburgh Airport 1967-74, Oxbow Books, Oxford, 82-7.
- Sharman, P.M. (1999) ‘The Steatite’ in Owen, O.A. and Lowe, C.E. Kebister, Shetland: the archaeology of a prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval farmstead, Edinburgh, 168-178. (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series 14).
- Sharman, P.M. (1998) ‘The Steatite’ in Sharples, N. Scalloway: A Broch, Late Iron Age Settlement and Medieval Cemetery in Shetland, Oxford, 95-172 passim. (Oxbow Monograph Series 82).
Tel: 01856 569346