Project News



Dr Rob Symmons


I studied Archaeology at UCL from 1993, completing my PhD in 2002. During this time I specialized in zooarchaeology, and in particular taphonomy, using biomechanical principles to predict post-depositional bone destruction. While working as the research assistant on the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project at the Natural History Museum in London I developed an interest in museum collections and collecting and moved to Fishbourne Roman Palace, where I remain as curator.


My association with the Palace is a long-standing one, as I assisted in the supervision of the excavations to the east of the site in the 1990s. During this time I worked alongside two other members of the Chicken Coop team: Naomi Sykes and Richard Jones.


The reserve collections at Fishbourne Roman Palace represent an invaluable and largely untapped resource for both academic research and public understanding. While the core of the collections were published following Cunliffe’s excavations 40 years ago, modern methodologies have the potential to yield considerable new information. This is especially true of the faunal material. Other parts of the collection are entirely unpublished. I am committed to ensuring that this potential is as far as possible realized, supporting new research at the Palace as well as disseminating the results to our non-specialist visitors. Collections lie at the centre of all museums and the Chicken Coop Project offers an unmissable opportunity to bring this material straight into the public domain.


Anyone interested in accessing the Fishbourne Roman Palace reserve collections or paper archive can contact me on


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