John Oxley, York’s resident archeologist who retired in 2019, has spoken of the joy he felt at being nominated for an MBE for services to heritage.
The 64-year-old from Scarborough is honoured for dedicating 30 years to the protection and investigation of the city’s heritage, leading to important discoveries such as extensive Roman cemeteries.
He was only doing the job he had always wanted to do, he insists, the “best job in the world”, in the best city, with the greatest of built histories, both above and below ground.
As he considered the honour, he said: “For me what’s important about this is the recognition of the impact of heritage, and archeology in particular. It brings so much enjoyment into our lives, enhancing the quality of our lives. It’s really important, at the point in time.”
“What I fear that will mean is that environmental considerations will be pushed to one side,” he said. “All the work we have done, I fear that may be lost, and that all the great works we have been able to do after 30 years may be under threat from these decisions.
“Archeology and the arts are under severe threat. We need to protect it, and indeed all the knowledge that we have.
“It’s so important that this continues.”