At the IIWC York symposium there will be speakers from the UK and overseas all presenting an exciting range of topics.

Keynote Presentations:

Margarita Kisternaya MSc PhD RAS

Margarita Kisternaya is Senior Researcher for the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography, in Petrozavodsk, Russia, where since 2005, she has worked on strategies of conservation of wooden architectural monuments; development of climate control in monuments; working out maintenance procedures; and technologies for elimination of fungi and insect activity.

Between 1990 -2005 Margarita was a senior researcher for the Forest Research Institute of the Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Russia. Her research included: the impact on wood quality of forest management; the development of monitoring systems for wooden architectural monuments; and the changes in wood quality due to ageing (chemical composition, physical properties).

Margarita gained her MSc from St. Petersburg State University in 1990 and her PhD (Wood science) from the Moscow State Forestry University in 2000. Her continuing fields of research include: the biodeterioration of timber structures, quality of timber, wood ageing, monitoring, longevity of timber structures, and dendrochronology. She has published more than 85 papers, and in Russia she has developed and introduced preventive maintenance approaches for historic timber structures.

Margarita’s awards include: Best Young Researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences 1992 and 1998; Europa Nostra Grand Prize 2009; Ron Cocroft award 2011; and Certificate of Merit of Karelian Ministry of Culture 2016. She is a member of the Russian Regional Council of Wood Science.


Michael Bamforth BSc MICfA

Michael is a specialist in wetland archaeology and prehistoric woodworking and is currently the Project Manager for the POSTGLACIAL project at the University of York, investigating the site and environs of the early Mesolithic site of Star Carr. He is a Research Associate at the University of York, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield; and was an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham from 2011 to 2014.

Mike began his career in commercial archaeology in 1998, working primarily in London and the East of England with archaeological units including MoLAS, and L–P:Archaeology. Since 2011, Michael has worked as a freelance consultant archaeologist specialising in the excavation and analysis of waterlogged wood and is currently engaged in the on-going work at Must Farm, Flag Fen, Star Carr and Shardlow Quarry.

Alongside his commercial career, Mike has also participated in various university-led research projects in the UK and further afield including: Star Carr, the Iron Age Post Alignment at Beccles (with the University of Birmingham), Roman Noviodunum in Romania (with UCL), the Ntusi Landscape Project in Uganda (with UCL), and Marothodi in South Africa (with the University of Cape Town). He completed his BSc in Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and has worked as a wood specialist since 2005; he is an accredited Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.


Christopher Dobbs MA, MBA, PGCE, FSA

Chris is a maritime archaeologist who played a key role in raising the Mary Rose in 1982. From 1979 to 1982 he was the archaeological supervisor on the Mary Rose salvage and recovery team and he is now Head of Interpretation and Maritime Archaeology at the Mary Rose Trust.

Uncovering the secrets of the deep off Skerries on Shetland 40 years ago helped launch Chris’s career as a maritime archaeologist – and brought him closer to the secrets of Henry VIII’s flagship, Mary Rose. Chris worked on the wreck of the Kennemerland while studying at Cambridge University in 1978 and from there he became a key member of the diving salvage team to help raise the Mary Rose in 1982.

Chris’s most recent dive on the Mary Rose wreck site was in 2014. Before the dive Chris remarked that: “Although a substantial part of the Mary Rose was raised in 1982, there are still timbers and further artefacts on the site. The remaining timbers were reburied beneath 100 tons of sand to preserve them, and scientific instruments were placed on the site to monitor the condition of the silts to ensure that the timbers and objects remain safely buried… The fact that there are further exciting discoveries to be made on the wreck site in the future, perhaps even by future generations with more sophisticated imaging techniques to look below the seabed, means that there is always potential for new objects and new stories to come from the wreck site itself. This keeps alive the opportunities for new displays and public interest throughout the 21st century.” (2014, Museums Association, Museums Journal)

Gordon Macdonald

Gord is a master carpenter and building conservator with more than 30 years’ experience working with wooden buildings and timber structures.  He las led carpentry teams through a range of interesting and award-winning projects from the restoration of medieval castles in Europe to the re-creation of a 30-ton Roman war machine for BBC Television.

Gord has worked at many diverse locations including the equatorial jungles of Suriname and the Ross Sea area of Antarctica where he has spent nine seasons and more than a year ‘on the ice’. He is an instructor with the Cultural Resource Management Program at the University of Victoria where he teaches practical building conservation, and a PhD student (Archaeology and Ancient History) at the University of Leicester. His thesis is the “Impacts of Global Climate Change on Polar Heritage”. Gord is the Chairman of Heritage BC, the founder of the specialist carpentry company Macdonald & Lawrence (M&L) and a director of Heritageworks Ltd. an international heritage conservation company based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Between 2001-2003 he was a Visiting Lecturer, at the King’s Manor, University of York, Conservation in Architecture MSc programme. Since 2015 he has been an Instructor at the University of Victoria, Practical Building Conservation, Cultural Resource Management Programme.

Gord and his teams have won many awards for their work including: 2012 Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals Conservation Award, Kinsol Trestle; 2011 Heritage Award of Honour by Heritage BC, Conservation of Haida House, M.O.A; and 2016 Canadian Wood Council, Prairie Wood Design Award, Fort McMurray Heritage Park. Gord’s many publications include: Contributing Editor – ‘Green Oak in Construction’, Published by TRADA Technology, 2007, ISBN 978-1900510-45-5, Consultant to Forestry Commission; ‘Conservation of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Hut in Antarctica’, Mortise & Tenon, Spring 2006; ‘A Timber Framed Pavilion in Suriname’, Timber Framing, March 2006; and ‘Timber Frames of Antarctica’, Mortise & Tenon, Fall 2005.