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Durham alumna Edith Chong stood in the street

Edith Chong studied for a BA in Archaeology between 2015 and 2018. Now she works as a Cataloguer for the Watch Department at Bonhams Auctioneers, based in London.

What and when did you study at Durham?

I studied BA Archaeology at Durham between 2015 and 2018.


What are you doing now?

I am a Cataloguer for the Watch Department at Bonhams Auctioneers, based in London.

In 2019, after I graduated from my MA at University College London, I worked as an administrator at a private museum in Hong Kong.

In 2020, I returned to London and joined International Auction House Bonhams. I am part of the Watch department where we hold six live auctions and ten online auctions per year. My role consists of cataloguing and research of vintage and modern timepieces, undertaking auction valuation and overseeing authentication of consignments. I also assist with business getting and client development.


How do you feel your experiences of studying Archaeology at Durham shaped your life afterwards?

Even though I am not working in the Archaeological field, my Archaeology degree had allowed me to build a variety of transferable skills that are valuable to my professional career.  There seems to be not much crossover between ancient artefacts and vintage timepieces. However, having worked various research projects and fieldwork at university, I have developed a range of skillset that is useful in my day-to-day work, of undertaking research and writing up essays, and the care of handling fragile objects, which I often come across at work! Whilst not quite from the ancient times, some of the timepieces I handle can be very old indeed!


What are your favourite memories/experiences of studying Archaeology at Durham?

One of my favourite memories was working on an Early Bronze Age site in Lebanon. It was an incredible experience getting hands on with Archaeology and applying what I have learnt from lectures to actual fieldwork. I felt really grateful to be able to participate in such an important project and to be able to make connections with archaeology students from all over the world.


What do you miss most about studying at Durham?

I miss engaging with my fellow course mates and professors who are passionate about learning. The Department of Archaeology is full of people that constantly inspires me. Being able to study in a World Heritage Site was such a privilege!


What would be your top piece of advice for current students and/or recent graduates?

Be open to any opportunities. Take part in any projects, volunteer whenever you can. You will never know where one opportunity will lead you, and what kind of career you could end up in!


Find out More:

Our Department of Archaeology is a leading centre for the study of archaeology and is ranked 10th in the world (QS World University Rankings by subject 2023). We are an inclusive, vibrant and international community. Our students develop knowledge and gain essential and transferable skills through research-led teaching and lab-based training.