Senior Project Specialist, Field Projects

Conservation image
 

The focus of Christopher Gray's current work is the development of a formal documentation strategy that can be integrated into the management of field projects, including the use of electronic documentation. He recently managed the GCI's survey of the Maya stairway at Copán in Honduras.

Chris was born and raised in Brighton, in Sussex, England. His father worked as an engineer for the national telephone company, and his mother was an administrator in a national trade union. At 18 he went off to college at the University of East London to study surveying. While there, he channeled his interest in music into organizing concerts for the university, booking such acts as Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Country Joe and the Fish, and Taj Mahal.

Following college, Chris worked for a major architectural practice in London. This led to a position as a surveyor with Esso Petroleum a year later. After several years with Esso, he took time off to travel in the United States, seeing the country from coast to coast. Returning to England in 1974, he started his career in conservation by being hired as a freelance field surveyor by the national Department of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings, later becoming part of the department's staff. He documented sites all over England, including Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Hampton Court, and abbeys in Yorkshire, marveling that he was being paid to work in some of England's most beautiful places. Between 1979 and 1985, Chris also worked periodically and independently in Egypt, surveying archaeological sites in Abydos and Luxor for American university excavation teams and providing training for local Egyptians.

In the mid-1980s, Chris's organization became English Heritage, and he took on a new role as survey manager, overseeing the major work that was outsourced to the private sector. In that capacity, he managed large-scale surveys of places such as Hadrian's Wall and many of the important Neolithic and abbey sites. He left English Heritage in 1992 to become a consultant; his major client was CADW, the governmental agency responsible for conservation in Wales.

In 1996 he joined the GCI as deputy director of the Documentation program. When the Institute was reorganized two years later, Chris became a senior project specialist in Field Projects. In addition to his documentation work, he has, for several years, organized Getty internal and public lectures on conservation.