Karen Waugh (8-3-1963) grew up in Hessle East Yorkshire. During her years at secondary school she began to take an interest in archeology took part in the excavations of Prof. B. Cunliffe in Danebury and Bath during the summerholidays. She studied archeology at Durham Univeristy (Durham, UK) and specialized in Roman archeology under Prof. Martin Millet, who later supervised her PhD research. After graduation she moved to London where she worked on several excavations of the archaeological department of the Museum of London and simultaneously obtained a publishing degree. In the second half of the 1980s she became actively involved in the archaeological lobby group Rescue, which worked to improve the legal basis and funding of archaeological research. Between 1986 and 1988 she was the editor of Rescue News. In 1987 she started her PhD research and worked and studied for two years at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Bonn (Ger). She returned to London in late 1988 and worked as a Roman pottery specialist for the Museum of London and Hertfordhire Archaeological Trust. Her dissertation on the interaction between Romans and Germans on the right bank of the Rhine, entitled The native settlement of the Limesvorland of Southern Germania inferior / secunda was published in 1999.
In 1993 she married Wilfried Hessing and moved to the Netherlands. There she first worked as a Roman researcher for the National Service for Archeological Soil Research on the development of the Roman burial field in Valkenburg and as an English translator and editor of magazines such as the Berichten ROB and Archaeological Dialogues. In 1995 she joined the archaeological team of the Betuweroute, where she remained until 1999 as contract manager and deputy archeology project leader. In that year she switched to the High Speed Line South (HSL) and was project leader for archeology there until 2001.
In 2000 she founded Vestigia BV Archeology & Cultural History together with Wilfried Hessing, one of the first specialized private archaeological consultancy and research firms. In addition to her work as director / owner, she continued to coordinate large archaeological projects that involved research and infrastructure. The Hanzelijn (2001-2010) was the first large-scale infrastructure project that was set up by means of tenders by ProRail, both in terms of project organization and implementation. Other major archaeological projects under Karen’s leadership included the Widening A2 (Vianen -Deil) and the construction of the Markerwadden.
In addition to caring for her three growing children and her management and consultancy duties, Karen continued to dedicate herself to her two other professional passions, Roman earthwork studies and the international collaboration between archaeologists. She was an active member of the Roman Pottery Research Group, took part in the European PLANARCH project in the 1990s and represented Vestigia in the Project Discovering the Archaeologists of Europe funded by the EU and aimed at mapping the various archeology systems in the Post Malta era. Gradually her involvement with the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) grew, she sat on various committees and working groups and was elected General Secretary and member of the executive committee in 2017. Until her sudden death in July 2019, she worked continuously on the further professionalization and strengthening of this organization.