Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral

John Collis

What first sparked your passion for archaeology?

Digging next to the cathedral in Winchester when I was in my last year at school, and subsequently digging on various sites around Winchester while I was at university, under the charismatic (though not loved by all) Martin Biddle.

What does archaeology mean to you?

A chance to see the world from another perspective.

What is the most interesting experience you have had leading an Andante tour?

Being forcibly adopted by an elderly local lady who insisted that we follow her up a wooded hillside to an unknown destination, which turned out to be a remote monastery cut in the rock with traces of Byzantine paintings;
Eating wild boar in s small hotel miles from anywhere in inland Tunisia.
Dancing under the stars aboard a yacht chartered for a wine cruise around the Greek islands, but also carrying an Andante archaeology tour.

What is your favourite archaeological site?

Usually wherever I happen to be at that moment.

How many tours have you led for Andante?

Goodness knows. Dozens. Sicily, Provence, Pompeii etc., Greece, Turkey, Croatia, the Macedonia which used to be called FYROM ....still love them all. As a GL, you have the luxury of seeing sites that you've visited dozens of times through the eyes, and with the excitement, of your guests, so it's as if they are new to you - you CAN recapture that first fine careless rapture.