Candidate Profile

Provided by

Espionage, Intelligence & Spying
Extraordinary Lives & Famous People
IT, Computing, Internet & Social Media
Science - General
Educated at Bradford Grammar School, Dr John Wilcock read Physics at Oxford University then worked for 7 years with English Electric and its successor companies as Computer Engineer (1st and 2nd generation computers), before entering academia as a Senior Lecturer (later Principal Lecturer, Research Leader, and finally Reader in Computing) at Staffordshire University.

With a life interest in archaeology, he was one of the first to apply computers to archaeological problems, leading to the establishment of the new world discipline Computer Archaeology, in which he took his doctorate. He founded the Research Centre for Computer Archaeology, which had more than 20 doctoral students. The unit helped to found the annual Computer Applications in Archaeology Conferences which are still held in many countries of the world, and also several journals.

Categories of enrichment speaking include:
  • Archaeology (Roman; Industrial; Scientific; Egyptology; General; Scientific Archaeology)
  • History (Classical; Vikings, Baltic States, the Rus (Russia); Art & Culture; General, History of the Panama Canal)
  • Computing (British, US and German Computers; Internet; IT)
  • Codes & ciphers from Julius Caesar to the Enigma Machine (including 1st and 2nd World Wars and Bletchley Park);
  • Geography (world maps of destinations, associated history and archaeology of the places to be visited, general maritime history and mariners, myths and mysteries of the seas)
  • Speleology and its associated Geology (he was Chairman and then later Secretary of the British Cave Research Association, and Caving Leader of the first Oxford University Expedition to Northern Spain 1961, Picos de Europa). Cave hydrology; Adventure & Exploration. The Science of Speleology.
  • Travel (Destination-based archaeology/history for ports in the Mediterranean, Baltic and British Isles; Conducting cultural heritage able-bodied tour parties around ports)
  • Science (Physics; General, history of time and calendar systems, The Story of Radar)
  • Extraordinary Lives (Biographies of interesting people, e.g. Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie, Alan Turing & the Enigma Machine, Reginald Mitchell & the Spitfire, Patrick Lichfield, Arthur Ransome, JRR Tolkien, Florence Nightingale, Augusta Ada Lovelace; full list on request).
Willing to take up appointments as Enrichment Speaker at short notice.

Escort for shore excursions. If the route is known in advance printed notes could be produced.

For full profile see
For a full list of stand-alone and destination-based topics please contact me at
Dr John Wilcock MA(Oxon), BSc, PhD, CEng, FIET, FBCS, CITP Enrichment Speaker


The following should be taken as indicative topics only: please contact me for a full list of possible topics, or ask for coverage of a set of destinations or a lecture programme at sea for a particular cruise. Generally interested and available for Discount cruises where the enrichment speaker is granted discounts in return for being generally available to speak on board.
Expert categories include:
- Roman Archaeology
- Industrial Archaeology
- Scientific Archaeology
- The history of British, US and German Computers
- Computing
- Codes and Ciphers from Julius Caesar to the Enigma Machine (including 1st and 2nd World Wars and Bletchley Park)
- War studies - 1st and 2nd World Wars, Churchill, Radar, NE Atlantic convoys, Christmas in the Trenches
- History of the Panama Canal
- Speleology and its associated Geology, The Science of Speleology
- Myths and mysteries of the seas (Bermuda Triangle, Flying Dutchman, Amelia Earhart, Glenn Miller)
- Biographies: Extraordinary Lives


Roman and Classical Archaeology of the Mediterranean
1. The history & archaeology of the Roman Empire, and “Our Sea”
2. Cities of Vesuvius (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale, Naples Museum)
3. The history of Venice and the Maritime Republics
4. The geography and history of the Balkan Peninsula, Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Croatia
5. Petra (Jordan) – Rose Red City half as old as Time
6. Who were the Myceneans? (Mycenae, Crete, Santorini/Thera)
7. The Fertile Crescent – a strip of land fought over for 7000 years (Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel)
8. The archaeology of the Hebrews (Jews, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Masada, Diaspora, later life in the Medieval period and the Second World War)
9. Destination-based archaeological/historical treatments from ancient times up to the modern political structure of the countries concerned:
10. The history of Spain, Barcelona, Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, the Camino de St Jacques, Oviedo, Cadiz,Cordoba, Malaga, Granada, Ceuta and Melilla
11. The history of Sardinia, Cagliari, and Nora
12. The history of Sicily: Greeks, Romans and Arabs
13. The geography and history of the Balkan Peninsula, the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia, Dubrovnik( Ragusa) and Split (Diocletian’s Palace)
14. The history of Portugal, Lisbon and Porto
15. The history of France, Monaco, Marseille, Toulon and Monte Carlo
16. The history of Italy, Maritime Republics, Genoa, Livorno, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Naples (Pompeii, Herculaneum)
17. The history of Greece, Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Mycenae, Epidauros, Olympia, Delfi, Corfu
18. The history of Turkey, Constantinople (Byzantium, Instanbul), Bursa, Troy, Dardanelles, Ephesus, Kusadasi, Alanya, Antalya, Pamukkale
19. The archaeology of Libya (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, Cyrene), Tunisia (Carthage, Dougga, Tunis, Bardo Museum) and Morocco (Tangier, Marrakech, Volubilis)
20. The archaeology and history of the Vikings, Scandinavia, Baltic States, the Rus (Russia, St Petersburg)
21. The History of Radar
22. The Vikings and their trade routes

1. The civilisation of the Nile valley
2. Old Kingdom Egypt and the Pyramids
3. New Kingdom Egypt and the Valley of the Kings
4. Tutankhamun
5. Nefertiti
6. Cleopatra

Industrial Archaeology
1. What is Industrial Archaeology? (steam engines, canals, railways, mining techniques, pottery)
2. What is Vernacular Architecture? (Architectural styles of relevant cultures)
3. The history of Radar

Scientific Archaeology
1. Archaeometry: Scientific Archaeology- Part 1: Modern Site Prospection methods
2. Archaeometry: Scientific Archaeology - Part 2: Modern Dating and Analysis methods
3. What is Time? A history of clocks and calendar systems, with relevance to time zones; and the representation of time in computers.

IT, Computing, Internet
1. The History of British, US and German Computers
2. Codes and ciphers from Julius Caesar to the Enigma Machine, with some relevance to ship communications.
3. The Enigma Machine (The secrets of Bletchley Park and the Second World War decoding of wartime messages, including some remarks on the career of Alan Turing, an important mathematician and computer specialist at Bletchley Park)
4. The 1986 BBC Domesday Project, a pioneering computer implementation of the British national record for the 900th anniversary of the Domesday Book, with remarks on the problems of the preservation of information in archives
5. The Great Time Team Television Phenomenon (1994 – 2013 RIP), a long-running TV archaeology series well known for its three-day excavations.
6. Computer Archaeology (scientific archaeology and the application of computers to archaeological problems: data capture, information retrieval, statistics, graphics, virtual reconstruction)

Speleology and its associated Geology
1. The Science of Speleology (Finding new caves, water tracing & hydrology, how caves are formed, chemistry, physics, biology, geology, geomorphology, speleothems, cave radio & electronics, cave survey, cave photography)
2. Caving & Potholing – The World of the Caver
3. The archaeology of caves

Biographies - Extraordinary Lives
- Arnold Bennett - famous author of the Five Towns novels
- Vera Brittain
- Agatha Christie – famous detective author
- Winston S. Churchill - Prime Minister during WW2, also Young Winston
- Glyn Daniel – famous archaeologist and Animal, Vegetable, Mineral TV show host
- Fred Dibnah – engineer and steeplejack, steam enthusiast
- Amelia Earhart - famous aviatrix, who may also have been a spy
- Rosalind Franklin – scientist, discoverer of the structure of DNA
- C.F.C. Hawkes - famous archaeologist
- Jacquetta Hawkes - famous archaeologist, wife of author J.B. Priestley
- Lawrence of Arabia and T.E. Shaw - famous WW1 soldier in the Arab Revolt, and his later RAF alter ego
- Patrick Lichfield – famous photographer, 1st cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II
- Augusta Ada Lovelace - the first computer programmer who worked with Charles Babbage and his Analytical Engine
- Reginald Mitchell - designer of the Supermarine Spitfire and its effects on WW2 and the Battle of Britain
- Florence Nightingale – famous nurse in the Crimean War
- The Pankhursts and female suffrage
- J.B. Priestley - famous author of plays and books
- Arthur Ransome – famous war correspondent in Russia, spy, and author of Swallows and Amazons
- J.R.R. Tolkien - famous author of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings
- Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine - famous cryptologist at Bletchley Park, and computer scientist
- Alfred Wainwright – famous mountain walker and author of walking guide books
- Mortimer Wheeler – famous archaeologist

Cultural Heritage Walks
Escort for shore excursions: from the quayside of a cruise ship by bus. Given enough information about the routes, printed notes could be provided. The escort will carry a first aid kit and a mobile phone in case of emergencies.
Thomson Spirit:
26.03.09 – 02.04.09 Red Sea Magic Sharm-el-Sheik, Port Sokhna, Safaga
02.03.11- 09.03.11 Red Sea Magic Sharm-el-Sheikh, Port Sokhna, Safaga
09.03.11 – 17.03.11 Red Sea Magic Sharm-el-Sheikh, Port Sokhna, Safaga

Viking Star:
27.10.15 - 07.11.15 Mediterranean Odyssey Barcelona - Venice

Saga Pearl II
20.11.17 - 08.12.17 Geography speaker and tour escort, Madeira, Canary Islands, Cadiz, Portimao, Lisbon, La Coruna, Aviles
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Pacific Princess K807 Panama Canal Connoisseur Cruise 17 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Friday, April 27, 2018
Saga Pearl 11 P2186 Jewels of the Canary Islands 18 Southampton Monday, November 20, 2017
Viking Star ST151027 Mediterranean Odyssey 12 Barcelona Tuesday, October 27, 2015