Damian was born in 1959 and grew up around traditional wooden boats by maintaining and repairing them. He also built a number of small, simple, wooden boats. He then worked as a waterfront carpenter in Sussex before studying archaeology from 1979-82 and continued working as a field archaeologist until 1988. From then until now he has worked as a specialist in the archaeology of early woodworking including boat and ship building, completing a part-time Phd in the Archaeology of medieval boat and shipbuilding practice, in 2002 at UCL London. This research included experimenting with practical aspects of early boat building, making authentic museum reconstructions and assisting with such work for a number of television series such as Time Team, and Secrets of the Ancients.
In addition to specialist archaeological work he now spends time trying to pass on insights gained through running practical day-schools on evidence for early woodworking, boat building and reconstructing extinct types of woodland. This specialist work has lead to over 65 publications and presentations to specialist conferences in Britain and Internationally.
He has built or lead the building of over 25 small boats from coracles to large dugout boats, small traditional clinker boats and sections of ancient hulls for museum displays, using ancient tools and materials where possible.