Colleges, School and Institutes
I gained my BA at the Institute of Archaeology in London, and my MSc in Social Anthropology at University College London. My early career was in professional archaeology, with fieldwork, post-excavation and publication posts in Sussex, Lincolnshire, London, Oxford, and with the Central Excavation Unit. I started doctoral research at the University of Oxford in 1987 and continued with this episodically while working as a field archaeologist, before securing academic posts first as College Lecturer at Keble College and at Hertford College, Oxford (from 1994) and later as University Lecturer at Oxford University (teaching both archaeology and anthropology). I was appointed Lecturer in Prehistory at the University of Birmingham in 1999.
My research focuses on Neolithic and Bronze Age funerary practices, ritual, material culture, monumental architecture and cosmography in Britain and north-west Europe. A pervasive feature of my work is the use of anthropological perspectives to explore the ‘lived’ nature and diversity of past cultural worlds and social agency at several different scales. I have recently completed a series of regional interpretative syntheses of the evidence from the West Midlands, the Upper and Middle Thames Valley, Wessex and South-East England, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. I have also recently published studies of Early Bronze Age burials, monuments, children in funerary ritual, and archaeological approaches to the study of rites of passage. I’m currently engaged in research projects on funerary dress, Wessex ‘rich graves’, the Stonehenge landscape, and Beaker graves in Britain and north-west Europe. Fieldwork continues to be an especially productive and rewarding aspect of my research, including direction of the Wolvey prehistoric landscapes project, participation in the Stonehenge Riverside Project (the Palisade Field excavations, with Josh Pollard) and I’m currently engaged in landscape research projects in the Medway Valley and around Stonehenge
My principal areas of research, focussed on north-west European and British prehistory, are:
- The archaeology and anthropology of funerary practices
- The archaeology and anthropology of ritual
- Landscape, monumental architecture and cosmography
- Chronology and cultural and social change
- Temporal and spatial structuring of prehistoric social life
- Identity and personhood
- Time and history in prehistory
In recent years, much of my research has been concerned with large-scale fieldwork and regional publication projects in Britain, including:
Current field projects
Medway Valley Prehistoric Landscapes Project. Project director of five-year field project (2008-2012) exploring the Medway megalithic monuments and other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in their landscape context.
Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. I am one of the principal investigators contributing to the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project led by the IAA and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, Vienna. This involves a four-year large-scale geophysical and remote sensing survey (2010-2013) of the Stonehenge environs and reinterpretation of the monuments and landscapes of the World Heritage Site.
Current major publication projects
Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) Section 1: Early prehistory: Author of the earlier prehistory chapter of the project monograph, synthesizing and interpreting the evidence from the single largest archaeological fieldwork project undertaken in the UK. Publication in 2011/12.
South-East Regional Framework: Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Author of the resource assessment and research agenda chapter for south-east England. Publication in 2012.
Willingness to take PhD students
I welcome research proposals relating to any of my areas of research interest, especially funerary archaeology, ritual, landscape, and material culture, and I’m happy to discuss potential topics at any time. My recent postgraduate supervision includes:
Prehistoric landscapes of the South Pennines (PhD, completion 2015)
Food Vessels in Early Bronze Age Britain (AHRC-funded; PhD, completion 2012)
Lithic technologies in the Neolithic of northern Italy (PhD, completion 2012)
Space and architecture in the British Neolithic (PhD, completion 2011)
Grooved Ware in the Thames Valley landscape (M Phil, completion 2011)
Prehistoric settlement in the Welsh Marches (PhD, completion 2011)
Neolithic tor enclosures in south-west Britain (AHRC-funded; PhD, awarded 2010)
Regional narratives of the Early Bronze Age (AHRC-funded; M Phil, awarded 2009)
Round barrows in the Wylye valley, Wiltshire (M Phil, awarded 2009)
Animal remains from early Neolithic mortuary sites (M Phil, awarded 2008)
Timber halls of the British Early Neolithic (M Phil, awarded 2006)
Middle Bronze Age ‘houses’ in Britain and Ireland (M Phil, awarded 2005)