My Background

I began my archaeological career in 1986 when I worked on the Wharram Percy Excavations in North Yorkshire. Subsequently I studied at Bradford University where I graduated in 1992 with BSc (Hons) Archaeological Sciences. During my degree I undertook a work placement year where I was fortunate to spend 6 months at the Environmental Archaeology Unit in York. Whilst at EAU I worked on waterlogged plant material from Deer Park Farms, a Medieval rath site in Northern Ireland, under the supervision of Dr. Allan Hall. My undergraduate dissertation involved further research on waterlogged remains from Deer Park Farms.

In 1993 I completed my MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomics at Sheffield University. My dissertation concentrated on the carbonised cereal remains from Dun Vulan, an Iron Age broch site in the Western Isles of Scotland.

In 1994 I moved to Glasgow to begin my PhD research. From 1994 to 1998 I also worked part-time for Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division as an archaeobotanical specialist. In 1998 I left GUARD and set up my own business as a freelance archaeobotanical specialist and also worked as a self-employed archaeologist. During 2001 I returned briefly to Bradford University where I worked on the plant material from Old Scatness Broch, under a short-term contract with the Shetland Amenity Trust, which also involved supervising the on-site flotation programme during the 2001 excavation season.

I graduated with my PhD from Glasgow University in 2003, thesis title: Economy and Environment in the First Millennium AD in Northern Scotland and the Northern Isles.

I have worked extensively in Orkney and Shetland both as an archaeobotanist and excavator, and have a wide practical knowledge of both on-site sampling strategies and environmental sample processing techniques.