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 which included 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 involved identification and analysis of the carbonised cereal remains from Dun Vulan, an Iron Age broch site in the Western Isles of Scotland.
In 1994 I began my PhD research at the University of Glasgow where until 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 archaeobotanist and also worked as a self-employed archaeologist on numerous sites across Orkney, Shetland and Mainland Scotland. I have a wide practical knowledge of on-site sampling strategies and environmental sample processing techniques as well as extensive excavation experience.
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.
Subsequently I have carried out analysis on plant remains from across the UK.