My research involves the role of primary orality - the way cultures store and maintain information when they have no contact with writing. I focus on the pragmatic and scientific information: plant classification and properties, animal behaviour, navigation, astronomy, genealogies, laws, resource rights, hunt strategies, land management, survival strategies ... I look at the mnemonic technologies used - everything from song and mythology to the landscape and hand held mnemonic devices. I then apply this understanding of knowledge systems to the archaeological record of small scale oral cultures, especially the Neolithic and Archaic. This leads to a new theory about the purpose of archaeological sites including Stonehenge along with stone and timber circles the world over, Easter Island, the Nasca Lines and many other sites.
An academic version of my PhD thesis is published by Cambridge University Press under the title 'Knowledge and power in prehistoric societies: orality, memory and the transmission of culture'.
I am a science writer and researcher at LaTrobe University. My new book, 'The Memory Code', is for the mainstream reader. It was published by Allen & Unwin in Australia in 2016, and by Atlantic Books in the UK and Pegasus Books in the US in