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Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Portsmouth

Before becoming a Geographer my career was somewhat eclectic, encompassing five years working for British Railways, a period at Salisbury College of Art studying photography and five years working as project photographer on The Mary Rose maritime archaeological project. This project excavated and recovered King Henry VIII's vice-flagship, which sank in 1545 during an action against the French, from the seabed of the Solent in 1982. The Mary Rose Trust now preserves and displays the ship and its contents in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. My interest in maritime archaeology and the Mary Rose project is still very strong. I graduated as a mature student in 1991 from Portsmouth Polytechnic with a CNAA first-class BA (hons.) Geography and have since taught in the Department of Geography. I gained my PhD in 2002 from the University of Portsmouth. My thesis considered the philosophical and practical application of GIS technology to integrated archaeological and environmental studies in the Langstone Harbour, Hampshire.

At present I am engaged on building a Geographic Information System (GIS) reconstructing the events of the battle that took place in the Solent and the Isle of Wight in July 1545. It was during this action that the Mary Rose was sunk and the majority of her crew lost. The GIS enables me to better understand the disposition of the opposing fleets and to model what may have happened to result in the disaster that befell the Mary Rose. This project incorporates data from a wide variety of geographical and historical sources and uses the GIS as the means of integrating this evidence.

I am also pursuing a project investigating some of King Henry VIII's battle paintings in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Collection. This work links with my project reconstructing the events of the "Battle of the Solent" and considers these paintings as "stores of geographical information". The project is also utilising the other Cowdray engravings that record Henry VIII's campaign in France in 1544.

I am also taking part in a series of meetings considering railway heritage and in particular the narrow gauge railway heritage of the Tua Valley in the Port Wine area of Portugal. This has been organised through the University of Minho, Portugal and MIT.

I am involved in a number of projects with an archaeological component including The Langstone Harbour Archaeological Survey Project. This inter-disciplinary project developed a Geographic Information System (GIS) to hold, manage and display archaeological and environmental data for the analysis of the coastal and inter-tidal zone of Langstone Harbour on the south coast of Hampshire. Some further work has also been undertaken in Portsmouth Harbour, Chichester Harbour and The River Itchen in Southampton as well as The Solent area as a whole. Sponsoring bodies for this work included; Hampshire County Council, West Sussex County Council, The Environment Agency, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Southampton City Council and The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Portsmouth