I am a maritime archaeologist with a focus on prehistoric submerged landscapes and early seafaring. I completed my PhD at Cambridge University studying Mediterranean obsidian circulation and maritime travel in the Neolithic. This research led into a post-doctoral position at Cambridge University and a fellowship within the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. During this time I developed an interest in prehistoric submerged landscapes and worked on a project in Calabria, southern Italy. In 2009 I was awarded a three year Leverhulme early career fellowship to work at Southampton University studying the prehistoric submerged landscapes of the Solent and the dynamic relationship between people and their changing environment as sea-levels rose during the Holocene. This fellowship led into an interdisciplinary lectureship within the newly formed Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute where I developed interdisciplinary marine research in Archaeology and Ocean and Earth Science.
In 2017 I was lucky enough to be awarded a prestigious European Research Council Horizon 2020 grant (2018-2022), to take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of early human colonization of Australasia (The ACROSS project). As part of this project I am leading a team of archaeologists, geologists and geneticists from a selection of research institutes around the world to study the earliest undisputed evidence for seafaring. As the arrival of humans in Australia is one of the most important global questions in deep-time archaeology, I am collaborating with colleague across the ARC Centre for Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH).
My research interests focus around ancient island colonisation in relation to the development of early seafaring. My doctoral research used a combination of obsidian analysis and palaeo-environmental modelling to discuss prehistoric seafaring and the obsidian trade as socially embedded systems of knowledge and practice in the central Mediterranean during the Neolithic period. This work has developed to focus on the social implications of seafaring, navigation, boat technology and the maritime environment more generally across the Mediterranean, Black Sea and into the Indian Ocean where I have been working on the island of Mauritius. I was lucky enough to be involved in the Black Sea MAP and as well as undertaking scientific research, helped drive the development of the educational resources. As a passionate educator and Science communicator I have been involved in a number of media and educational projects.
I am an HSE commercial diver and on the editorial board for the Journal of Maritime Archaeology.