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Lecturer in archaeology, Cardiff University

I am a specialist in bioarchaeology, particularly zooarchaeology. My primary research interest is using cutting-edge analytical techniques to explore ancient animal-human interactions. Through this we can reconstruct past societies, lifeways, and economies using multi-disciplinary approaches.

My work has spanned a wide range of periods and locations, with a focus on Neolithic and Medieval archaeology. My recent work has focused on integrating traditional zooarchaeological study with scientific analysis and material culture mapping to reconstruct past animal-human interactions in a variety of periods and locations. I am an avian zooarchaeologist, who works on both wild and domestic birds. I have recently led the first systematic programme of direct dating for ancient chickens, with the intention of finding early chickens, and ruling out intrusive ones. Our work has shown that many of the claimed early chickens were not as ancient as proposed. The new evidence indicates that chickens did not arrive in Europe until the first millennium BC, probably around 800 BC.

I have worked extensively in Britain, with a focus on Scottish Island communities, from prehistory to the present. I have published widely on the Scottish islands, including on avian material from key sites on South Uist (Bornais, Cladh Hallan, and Cille Pheadair). I have recently made significant contributions to our understanding of internationally important medieval sites in England and Wales. I have also been involved with ground-breaking research on animal extinctions (e.g. the great auk), introductions (e.g. chicken domestication) and the application of novel methodologies (eggshell proteomics, incremental isotope analyses etc.).


  • –present
    Lecturer in archaeology, Cardiff University