Deputy Director of the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, Lecturer in Biological and Environmental Sciences
I became Deputy Director of the Centre in 2016. Having first studied environmental science at Aberystwyth University and environmental archaeology at Sheffield University, I was able to bring these two interests together during my PhD studies at the University of Stirling through the discipline of geoarchaeology, the application of soil and earth science techniques to the study of archaeological questions.
After completing my studies I then spent two years working in archaeological consultancy as a soils specialist learning about the realities of commercial archaeology, before returning to research. In 2008 I was appointed as a SAGES (Scottish Alliance of Geoscience Environment and Society) lecturer at the University of Stirling, and have been teaching Environmental Science here ever since.
My research focuses on cultural soil legacies and aims to identify the evidence of past human activities and natural processes based on the imprints that are retained in our soils. There are three broad strands to my research:
to discover histories of past land management and human activity from the legacies retained in cultural soils
to study the implications of past soil legacies for current human health and environmental sustainability
to develop new methodologies for understanding, monitoring and preserving cultural soil legacies.
I am passionate about raising awareness of the existence, importance and modern relevance of soil legacies in order to ensure the protection and further study of our cultural soils, and in 2014, together with the British Society of Soil Science, I produced a YouTube informational video on the subject.
Current and recent projects include:
InterArChive: Understanding the microscopic physical and geochemical evidence of burials and burial practice that may survive in the soil
Development of SASSA, a Soil Analysis Support System for Archaeologists
Assessment and development of geochemical soil analysis methods to help with archaeological site prospection and to aid the interpretation of space use and activity across archaeological sites