My research interests

I’ll be looking at the use of colour in the monuments of the Atlantic European Neolithic (roughly speaking, from the south of Portugal around the coast of Spain, France, Ireland and the UK, northern Germany, Denmark, and southern Sweden). I’m fascinated by the ideas of Berlin and Kay’s “Basic Color Terms”, that the concept of particular colours is such a vital and universal first step in the development of language that it can be seen running through almost all cultures, like a leitmotif. In particular, white/black/red; why does this triad maintain its symbolic resonance across cultures? What made it so important in the first place? What does it represent to diverse peoples and societies? What do the different ways it manifests in different groups, cultures or societies tell us about the surrounding influences?

I’m hoping to uncover new ways of looking at Neolithic cosmology by understanding how colour choice in monumental architecture reflects the concepts these colours represented. Is there a pattern across Europe that reflects a near-universal development of colours representing specific concepts? Are there notable, and therefore probably significant, regional variations? Did these colour choices reflect a wish to alter the landscape, or blend in with it? To imbue the landscape with memory or tradition? To represent new ideologies or to hark back to old rituals?

I’ll be looking at sites from Wales to Sweden, from Portugal to Denmark, both islands and mainland.

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As well as my interest in the Neolithic, my other broad interests are:

– Industrial archaeology of railways
– Clothing, spinning, weaving, dying, and fabrics in the archaeological record
– Folklore, local mythology, spirits of place, folk horror and local traditions
– Recreating foods from historical and archaeological sources

I am also passionate about education outreach for archaeologists, currently working on resources and planning to enable easier routes into schools for all archaeologists.

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I also feel very strongly that archaeology as a discipline needs to be more inclusive and work harder to allow minorities to have their voices heard without discrimination, dismissal or derision. With that in mind, I am involved with the CIFA Equality and Diversity Group, currently working on issues around enabled and dis/abled archaeologists in the field, in academia, attending conferences. My upcoming paper for CAA Atlanta is based upon experiences of women in digital archaeology, which I hope will cause discussion and action on the issues those who identify as women have when engageing with the profession.

I am also on the EAA Public Archaeology Working Group, looking at ways archaeologists and the public engage.

 

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