Department of Archaeology
Thesis- Militarising the Archaeological Landscape
Before starting my PhD in January 2015, I’d been involved with archaeology almost full-time since 2002. From 2002 to 2007, I completed a joint BA with double honours in Archaeology and Japanese studies, studying prehistoric Japanese textile impressions (in archaeology) and the representation of archaeology in popular culture (during my exchange year at Tsukuba University in 2005). After graduating, I worked as a consulting archaeologist in Sydney, NSW. I project-managed landscape-scale Aboriginal archaeology projects, working with Aboriginal community members to record tangible and intangible cultural heritage. This started off my enduring interests in landscape, GIS, and community archaeology.
From 2010 to 2012, I worked in the UK on a range of commercial and community archaeology projects, and first encountered the University of Sheffield while volunteering as a survey supervisor/instructor on Dr. Hugh Wilmott’s 2011 Thornton Abbey season. Having heard good things about Sheffield, I decided in 2012 to start my MA in Landscape Archaeology here. Supervised by Prof. Dawn Hadley and Colin Merrony, I collated grey-literature data and my own geophysical survey results in GIS to explore the post-Roman development of Caistor in North Lincolnshire. I also attended Bob Johnson’s archaeological field school in Trawsfynydd, which introduced me to the concept of militarised landscapes.
My MA was hugely helpful in finding work as the Community Archaeologist for Northumberland National Park. My job was to boost community engagement with the Park’s rich archaeological resources, which I did by working with schools, adult volunteers, a Young Archaeologists’ Club, local artists and educators from late 2013 to early 2015. During this time, I also found out about the OTA and, knowing that a PhD was the inevitable next step, began planning how my background and research interests could come together in partnership with the NNPA, the OTA and the University of Sheffield, to get my research started.
Alongside my current research, I’m also active in the Archaeology in the City project and Sheffield Young Archaeologists’ Club.
- Research interests
I’m an expat Australian studying how archaeological resource management and military training practice interact to create the contemporary militarised landscape of Otterburn. The Otterburn Training Area (OTA) is the second largest military training estate in the United Kingdom, and lies completely within the Northumberland National Park. The constant negotiations between training requirement and archaeological negotiation make this landscape a fascinating place to study.
My methodology uses GIS to combine archival research and walkover survey of specific locations within the OTA where military training interacts with existing archaeological features to identify categories of interaction and thereby record the way in which intangible ‘management guidelines’ impact on the physical reality of archaeological sites.
I would not be able to undertake this research without the support of the University of Sheffield Faculty Studentship and my supervisors Dr Bob Johnston and Dr Gianna Ayala. Also invaluable is the support and access to resources provided by the Northumberland National Park Authority and the Ministry of Defence staff at Otterburn.