Research

My research focus is the archaeology of northeast Africa, a vibrant centre for human activity during late prehistory and the Bronze Age. Drawing on a combination of social, technological and environmental approaches, my interests lie  in human development and change throughout the region during the Neolithic process and in the lead-up to state formation. Key to this focus is the issue of complexity: how concepts of ownership and power develop within the community and how this is actualised and mediated through the material culture to become embedded within community structures.

Cross-cultural interaction, as a stimulus for social change, forms a related area of study. Northeast Africa lies at the intersection of continents and I’m keen to understand the transmission of culture and its impact on social relations across a broad canvas that extends into Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and the Near East. On a more localised level, and as part of an ARC Discovery Project (DP150102033) examining the relationship between the Egyptian oases and the Nile Valley during the pharaonic, Graeco-Roman and Christian periods, my research explores concepts of regional independence and the maintenance of cultural traditions and local identity among peripheral communities within the ancient state.

My approach to research is largely material-based, with a specialisation in ceramic analysis. An integral part of this approach is the consideration of engineering and scientific principles to achieve a deeper understanding of material properties and how these are worked into social relations. I am also interested in acquisition and display strategies in holding institutions, specifically the collecting history of ancient Egyptian objects during the highly productive years of excavation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.