Dr Jessie Birkett-Rees

I am interested in the relationships between people and landscape, and in the archaeology of conflict and commemoration. Methodologically, I specialise in spatial analyses, in non-invasive investigation techniques and in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial science to model landscapes and address archaeological questions. I have carried out fieldwork in Australia, Canada, England, and primarily in Anatolia (Turkey) and the Caucasus. I currently investigate the archaeological landscapes of the Caucasus and of the Gallipoli Peninsula.

My research in the Caucasus concentrates on the dynamic strategies of past communities inhabiting the river valleys and highlands of Georgia and also explores the interface between modern urbanisation and heritage preservation in this region. My particualr interest is in tracing the interactions and adaptations which have taken place in the highlands. For several years I researched the area of the modern capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, and the ancient Iberian capital of Mtskheta. Now, in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum and the University of Melbourne, I work in the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti highlands. This province shares modern borders with Turkey and Armenia and has long been a region of cultural interaction. My research interests here are diachronic, ranging from late prehistory to the early modern period, and include the investigation of mobility and pathways within the highlands, the use of economic and political strategies to modify the landscape, and the role of the landscape in constructing frameworks of meaning.

I am also involved in the developing field of conflict archaeology and work on the Joint Historical and Archaeological survey of the ANZAC battlefields at Gallipoli. Places of conflict and commemoration have powerful spatial characteristics and I research the relationships between people, objects and landscape at these sites. The Gallipoli Peninsula and the Dardanelles have been defined by conflict since antiquity and study of this region integrates elements of historical archaeology, industrial archaeology and anthropological archaeology.