My interests focus on the Mesolithic period (the middle stone age) and I have directed a number of excavations at sites in Britain and Ireland. My current excavations are at Star Carr, near Scarborough, where we have recently discovered evidence for the earliest “house” in Britain - about 11,000 years old.
I have always been fascinated by the past and history and remember being amazed that I was allowed to actually touch pottery when I visited the Jorvik Viking museum as a child. I wanted to have a go at doing some archaeology and so I started digging when I was 16 as part of a Duke of Edinburgh award. I was very excited whenever I found anything, even an old bone, because I realised I was the first person to see it again after all that time and I wondered why it was there and who last handled it. I still feel the same!
The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing students enthused about a subject. The best part is when they get involved in some research or are totally engrossed in their dissertations and find that they really love doing research. We strongly believe that teaching research skills and giving students an opportunity to carry out original research is a key part of being at University – it gives them the opportunity to hone skills in data gathering, analysis, and communicating the results.
York is such a lovely city to work in. The architecture is beautiful and I will never get bored of it. It is also fantastic for archaeologists because there are so many other archaeologists around. There is the Council for British Archaeology which includes the Young Archaeologists Club, York Archaeologists Trust and the Museums. All this means there are all sorts of possibilities for doing interesting projects together.