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I am currently a Lecturer in Archaeological Modelling at Bournemouth University. I am also co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology and Secretary of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture (SEAC).

Research

My primary research interest is how societies have perceived and conceived their environment and used that knowledge to time and adjust social, productive and magico-religious behaviours. This steered me to focus my research along two distinct yet complementary strands: archaeological modelling and skyscape archaeology.

The first one involves the modelling and analysis of culture- and environmental-dependent dispersal dynamics, especially across large spatial and temporal scales. Large-scale dispersals have been a staple of archaeological research from its inception: typical examples include the spread of early hominids out of Africa, and the spread of domesticated crops and animal species through the whole world. That such dispersals occurred, as well as their timing, is largely well-established - less understood are their mode and dynamics. Open questions include: What were the underlying mechanisms driving these dispersals? Did climate change affect or motivate them? Did they involve population displacement, or did new technologies diffuse solely by trading? Were preferred dispersal routes chosen based on affinity to the originating environment, or affinity to mode of transport? What impact on indigenous populations (human and otherwise) did these dispersals have? What was the ecological impact of the introduction of new domesticates and new technologies to explore and use the landscape? I am especially interested in exploring these questions through the recovery of the dynamics of prehistoric human dispersals and technological diffusion via computational analysis of chronometric, material and palaeoenvironmental data. This requires lateral thinking with innovative computational approaches that, nevertheless, are acutely aware of the nature, uncertainties and other limitations of the available data.

The second of those strands focuses on more regional scales and explores the skyscape archaeology of late prehistoric monuments. Structures such as Stonehenge in Wiltshire and Newgrange in Ireland are famous for having had celestial alignments encoded into their architecture. This is the subject of much speculation surrounding their intent, purpose and symbolic meaning, with interpretations often blurring the lines between scholarship and fantasy. On this front, I am not so interested in identifying and collecting celestial alignments but in understanding how they can help us peek into the ontologies of past societies, i.e. into how they conceived the world and their place in it. For pre-modern societies, the motions of sun, moon and stars are fundamental to their understanding of the passage of time and the regular seasonality of the celestial objects makes them natural candidates for being associated to other, equally seasonal, socio-cultural activities such as subsistence strategies. By implication, the study of a society’s skyscape can reveal much about how they conceive their relation to the environment that surrounds them and, hence, also how they would have understood and reacted to climatic and environmental change and transformation. However, this aspect of skyscape archaeology remains largely untapped. Both skyscape and landscape archaeology, when done properly, can provide unique insights into past societies and their relatedness to the environment. This takes careful, robust and reflexive approaches to the archaeological record - both qualitative and quantitative - which I am keen to not only explore but also develop.

I welcome any student or collaborator wishing to pursue research that touches upon any of the above, or related, topics.

Publications

Grants

Outreach & engagement

Media coverage