I gained my BA at the Institute of Archaeology in London, and my MSc in Social Anthropology at University College London. My early career was in professional archaeology, with fieldwork, post-excavation and publication posts in Sussex, Lincolnshire, London, Oxford, and with the Central Excavation Unit. I started doctoral research at the University of Oxford in 1987 and continued with this episodically while working as a field archaeologist, before securing academic posts first as College Lecturer at Keble College and at Hertford College, Oxford (from 1994) and later as University Lecturer at Oxford University (teaching both archaeology and anthropology). I was appointed Lecturer in Prehistory at the University of Birmingham in 1999.
My research focuses on Neolithic and Bronze Age funerary practices, ritual, material culture, monumental architecture and cosmography in Britain and north-west Europe. A pervasive feature of my work is the use of anthropological perspectives to explore the ‘lived’ nature and diversity of past cultural worlds and social agency at several different scales. I have recently completed a series of regional interpretative syntheses of the evidence from the West Midlands, the Upper and Middle Thames Valley, Wessex and South-East England, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. I have also recently published studies of Early Bronze Age burials, monuments, children in funerary ritual, and archaeological approaches to the study of rites of passage. I’m currently engaged in research projects on funerary dress, Wessex ‘rich graves’, the Stonehenge landscape, and Beaker graves in Britain and north-west Europe. Fieldwork continues to be an especially productive and rewarding aspect of my research, including direction of the Wolvey prehistoric landscapes project, participation in the Stonehenge Riverside Project (the Palisade Field excavations, with Josh Pollard) and I’m currently engaged in landscape research projects in the Medway Valley and around Stonehenge