A Bit of Biog


I'm from the Isle of Man, and went 'across the water' to university when I was 18 to study archaeology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

I graduated from Newcastle University in 1982 with a First and stayed there to do my PhD on Romano-British Villas funded by the Isle of Man Government.

Graduating from Newcastle University in 1982. Left: Hazel Dodge, me, Dave Boyson, Julian Bennett and Karen Griffiths. Right: Professor Martin Harrison helping channel that Harry Potter look.

I was lucky enough to be taught by a number of legendary characters in the Department in Newcastle, such as John Gillam, George Jobey, Charles Daniels and David J Smith, and the ancient historians Brian Shefton, John Lazenby and Jeremy Patterson. My first Professor was Martin Harrison, and under him I was employed by the Department of Archaeology to do some part-time lecturing and tuition.

Martin left for Oxford and under his successor Peter Fowler I spent time working within the Department as a Research Assistant curating archives, notably the Gertrude Bell Photographic Archive; I undertook the Hadrian's Wall Archive Project for RCHME and Newcastle University under the direction of Lindsay Allason-Jones and Humphrey Welfare, and with the assistance of just about everybody still breathing who had had anything to do with the frontier.

Between 1990 and 1992, and with the support and goodwill of the Department of Archaeology I established the first Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference - TRAC - and I did photographic survey work in the Middle East, relating to Roman villas and farms as well as to the Gertrude Bell Photographic Archive for Palestine. These were difficult times to be in Israel, Palestine and Jerusalem, and the (then) British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem was an excellent base and resource.

I moved on to Leicester University to work as a Research Associate and Tutor. My main task other than teaching in tutorials was undertaking the organisation for publication of the Libyan Valleys Survey archives.

From there I went to Winchester University (formerly King Alfred's College) as a Lecturer in Archaeology. I was working for Reading University's Adult Education Department (teaching Archaeology), and the Open University (Classical Studies). My teaching and research specialisms were (are): gender; age and the life-cycle; infancy and infant burials; children; Roman villas; the Roman world; the ancient economy.

When I left Winchester I was a Senior Lecturer and the mother of two very young children, looking for a more manageable work-life balance. I managed the Portsmouth Branch of a charity for a while, was surprised one day to find myself a lone parent, and then (as you do) went into politics. I was a Cabinet Member on Portsmouth City Council for many years, holding Cabinet positions in Education & Children's Services, Culture & Leisure and Environment & Community Safety. This all sadly came to an end when I resigned, on principle and in protest, over the Mike Hancock situation. I'm no longer on the City Council but I still live in Portsmouth and the city made me an Honorary Alderman in 2016.

I was a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University from 2013-2016 - and thanks to Professor Ian Haynes for this - during which time I worked on material and set up this open access website.

TRAC and theoretical Roman archaeology are still close to my heart, and I remain a member of the TRAC (and now TRAJ) advisory committees, as well as being a reviewer for various journals and publications. Currently I'm focusing on this website, adding Open Access content and Blog pieces when I can.

I'm also working on a couple of low-cost e-books to help fund the site: An Archaeology Of Childhood; and something on The Life, Loves and Death of Gertrude Bell to counter the rather disappointing Herzog film.