I have been passionate about the past since childhood, and my love of history, archaeology, art, and languages began with ancient and medieval Britain, especially the enigmatic Picts who lived in what is now eastern and northern Scotland.
My research embraces an interdisciplinary approach to study landscapes and the material culture of sacred spaces in Britain, Ireland, and Celtic Europe from c. 500 BC – AD 1200 (though some aspects of my research have extended to the early modern period). In the former, I am particularly interested in examining the curation of sacred landscapes through the combined study of archaeological, place-name, and documentary evidence. My interest in the material culture of sacred space primarily focuses on monuments, and in this field my research examines how beliefs and cultural influences are communicated in the visual and epigraphic repertoire of late Iron Age and early medieval carved monuments.
I am very keen on the application of new technologies to better study the past, and my work is at the forefront of developments in the digital humanities. For example, I have participated in digitization projects and created 3D models of medieval sculpture. Currently, I am principal investigator of Aerial and Satellite Archaeological Prospecting: Tiree, a Society of Antiquaries of Scotland funded project using a combination of multispectral satellite images, LiDAR, and other aerial surveying data to identify, interpret and map archaeological features on the island of Tiree. In this project, satellite imagery has been used to create Normalised Difference Vegetation Indices, a new technique of aerial archaeological prospecting that has not been widely applied in Britain.
Sharing my passion for the ancient and medieval world is one of the joys of my career. I have taught at the University of Nottingham, NUI Galway, and currently teach at the University of Glasgow. One of my proudest achievements was winning a Staff Oscar from the University of Nottingham Students’ Union for Most Inspiring Teacher. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My commitment to sharing knowledge extends beyond the academy. I regularly present at conferences and public lectures, and work with community projects and broadcasting.