Between 2005-2009 I was a field supervisor on the University of Münster excavations at Dülük Baba Tepesi, the principal temple of the god known to the Romans as Jupiter Dolichenus (Universität Münster – Doliche). The temple was located on top of a 1,128m high hill near the modern city of Gaziantep, in southeast Turkey. Originally a Near Eastern storm deity, the cult of Jupiter Dolichenus became hugely popular during the middle period of the Roman Empire, especially among soldiers across the northern frontiers. The Roman cult is well known in the west, but little is known about it in Doliche itself, and this was one of the questions our project sought to address. The excavations revealed the earlier history of the site, including the pre-Hellenistic mudbrick temple structure – one of the largest Iron Age buildings in the region. Huge quantities of burnt animal bone and ash add to the picture of a fantastically important sanctuary site in the Iron Age – including a disproportionate amount of bone from the back right leg of very young sheep – that traditionally reserved as an offering for the gods.
My more recent work in Turkey, after some years on maternity leave, is as co-director of the Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey Project (LGASSP 2015-2018), alongside Naoíse Mac Sweeney (Leicester) and Tevfik Emre Şerifoğlu (Bitlis Eren University). The project has sought to document through extensive and intensive survey methodologies the various archaeological sites that will be lost to rising floodwaters following the construction of the Kayraktepe Dam on the Göksu just to the north of the modern city of Silifke. As part of our commitment to community heritage engagement, in 2015 the filmmaker Joseph Briffa joined our team to film a short documentary about the valley and its people, which can be seen here.
From 2018, I have been co-director (with Tevfik Emre Şerifoğlu) of the broader regional survey project following on from LGASSP, the Taşeli ve Karaman Archaeological Project (TKAP). Our team has been awarded the permit to survey a large area of southern Turkey, extending from Anamur in the west to Erdemli in the east, and from Karaman in the north to Silifke in the south. Our new, extended survey area enables us to push an ambitious agenda for studying migration, mobility, communication and connectivity between the Mediterranean and the Anatolian uplands; to examine the development of sacred places, habitation, land use and change; and to take a broader scale, contextualising approach to the work we have done previously with LGASSP.
On Crete, I worked at the British School of Athens project at Palaikastro between 2003-2005 (BSA – Palaikastro). The site is a Minoan town, located by the shore at the eastern end of the island. The area I worked on was part of a LM I A structure and street – one of our most exciting discoveries was a huge layer of volcanic ash, deposited during the eruption of Thera on Santorini. My work on Crete was not limited to excavation, and I returned in the summer of 2004 to study, catalogue and illustrate 2003 and previous years’ ceramic material. During the winter of 2004 I was employed as a research assistant in Knossos for Professor Carl Knappett (Toronto), preparing the Minoan pottery from the 1962-62 excavations of Palaikastro for publication.
In the UK I have worked as a senior site assistant for the University of Cambridge Archaeological Unit on a variety of projects in East Anglia; I have also worked for South West Archaeology.
From 2021, I will be directing a new excavation project at the WHS of Avebury, looking to explore Iron Age and Roman spiritual engagement with the landscape.