My primary research interests lie in the Viking Age, in particular the study of military organisation and conflict in various social, political, and religious contexts. My current research focuses on the comparative archaeologies of slave-taking, trading, and exploitation, in order to explore the role that these processes played in underpinning the origins and evolution of Viking raiding, as well as socio-political development in Scandinavia during the 8th-11th centuries.
While my research background largely lies in Viking Age England, particularly the study of the so-called Danelaw during the 9th-10th centuries, the last few years have seen my research interests expand considerably. My first postdoctoral project, which focused on the links between religion and conflict during the Viking Age, allowed me to engage more directly with late Iron Age Scandinavian societies and the socio-political conditions underpinning their development during the first millennium. It was during this time that I developed an interest in cross cultural and comparative approaches to the archaeological record. This has inspired my most recent research on Viking-Age slavery, which I am currently conducting at Uppsala. The project utilises large-scale, cross-cultural and multi-period analyses to to identify and investigate the evidence for slaving and its role in Scandinavian societies. In addition to better-defining an ‘archaeology of slavery’ for the Viking Age, I am interested in exploring the various processes associated with slaving and trafficking, as well as how slaving in turn influenced the developmental trajectories of Scandinavian societies. From September 2018 I will be spending a year as a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, where I will be studying social inequality and unfreedom in pre-Contact Mesoamerica and South America. This work, which will dovetail with my research at Uppsala, will seek to better understand how social inequality manifests among societies of varying socio-political complexity, and how these processes contribute to long-term patterns of social change.
In the last couple of years I have been given the opportunity to develop a longstanding personal interest in the material culture of 20th century conflict, and I am currently contributing to research that focuses on the Pacific theatre of operations during the Second World War. Currently, this focuses on the 1944 Battle of Peleliu (Operation Stalemate II) and the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. I am particularly interested in using archaeological evidence to reconstruct narratives of conflict from the perspectives of both combatants and non-combatant groups. I am currently in the process of developing a book proposal for an edited volume that will focus on the multi-cultural archaeologies of the Pacific War, in collaboration with Neil Price (Uppsala University) and Yu Hirasawa (Hokkaido University).
My fieldwork interests are wide ranging and I have participated in a range of excavations and survey projects across Britain, Continental Europe, Scandinavia, and Micronesia.