My primary research interests lie in the Viking Age and the archaeology of conflict, violence and warfare. I am especially interested in ‘cognitive’ aspects of conflict, and how these might be explored through archaeological, historical and literary data sources. My research has allowed me to explore thematic interests such as the interactions between discrete groups during periods of acculturation and colonization in addition to the adaptation and manipulation of identity, material culture and world-views during times of conflict.
While my research background largely lies in Viking Age England, in the last few years I have been expanding my knowledge and research interests. 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. I have also developed an interest in cross cultural and comparative approaches to the archaeological record . Most recently, this has led to me developing approaches which utilise theory deriving from evolutionary anthropology and psychology in order to conduct archaeological studies.
Since completing my PhD studies I have also started developing a project on Viking-Age slavery, which has just begun in earnest with my employment at Uppsala. The study will utilise 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 identifying and defining an ‘archaeology of slavery’ for the Viking Age, I am interested in better understanding the ideologies and infrastructure that drove and supported processes of slaving and trafficking. I am also currently engaged in developing new theoretical frameworks in order to investigate the social and political mechanisms that underpinned the formation of Viking raiding-parties and ‘armies’, and how these groups developed unique identities and evolved throughout their life course. Lastly, drawing inspiration from my work at Simon Fraser University, I am developing a project that looks to better understand the relationship between ritual practice and social cohesion among Viking-Age societies.
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). I am particularly interested in using archaeological evidence to reconstruct narratives of conflict from the perspectives of both combatants and non-combatant groups.
My fieldwork interests are wide ranging and I have participated in a range of excavations and survey projects across Britain, the European continent and Micronesia.