I joined Oxford as the Sybille Haynes lecturer after an enjoyable career as a content developer for museum exhibitions and visitor attractions in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, and the United Kingdom, between degrees from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), University College London, and the University of Oxford. These experiences have given me special interest in the stories we tell about the past through its material culture.
My research focuses on analysing the architecture of pre-Roman central Italy in light of modern excavations and theoretical developments. In my 2015 monograph and a series of articles I have explored some of the aesthetic and technical elements of ancient buildings, and will turn next to social experience by examining the evidence for personal connections between people and architecture in Italy between 900 and 400 BC. Under the working title of Building Society: The Anthropology of Architecture in Early Italy, this study will explore the ways in which people interacted with architecture beyond everyday use. Votive deposits associated with the construction and obliteration of buildings show religious concern; miniature architectural models in sanctuaries became ways of communicating with the divine, as did temples; images of buildings were placed on tomb markers in place of texts, and bodies were laid to rest in cinerary urns and chamber tombs that imitated real houses. These signs of intellectual and emotional engagement with the built environment suggest that people in early Italy conceived of their world in architectural terms and used buildings to express their place in it. Like my previous work, this study will explore continuities and contrasts with Roman material culture and thus set these aspects of pre-Roman and Roman archaeology into broader chronological and cultural frameworks.
Archaic Italy; Etruscan archaeology; Roman art and architecture; museum studies.
My teaching likewise spans pre-Roman and Roman material. I teach papers on the archaeology of Italy between the Iron Age and end of the Roman Empire, and have special interests in Roman art and the archaeology of religion.
Sir Banister Fletcher's Global History of Architecture
Made in Etruria: Recontextualizing the ramo secco
American Journal of Numismatics
This paper reassesses the designs on the surface of ‘ramo secco’ ingots and proposes that the insignia had a meaningful role in Etruscan culture. Whereas the design has previously been held to be a utilitarian part of the manufacturing process with no iconographic value or, conversely, a deliberate attempt to represent tridents, lightning, or some type of plant without a clear rationale, this paper offers the alternative suggestion that the design was intended to represent growing wheat. This proposal links the ingots to the agrarian and mineral wealth of the Etruscans and may help to reconstruct the ingots’ role in the Etruscan economy.
Vitruvius and Etruscan Design
Accordia Research Papers
Religious Architecture in Latium and Etruria, c. 900-500 BC
Religious Architecture in Latium and Etruria c. 900-500 BC presents the first comprehensive treatment of cult buildings in western central Italy from the Iron Age to the Archaic Period.