Postgraduate research

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Matthew Jacobson is a current PhD student researching climate change and socio-economic transformations in the Late Antiquity of the Middle East. Read on to find out what he got up to over the summer…

Whilst on holiday in Singapore earlier this year, I visited the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and gave a presentation; this was on climate change in Arabia during the 7th century CE and the potential impacts of this on individuals, society and religion. The hospitality of Dr. Xianfeng Wang who hosted me was unparalleled, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time. I was given a tour of their laboratories, which were vastly different to Reading’s due to the influence of humidity on stable-isotopes – whereas our drilling lab is the same as any other room, to enter theirs you had to enter the academic equivalent of a decompression chamber and change your clothes (+shoes).

Luckily, before my presentation I saw a talk by Professor Charles Elachi (former head of NASA Mars Mission) and valuably noted what went down well in the presentation – the main point being that they found it hilarious if you referenced their Uni! Another lesson learnt following the presentation is to ensure you use all your allotted time for presentations: I finished slightly early and had to suffer 22 minutes of questions which meant they got particularly tough towards the end. Whilst in Singapore, I also visited the Asian Civilisation Museum (see below) and it was the best Museum I have ever visited, I could not recommend it more to anyone visiting the country (especially archaeologists)!

Later in the year, I also visited Princeton University in the states; where I was invited to the climate change and history research initiative (CCHRI) annual symposium to give a similar talk to the one I gave in NTU. This time I was lucky enough to be co-presenting with Professor John Haldon (Princeton) who is an esteemed historian, which saved some of the nerves – it also saved me from the horrible historical questions that came later! Both presentations went well, and I was happy with how I did! One of the patterns that I have observed whilst giving presentations is that people often ask about the aspects they understand least about – seems obvious but it’s more than that. Archaeologists/historians tend to ask me about the climate science whereas the climate scientists in Singapore asked lots of questions about the historical/archaeological aspects – prepare for any eventuality!

Matthew J Jacobson

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Josie Handley is a current PhD student in the Department, researching the resilience of agricultural systems to human activities and climate change in the Peruvian Andes. Over the summer, she conducted fieldwork in Peru – read on to learn about her experiences…

“During July, I was lucky enough to visit Peru and carryout fieldwork related to my PhD. The two-week trip involved visiting two of my study areas, the Ancash District and the Chillón Valley. Whilst in these regions I took sediment core samples from six sites, including lakes and peat bogs, which provided me with the majority of my samples for my PhD. In the field, we also interviewed local farmers and held community workshops to discuss the present day issues affecting agriculture productivity and sustainability within the study areas. This was also an excellent opportunity to record local oral histories about changes in farming practices within living memory, to go alongside the deeper history perspective the collected core records will hopefully provide.

One of the study sites in Peru

Being out in Peru conducting fieldwork was not only useful in terms of sample collection and conducting the interviews, but it also provided the opportunity to see how the agricultural land was being cultivated and worked in the present day. This can provide a modern analogue for the agricultural activity signals we may pick up through analysis of the core sequences.

I also got the opportunity to attend two workshops, one at Universidad National Santiago Antunez de Mayolo, Huaraz entitled ‘Living with Climate Change’ and the second at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima. These workshops were a great opportunity to network with Peruvian colleagues from archaeology as well as local NGOs and governmental organisations such as the Mountain Institute and the National Institute of Investigation on Glaciers and Mountain Ecosystems.

My experience of fieldwork ran relatively smoothly; this was largely due to having native speakers of both Spanish and Quechua with me for the majority of the trip. This particularly helped when conducting interviews and structured discussion sessions. It was also useful having people that knew the areas well, especially when it came to site selection, as two of the sites were not in the original itinerary but turned out to be great coring locations, thanks to the local knowledge of the area. Whilst I was in Peru, I was also able to make the most of my trip and took the opportunity to do some travelling and spent two weeks after my fieldwork on the tourist trail of the south visiting Cusco, Machu Picchu, Nazca, and Huacachina, an oasis in the desert.”

Visiting Machu Picchu

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It is nearly that time of year again for the SAGES PGR Conference. May the 11th and 12th will see 17 third year students present their research to PGR students and staff from the whole school. There will also be posters and powerpoint slides on display from a total of 48 second and first year students. These presentations will be on a range of topics fitting into all of the University’s research themes; Prosperity and Resilience, Food, Health, Environment, and Heritage and creativity. This year in addition to these themes, the conference committee have also introduced sub-topics from the United Nation Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). Many of these goals encapsulate key aims of research across the School and exemplifies the global outreach potential of our School’s research. These sub-topics include; Climate Action, Life on Land, Life Below Water, Responsible Consumption and Production, Clean Water and Sanitation, Good Health and Well-Being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure to name a few.

Given the disparate topics of research covered in the Conference, the Committee have also invited two external speakers, to reflect the broad academic interests of our research community. We also wanted these talks to reflect different aspects of post-PhD life including securing post-docs, interacting with external and government bodies, and securing funding and grant money to fund research projects. Therefore, Dr Jess Neumann will open the conference on the Thursday morning. Jess completed her PhD in Woodland Biodiversity and Agriculture at the University of Reading in 2014, and currently has a postdoc position looking at whether improved meteorological forecasts lead to more skilful flood forecasts in the Thames at seasonal timescales. To close the conference on the Friday afternoon, Professor Naomi Sykes from the University of Exeter will join us. Professor Sykes’s work has focused on reconstructing bio-cultural histories with an emphasis on presenting her research in a palatable and creative format. She has collaborated closely with a range of non-academic organizations worldwide and has worked with the United Nations towards the sustainable development goals.

We hope this year’s programme will be of great interest to our students and staff alike and showcase the interdisciplinary and world-leading research of our PGR community. For further updates and information on the conference, follow #SAGESPGR18 on Twitter and read the abstracts of talks below.

PGR Conference Abstracts 2018

Last year we profiled some of our staff to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year, we asked some of our brilliant PhD students about their research and their inspirations.  Read on for a selection…

Josie Handley

What is your research specialisation/topic?

Through my PhD I am assessing the impact human activity and climate change has had on the sustainability of terraced agriculture in the Peruvian Andes through the analysis of phytoliths, pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, and charcoal analysis.

What made you choose this area?

Since undergraduate level, I have been interested in how past civilisations interacted with each other as well as their environments and, in particular, how this may be able to tell us more about environmental changes currently taking place, or those that may take place in the future. This inspired me to undertake an MSc in Environmental Archaeology here at the University of Reading. Whilst working on my master’s dissertation with my now PhD supervisor, Dr Nick Branch, I fell in love with Peru and its history and because of this he encouraged me to apply for a PhD.

 What is a current exciting development in your area?

In recent years, several new climatic records from speleothems, marine cores, and lake cores, have been published from Peru and South America. These illustrate how the climate has changed over the course of the Holocene; information that was lacking at the beginning of the decade. This is valuable information for those that want to understand whether agriculture has been resilient to climate change in the past.

 What advice would you have for young women wanting to study Archaeology in the future?

To get as much experience as you possibly can early on, whether that be through volunteering on digs or work experience in labs. I found that getting involved with local events and helping out in the lab have not only been beneficial training experiences but was also a lot of fun!

 Who inspired you to get to where you are now?

My parents have always motivated me and supported the decisions I have made, both for my education and my career; this has been absolutely fundamental in getting me to where I am today. I was also lucky enough to have two very inspiring female geography teachers in secondary school that sparked my interest in earth sciences at quite a young age.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

When I am not working on my PhD I enjoy getting out into the countryside, going for walks and getting some fresh air, it is really important to find time for you whilst studying; it’s helpful in clearing the brain for a while! I also enjoy baking and being creative.

 

Claire Nolan

What is your research specialisation/topic?

My research examines the relationship between heritage and wellbeing, exploring the therapeutic value and potential of the prehistoric landscapes of Stonehenge, Avebury and the Vale of Pewsey, in the present day. It is particularly concerned with how the historic environment impacts people, personally, and what it means for them.

What made you choose this area?

My love of prehistory and psychology, my passion for helping people and a hunch that heritage is fundamental to our wellbeing and development.

What is a current exciting development in your area?

The heritage and health sectors are beginning to work together increasingly to find new ways to promote wellbeing and justify the deeper impacts of heritage.

What advice would you have for young women wanting to study Archaeology in the future?

Do what you love – if it inspires you, just go for it!

Who inspired you to get to where you are now?

The late Dr Tessa Adams. Celebrated psychoanalyst, theorist, and my former masters supervisor, Dr Adams was a force of nature, had a brilliant mind, and recognised the potential links between archaeology and wellbeing. I have also been inspired by the work, support and encouragement of Dr Jim Leary, Prof Tim Darvill and the late Prof Peter Woodman.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Walking in prehistoric landscapes!

 

Rebecca Scott

What is your research specialisation/topic?

My main interest is the use of soils and sediments to understand the archaeological record. My PhD draws on this by investigating the use of fire by early humans in the Palaeolithic. In the earlier parts of this period (the Lower Palaeolithic and parts of the Middle Palaeolithic), we simply don’t find much evidence for it – why? My research, therefore, focuses on the effects of fire on different soils and sediments, and the conditions under which evidence for humanly-controlled fires are preserved. I study this by using experimental archaeology – I build fires and try to identify the factors affecting their visibility.

What made you choose this area?

Although my background is in the environmental and earth sciences I have always had a keen interest in archaeology. I became fascinated by Quaternary geology and Pleistocene climates during my undergraduate degree and I am particularly interested in the interactions between humans and the environment – both how humans have shaped their environments and, conversely, how environments have shaped humans, particularly via subsistence strategies.

What is a current exciting development in your area?

Research involving the early use of fire has had a resurgence in recent years. We now have a range of scientific techniques at our fingertips which we can use to help us answer the many questions we have about this important development in human history.

What advice would you have for young women wanting to study Archaeology in the future?

Go for it! Get experience if you can, work hard, read widely, and most importantly – ask questions!

Who inspired you to get to where you are now?

My mum who always encouraged me to read and pursue my interests (however weird and wonderful they may be!), and of course all of the pioneering and forgotten women of science – the Trowelblazers, like Mary Anning and Charlotte Murchison – who were disregarded, actively discouraged, and written out of the textbooks.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, I enjoy relaxing at home with my cat and some good music, and cooking/experimenting in the kitchen.

 

Candace McGovern

What is your research specialisation/topic?

I am a Biological Anthropologist and currently researching puberty and childbirth in Roman-Britain.

What made you choose this area?

As an Ancient History undergraduate, I was assigned to read Sarah Pomeroy’s Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves which was a life changing moment for me as I was also becoming more active in the LGBT community. Since that moment, I have been interested in studying those less represented or marginalized. Childbirth has been primarily studied from an evolutionary perspective by males, my work aims to widen the scope of research we can gain from the topic.

What is a current exciting development in your area?

Working on addressing the stereotypes associated with obstetric hazards and early marriages among past populations.

What advice would you have for young women wanting to study Archaeology in the future?

For young women who are considering Archaeology, or a related subject like Biological Anthropology, I encourage them to pursue their passion. Develop a sense of inner strength and perseverance, so when they might be the only woman in a class they have the courage to speak out. Also, help each other out instead of tearing each other down. I always thought I was rubbish at science once I got to secondary school; however, now I love biological sciences and I am really glad I had the opportunity to continue on with it.

Who inspired you to get to where you are now?

I can’t credit a specific person but there have been many strong women along the way who have inspired me. I have always been headstrong and inspired by my grandmother who left home at 15. She joined the army a few years later, one of the first women in the US to do so and traveled all over in the 1940’s and 50’s. It was all really ambitious for a young farm girl. I was also lucky to have a few really good mentors in school who saw my potential and encouraged me to stick with it, even when I was really close to failing.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

As a PhD Researcher I don’t have much free time as I also work as a tutor for SEN students. However, I really enjoy travelling and making yummy vegan food.

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Sometimes, remarkable things come from a little conversation.

I looked like I’d been pulled through a hedge backwards. I felt like it too, standing in my shabby overalls, willing the smoking camp-fire to stay alight for a day’s archaeological experiments in the Harris Garden.  And my supervisor taking a snap-shot of me to post to Twitter – thanks, Jim.  So, to lighten my mood, I said,

“I’ve come across a couple of references to sarsen stones being brought to the Duke of Marlborough’s estate at White Knights.  I wonder what happened to the stones?”

And pointing over his left shoulder towards the tangle of trees behind, Jim said,

“They’re over there in the wilderness.”

Now my research is into the use of sarsen stone, a hard, siliceous sandstone commonly found as large boulders in areas of southern England, and best known as the trilithons and lintelled circle at Stonehenge.  How exciting, to discover tantalisingly brief references to Georgian landscape design using sarsens: and then find out that those rocks were still here two hundred years later!

It’s remarkably easy to find the stones on campus.  Go to Biological Sciences and, passing the building on your right, take the footpath leading into the trees.  Follow it for a couple of minutes, and you will see a pile of large stones in the trees to your right.  You are in The Wilderness, and this is The Grotto.

The Grotto, built for the Marquis of Blandford in his woodland garden in White Knights park (photo, Katy Whitaker)

The Wilderness – called The Woods by the fifth Duke of Marlborough who planted up White Knights park – was a designed landscape.  The Duke (at that time the Marquis of Blandford, as his father was still alive) moved into White Knights in 1798 and promptly lavished enormous sums on the house and 300 acre grounds. He spent 21 years transforming the park into “a fairy-tale garden”; really, a series of gardens within a garden, including The Woods with its walks, lawns, plantations, themed flower borders, bowers, and romantic garden buildings (including one for his orchestra to play in).  The Grotto, Grade II-listed, is one of the few remaining structures.

The Grotto in its heyday, painted by Thomas Hofland. Scattered sarsens, looking much as they do in the wild in Wiltshire, adorn the approach, whilst the Grotto itself is decorated with huge clam shells and crystal “spars” (Hofland, 1819, Plate 19) (Image: University of Reading, Special Collections).

Nevertheless, it is much changed in two hundred years.  It used to have branches of coral hanging from the upper stones, seaweed mixed in with the ferns, and was decorated with shells and crystals.  We have this contemporary description of “the abode of Genii and Fairies” thanks to a book about the park written by Barbara Hofland, illustrated by her husband Thomas: you can read it in MERL Special Collections.  The Grotto has lost all bar its huge sarsens, and stands forlornly overlooking not a stream-head and fountains leading to the lake but a rather marshy hollow you would do well not to get too close to.

Part of Mrs Marsland’s fernery, built by her gardener Mr Lees using sarsens from the Marquis of Blandford’s stone row (photo, Katy Whitaker).

Walk a few metres to the south, and you will encounter another arrangement of large sarsens.  This peculiar garden feature, like a stone circle, has a more complex story.  The Duke had used these sarsens to build a stone row, each half of the row either side of the gate to The Wood.  The Duke was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, after all, and sarsens are so appropriate for ‘archaeological’ monuments.  This piece of modern prehistory, described somewhat unrealistically as “a miniature Stonehenge” by The Gardener’s Chronicle correspondent, was one of many eye-catching features in the grounds. In 1878, however, when the estate had been broken up into separate properties, the Honourable Mrs Marsland’s gardener Mr Lees took these boulders in hand.

The entrance to The Wood, marked by a stone row of sarsens looking like the entrance façade of West Kennet neolithic long barrow (Robertson, 1846, title page) (Image: University of Reading, Special Collections).

After the Duke went bankrupt in 1819 the estate changed hands until, in the 1860s, it was divided into six plots.  One plot was most of The Woods, and in it was built a large house called The Wilderness, rented by Mrs Marsland.  Mr Lees decided to use the derelict stone row – reputedly 104 stones – to build a fernery.  At no small effort, the sarsens were uprooted and re-planted close to The Grotto.  Not only has the Duke’s grand house gone, demolished in 1840, but also The Wilderness, pulled down before 1959.  Only the indurate, obstinate, sarsens remain.

And amazingly, I can show you where the sarsens came from.

There is an eye-witness account of the stones being taken from their original location in Wiltshire and being brought to White Knights.  So now we return to those tantalising references that I had stumbled across in the library.  Sir Richard Colt Hoare, an antiquarian who wrote a two-volume history of the antiquities of Wiltshire, actually witnessed the sarsens being loaded onto wagons to be taken away for the Duke’s pleasure at White Knights.  Colt Hoare was visiting the prehistoric monument “Devil’s Den”, which stands in a long dry valley called Clatford Bottom about 3 miles to the east of Avebury.  From there, Colt Hoare rode up the valley towards the higher ground where many thousands of sarsen stones lay scattered about on the surface.

Part of the Valley of Stones, at the northern end of Clatford Bottom, Wiltshire (photo, Katy Whitaker).

Here he saw three wagons loaded up with sarsens destined for White Knights, and, fortunately for us, decided to mention this in a footnote in his magnum opus.  Given how many stones there are on campus, and how heavy these dense, cumbersome, boulders are, many more wagon-loads must have been shifted.  But it was a long way and a hard road in those days of horse-power.  There is a hint, however, about how the Duke got the precious cargo from the wilds of Wiltshire to the sophisticated wildness of his pleasure gardens.  In 1901 Professor T. Rupert Jones FGS reported a story told to him by Sir Walter Money FSA: that a row of sarsens in The Wilderness at White Knights had been supplied from Hungerford and Newbury by the Kennet River Navigation “in early times”.

Sarsens can be found around Hungerford and Newbury, but it is more likely that Money’s tale is about the Clatford sarsens, being shipped along the Kennet and Avon Canal that passed from Wiltshire through these towns on the way to Reading.  From 1810, the canal made it possible to ship goods from Bristol in the west to London in the east, by linking the older Avon Navigation to the Kennet Navigation and into the River Thames.  This was safer than the sea journey via the Bristol Channel, through the English Channel, and up the River Thames to London.  The Duke could have arranged for stones to be carted from his Wiltshire estates down to a wharf, perhaps Honeystreet (from whence sarsens were shipped in the early twentieth-century for repairs at Windsor Castle), loaded onto barges, and floated all the way to Reading.

The fairies and woodland spirits have not entirely deserted The Grotto.  A few ferns are still watched over by their sentinel sarsens.  I hope that the Whiteknights stones remember their origin, and their journey.  In the meantime, we have a little bit of Wiltshire in Reading by which to remember the profligate Duke and his pleasure gardens.

Katy Whitaker

March 2017

 

‘A.D.’. 1878. The Wilderness, near Reading. The Gardners’ Chronicle, 28 December 1878.

COLT HOARE, R. 1819. The Ancient History of Wiltshire., London, Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones.

FREE, D. W. 1948. Sarsen stones and their origin. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 52, 338-344.

HOFLAND, B. 1819. A descriptive account of the mansion and gardens of White-Knights, a seat of His Grace the Duke of Marlborough., London, Printed for His Grace the Duke of Marlborough, by W. Wilson.

OSBORNE WHITE, H. J. 1907. The Geology of the Country around Hungerford and Newbury. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.

ROBERTSON, J. G. 1846. The Botanic Gardens and WIlderness of Whiteknights. A Day At White Knights. Reading: Berkshire Directory Office.

RUPERT JONES, T. 1901. History of the Sarsens. The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Archaeological Journal, 7, 54-59.

SOAMES, M. 1987. The Profligate Duke. George Spencer-Churchill, fifth Duke of Marlborough, and his Duchess, London, Collins.

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Congratulations to Aroa Garcia-Suarez (PhD student in Archaeology) and Izabela Stacewicz (PhD student in GES), who have made successful applications to the first annual Rob Potter Memorial Overseas Travel Award.  Both Aroa and Izabela have each been awarded £500 towards overseas fieldwork in 2014/2015.

Izabela Stacewicz

Izabela Stacewicz

“I am delighted to have received the Rob Potter Memorial Travel Award for Overseas Fieldwork, and I am most grateful to the Committee for supporting my work.  My PhD project explores the politics and effectiveness of Social Impact Assessment in addressing land and labour rights in the context of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.  The Award will contribute to fieldwork in Malaysia and Indonesia in Spring 2015, during which I will conduct research with palm oil plantation workers, and communities affected by palm oil production.”

Izabela Stacewicz

“This award represents a great aid to carry out fieldwork related to my doctoral project and will be used to cover travel costs to and from Turkey in order to finalise the excavation and sampling of an archaeologically significant Neolithic building at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük.”

Aroa Garcia-Suarez

This is the first year of this award made in honour of the former Head of School, Professor Emeritus Rob Potter (1950 – 2014).  For more information about Rob’s academic achievements, and details on the application process for the Overseas Travel Award, please visit the webpage.

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kirstenFrom November 21st -25th 2014 a small team from the University of Reading Archaeology Department took advantage of a low tide to investigate Mesolithic sites in the intertidal zone at Goldcliff, South Wales where many archaeological discoveries have been made over the last 24 years. We found human, bird and deer footprints, Mesolithic flints and charred hazel nuts. The fieldwork was in conjunction with a team from the BBC Horizon Science Series for a programme on the Mesolithic which will be screened in early 2015.

This was the start of a 3 year PhD project by Kirsten Barr who will be looking at Mesolithic, human, animal and bird footprints in the Severn Estuary and elsewhere in order to develop new techniques for the rapid and accurate recording and interpretation of this footprint evidence which is increasingly being found particularly in coastal locations.

Kirsten graduated with a First Class degree in Archaeology from the University of Reading. She started off with a mainly arts focus but discovered an aptitude for science during her kirsten2undergraduate degree. After this she did a MSc in Forensic Archaeology at University College, London and her current PhD project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Fieldwork with the BBC team provided an early opportunity in the second month of her project to get information about the project out to the public.

Severn Estuary Prehistoric research is led by Professor Martin Bell, who has published 3 monographs on the subject in the last 14 years. The most recent is The Bronze Age in the Severn Estuary published by the Council for British Archaeology in 2013. This monograph includes contributions by several Reading University students including Kirsten who did her undergraduate dissertation on the footprints of animals in Bronze Age sites.

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James Billson, currently studying for his MA in the Archaeology of Medieval Europe, spent time this summer working at the excavations at Montfort. Read on for his report!

“During 2014 I was a part of the excavations conducted at the Teutonic castle of Montfort, in Northern Galilee. Montfort is a Mountain spur castle which takes advantage of the local topography; it is flanked by Nahal Kziv to the north and Khalet Khzam to the south.

This castle was occupied from roughly 1220 to 1271; it saw two Muslim sieges, one in 1266 which it survived, and another in 1271, falling to Baybars. Chronical tell us that this spur castle served as the headquarters for the order in the holy land, occasionally being used as the residence of the Hochmeister (the grand master of the order).

Montfort1

Figure 1: Sole standing wall of the ‘hall’. Note the staircase leading to the doorway, formerly a window which is thought to have been converted by the knights for this use. Also note the central pillar, as an indicator of the scale of this room, for more of an indicator see figure 2.

Previous excavations were conducted at this site in 1877 by Horatio H. Kitchener and in 1926 by Bashford Dean (the curator for the arms and armour department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), he was hoping to recover a suit of armour. In 1994 limited excavations were conducted in the hall prior to restoration work commencing; the castle is in a state of ruin, much as it was left by Baybars following its fall.

Montfort2

Figure 2. (See figure 1 description)

Excavation work commenced in 2011 following five years of surveying. I was fortunate enough to get a place on this excavation, which for the 2014 season focused on the area immediately behind the ‘gatehouse’ to the castle, on the slopes of the mountain. This area was thought to have been the stables for the garrisons mounts, and certainly finds including a horseshoe suggest this.

I was a part of this excavation for two weeks during which time I was able to see the transformation of the site from tree stumps and slumping, to the revealing of the paved medieval floor surface, and it being reduced to its original high.

Montfort3

Figure 3: Half removed level, when I arrived.

Montfort4

Figure 4: Nearly fully reduced level, with ashlar blocks, parts of the collapsed archways. (Note: not in original positions, moved during excavations for ease of access).

This was a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my experience within field archaeology; not only that but to increase the variety of experience that I possess, and increasing my adaptability. It is rare to find a site in England where you need to trek across low mountains in high heat! I was also able to apply lessons taught during my time at the Silchester field school with regards to taking levels!

I would like to thank the SAGES bursary for providing me with a bursary for this trip which in many ways made it possible for me to go. I would also like to thank Dr Alexs Pluskowski for putting me in touch with Dr Adrian Boas who ran the excavation (a thank you to him as well!) and finally to all those who took part in the excavation alongside me – without them I doubt it would have been so much fun!”

– James Billson

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TODAY at 12 noon (Monday 13 January) is the last day for registering to attend the Open Day for the new AHRC PhD studentships and Doctoral Training Programme on 22 January!!!
Click here to register!

Attendance at this Open Day will be of great benefit in applying for the studentships (deadline for submission of written applications is 21 February).

Contact Dr Wendy Matthews, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies in Archaeology for more info. (w.matthews@reading.ac.uk)

Details of the application processes are outlined below:

 

AHRC Doctoral Training Programme

University of Reading in the South West and Wales Consortium

  • 50 Fully-funded PhD studentships for entry in October 2014 across the Consortium (UK Fees and maintenance £13,726; EU fees only)
  • Supervision at Reading and within network of 8 Universities (Aberystwyth, Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Reading and Southampton)
  • Placements and supervision with external Partner Organisations including the National Trust, English Heritage, BBC, Getty Research Institute LA, Universities in Germany, Japan, USA, China
  • Professional Arts and Humanities Researcher training, including ‘Public Humanities’
  • Research Theme and Cluster meetings and conference each year
  • Funds for attendance at meetings and sharing of resources across the consortium

 Action

  • Register your Expression of interest and to attend the Open Day by 13 January 2014 12 noon
  • Attend the Open Day on 22 January in Arnolfi Gallery, Bristol
  • Contact the Subject leader by 24 January (with 500 word proposal and CV) and apply for a place at the university
  • Prepare and submit your application by 21 February 2014 (Form available from SWWC DTP)

–      1500 word proposal

–      500 word personal statement

  • Interviews are 17-28 March
  • Awards will be announced on 17 April
  • Acceptance must be made by 1 May 2014
Rosie Weetch

Rosie Weetch

 

The British MuseumTwo of our current PhD students have been appointed to prestigious positions at the British Museum.

Rosie Weetch is just about to complete her PhD on Late Saxon brooches (supervised by Dr Gabor Thomas & Hella Eckardt) and has been working as a project curator at the British Museum since 2012, helping to design the new early medieval gallery and in particular researching and displaying the famous Sutton Hoo treasure.

Helen McGauran will submit her thesis on the circulation of Bronze Age soft-stone artefacts in Bahrain and Cyprus (supervised by Dr Wendy Matthews & Stuart Black) this June, before starting as Project Curator on the Zayed National Museum Project.

Helen McGauran

Helen McGauran

Her role is to carry out targeted research into topics and key sites to support the Interpretation team in presenting information on the archaeology of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates from early prehistory up until the end of the pre-Islamic period, within the new Museum in Abu Dhabi. She will also be involved in some aspects of artefact and other object selection.

Read about postgraduate research in Archaeology

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