Education:Mathew Holland school (9 GCSE's A-E), High pavement sixth form (failed A-levels twice), University of Leicester (Certificate and BA(Hons)), University of Southampton (MA and PhD)
Qualifications:9 GCSE's (2 A's, 6 C's, 2 E's), (failed A' Levels twice), Certificate, BA(Hons), MA, PhD
Work History:As mentioned I had a plethora of different jobs before turning to academia. I spent many years as a freelance History lecturer, visiting schools to deliver hands-on practical sessions with a range of historical props and artefacts. I combined this advising on several historical documentaries and working as a stunt man on a range of motion pictures and TV shows. Moving away from this I spent time working in music production before re-locating to undertake an apprenticeship in bladesmithing. littered throughout this were standard 'day jobs' working as a barman and postman amongst other things, I really couldn't decide what to do. Since re-discovering my love of learning I have been employed to teach at the Universities of Southampton and Nottingham, but also for the universities of York, Manchester, and UCL. I spent some time in commercial archaeology and have worked as a consultant to even more firms, including institutions such as the British Museum and Jersey Heritage amongst others.
Special Projects Officer
MP Futures Division of the Mineral Products Qualifications Council
Favourite thing to do in my job: facilitating others learning!
I combine lots of scientific and philosophical disciplines to study what it means to be human
I have recently returned to living in Nottinghamshire, where I was born and raised, with my wife, two kids, and dog, after having lived all over the place (from Southampton to the Isle of Skye). I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school and dabbled in an enormous number of jobs before turning to academia as a mature student; I have been a bladesmith, stunt man, music producer, actor, postman, the list goes on. However, running through everything I have done is a passion for heritage and learning; hence my eventual arrival as an academic archaeologist. My passion for both these things are my fundamental drivers, they are what makes me who I am and occupy most of my waking time.
To relax I enjoy Science Fiction (mainly seeing how the science affects the fiction), formula one (primarily due to its technical nature), and music (largely djent and prog).
I use archaeology to study human evolution
My primary research concerns the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens, and what it means to be human. Most of my work has been conducted in southern Africa where I believe our species first evolved. My focus is on using stone tools (examples below) to interpret the lives of our ancestors. I have excavated sites dating back over half a million years (possibly older), and am able to use the evidence to talk about not only the practical activities our ancestor undertook but also their psychology and societies.
I am equally fascinated by the history of science and how individuals and their societies drive interpretations of data.
I have worked for, and at, a large number of Universities and institutions around the UK and even further afield, lecturing archaeology at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Unfortunately, the academic sector is presently suffering some instability and I have been forced to seek employment away from my primary passions. Presently I am employed in the minerals processing and extractives sector (basically mining and quarrying), running a variety of projects but primarily aimed at increasing the public understanding of the industry and the huge number of STEM skills it requires. Whilst I am mainly office based I do get to travel around the country inducting people as Ambassadors for the industry and teaching them about how the skills they use every day relate to the national curriculum.
My Typical Day
there really isn't one
There really isn’t a typical day doing what I’m doing. I am presently working on a number of different projects that include coding a website, writing National Occupational Standards, auditing company assets, re-writing policies and procedures, recruiting volunteers, writing articles, organising meetings and negotiating with senior managers of multi-national companies, the list goes on!
When I clock off from my day job I am trying to write up my thesis for publication, which is proving harder than it sounds!! This involves a fair amount of new research, attempting to maintain my detailed knowledge of the subject.
What I'd do with the prize money
I didn’t know there was any prize money!? I am just here to try and help answer any questions people may have and enthuse them with science and learning! Think I should have perhaps read more about what I was signing up to 😀
If I were lucky enough to be awarded a prize I could think of numerous things I would like to do with it. I would like to donate some money to the Lithic Studies Society to encourage school in-reach concerning lithic analysis, or to the Minerals Matter project to further its work promoting the Minerals and Mining sector to the next generation, or perhaps even to help buy new transport for a travelling lecturer I know who goes into schools teaching about history and experimental archaeology.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
archaeologist, amateur polymath
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
my surrogate father who is an Historian, and my first lecturer at university, Dr Terry Hopkinson
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I was bullied a lot and got into trouble fighting back against the bullies
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Lecturer - i love researching and teaching
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
you cant beat a positive audience reaction when performing live
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
mental stability, a job in heritage research/teaching, more money
Tell us a joke.
About a month before my grandfather died, we covered his back with lard. After that he went downhill very quickly