My PhD in Archaeology, at Edinburgh University, examined the objects interpreted as clay drums, from the Trichterbecher culture (TRB - 3300-2700 BC). During this time, I constructed models of the different drum styles in order to investigate the techniques of attaching a drum-skin.
I have constructed working models of different wind instruments, and percussive objects from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age and I am particularly interested in the experiential side of playing the instruments. Indeed, I studied an MA in Museum Studies and have explored the sensory role of music in the presentation museum objects. I have a keen interest in the cognitive role of music in ritual and the construction of identity and culture.
Since it is recognised that the sound-making-devices of contemporary hunter-gatherers are largely constructed from perishable materials, part of my interest involves examining the different available organic resources, which may have been used for instrument construction. As is clear, my main research interest is music-archaeology although I am a proficient basket maker, having taught willow basket weaving to children and adults, and have produced fibre and cordage from different materials. I am also a keen potter, and have put my hand to silversmithing.
I have spoken at the International Study Group of Music Archaeology and had papers at the ICTM (International Council for Traditional Music -Archaeology). I have also demonstrated model instruments at the EXARC conference (2013), St Fagans (2015), and at the Ashmolean and British Museums.
Between 2008-2012, I was an Honorary Research Fellow at Bristol University, where I taught a series of Lifelong Learning Lectures. From 2013 to 2014, I was a Postdoctoral researcher at Durham University for the Songs of the Caves Project. I am affiliated with The Acoustic and Music in British Prehistory Network and I co-organised the Music sessions at the TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) conferences in 2010 and 2013.
Thinking “is always to some extent experimental in its method. It starts from practice and returns to practice”.
R. G. Collingwood, cited in V. Gordon Childe's Social Worlds of Knowledge. (1949)
Please listen to the podcast with Simon Wyatt and Lara Comis: