My interests are in Later Prehistory with an emphasis on the archaeology of Britain and Ireland, ground stone tools and experimental archaeology, whilst I also maintain an interest in the archaeology of Oceania and New Zealand.
Lithic research is my primary concern and revolves around raw materials and quarries, working properties, stone-working skills, experiments and technology. I have studied the contextual framework for stone implements from a holistic, phenomenological perspective derived from experiments with materials.
Technological analyses and replica studies introduced me to concepts of symmetry in complex ground stone tools, leading me to successfully reverse-engineer the most elaborate stone artefacts including Scottish carved stone balls and Maesmore type maceheads.
Scottish carved stone balls have been a recurring theme I frequently revisit by virtue of their technology, materials and form. Although they have previously been attributed to the Bronze Age I have successfully produced replicas without recourse to metal tools, indicating they may represent a wholly Neolithic phenomenon. With profound implications for the history of mathematics, I have demonstrated that prehistoric people in the British Isles were numerate and creating radially-projected dual polyhedra some 1500 years before Plato described the five regular polyhedra in Timaeus.
Examining the interconnectedness of materials, artefacts and lithic production systems from an experimental perspective has been instrumental in my developing a cogent synthesis of the Neolithic techno-complex. A problem-solving approach has prompted my developing a range of new methodologies for ground stone tool analysis which form the backbone of my lithic research. I have worked on New Zealand collections and maintain an interest in the archaeology of Oceania, particularly with reference to ground stone tools.
My experimental archaeology is by no means limited to lithics – I also conduct experiments with bronze and produce replica Bronze Age artefacts for a number of museums using prehistoric bowl-type furnaces.
More recently I have been concerned with theoretical aspects of social complexity at the time of Stonehenge, particularly aspects of religious symbolism and concepts of transformation.
Currently I am working on the Stone Axe Studies IV project under the auspices of the Implement Petrology Group.