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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I find archaeology fascinating because it marries the past and the present. The lives of people in the past were as rich and varied as our own, and investigating those lives is a way of honouring them - of saying, across the generations, that those lives happened and that they mattered. At the same time, archaeology is about the present - about telling stories of the past which allow us to reflect on who we are today.


My PhD project looks at the burials of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland and Scotland and asks what they can tell us about societal understandings of identities. It is an attempt to understand the ways in which people experienced their lives in the past, but my selection of identity categories is very much about the present, too. In seeking conceptions of gender and age I am influenced by the concerns of modern society and attempting to create a picture of the past which can speak to contemporary debates.


Before coming to Cambridge I studied at University College Dublin (UCD), where I completed a BA and an MA, under the supervision of Prof Gabriel Cooney. I also did a lot of competitive debating with the L&H (Literary and Historical Society), which transformed my outlook on ideologies and argumentation.


Other academic interests

gender archaeology
archaeological theory
material culture
ethics in archaeology
social archaeology
European prehistory

Department: Archaeology
Supervisor: Prof Marie Louise Stig Sørensen
College: Jesus
AHRC Subject Area: Archaeology
Title of Thesis: Social identities and power in Early Bronze Age society: a comparative analysis of the construction and negotiation of age and gender ideologies in the burials of Ireland and Scotland