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Research interests:

Soil and landscape history, geoarchaeology, geology, soil science, metamorphic rock processes, erosion, Iron Age fuel and water resources, burning and melting of natural materials, environmental chemistry, developing new analytical methods for environmental analysis, palaeoclimatology, stratigraphy, past societies and the effects that climate change had on their lives and land use, algae biofuel production, contaminated land and remediation, GIS.

Career history:

BSc (Hons) Earth Science (Glas), 2014
MLitt (distinction) Material Culture and Artefact Studies (Glas), 2015
PhD Environmental Science "Hillfort Vitrification in the Iron Age and Early Historic Period" (Stir), in progress

As part of my Masters I completed a 10 week placement at SUERC researching stable isotopes. I also undertook a research dissertation analysing “Carbon provenance on pottery decoration by two methods: Tripillye mega-sites, Ukraine.”

Between my degree and my masters I gained experience in characterising lipids on pottery, where I worked on prehistoric pottery from the Cide Archaeological Project, Turkey, and extracted the organics on the pottery with increasing polar solvents to separate the organic residue into five different phases and running these lipid extracts on GC-FID and GCMS to find chemical fingerprints of what foodstuffs were in the pottery when it was in use. I presented the data generated at the British Organic Geochemical Society conference. This was funded by a grant from the Mediterranean Archaeological Trust.

My 4th year laboratory project involved growing algal cultures under varying controlled conditions, with differing phosphate concentrations, to determine the growth characteristics through haemocytometry and spectrophotometry at different time points. The organic fractions were then extracted and the alkenone hydrocarbons present quantified using GC-FID. From these results I was able to determine the optimum algae growth conditions to produce biofuel.

During my Junior Honours year university summer vacation, I undertook a 21-day, 9 km squared independent mapping project in Girvan that has been written up as a part of my honours dissertation.

During summer 2013 I was a Prize GES intern researching the topic ‘Detecting marine dinoflagellates in geologic deposits in the absence of traditional fossils’ where I extracted lipids from a Jurassic rock and analysed them to determine if a fingerprint could be established to determine a temperature proxy for the time the rock formed.

Prior to starting university, I was an analytical chemistry technician with over 12 years of regulated laboratory experience. I have worked in several fields including forensic drug and substance misuse analysis, pharmaceutical analysis and environmental and contaminated land analysis. I have extensive experience in many analytical techniques and wet bench chemistry procedures including: HPLC, GC-FID, GC-MS, ICP, Particle Size, NIR, IR, UV-Vis spectrometry, TLC, organic and inorganic extraction techniques, Karl Fischer, ELISA, Lowry protein assay, radioimmunoassay, method development, final report writing, clean room environment working, pharmacopoeia (BP,EP and USP) testing, method validations and method transfers.

Active research projects:

Dun Deardail Iron Age vitrified hillfort: A three year interdisciplinary project examining the vitrification and social aspects on Dun Deardail Iron Age vitrified hillfort in Glen Nevis, Scotland.
Stirling Castle: As the paths around Stirling Castle are being replaced and repaired this provides an excellent opportunity to analyse the rock and soil formations from previous occupations of Castle Rock.

Recent publications:

A short documentary (13 minutes) highlighting the excavation and history of the Dun Deardail Iron Age hillfort produced for Nevis Landscape Partnership: