People often ask me how I ended up in archaeology:
To understand that, you must know that in addition to my passion for history, I also have a deep love for science and mathematics.
And archaeology is the marriage of history and science.
It uses clues gathered through ground-penetrating radar, ceramic analysis, paleobotany, zooarchaeology, environmental analysis, physical and chemical dating methods, mathematical models, the list is endless, and pairs those with some good old-fashioned digging. Then these ‘facts’ are fit into an historical context to try and provide us a picture of the past. As a little girl I wanted to be a detective, and I got my wish.
So, though I started at the University of Guelph in the sciences, I ended up leaving with a degree in Art History/History (and no one was more surprised by this transition than me). From there I continued to the University of Toronto to do a Masters in Assyriology. Here, the culture, history and language of ancient Mesopotamia captured my imagination. And I began working with the Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia project as their archival assistant.
But still my love of science called. How to combine the two?
The answer was archaeology, and I completed my PhD in ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology at the University of Toronto. My doctoral dissertation is entitled “Late Assyrian Arms and Armour: Art versus Artifact”. Here I compare what the art of the ancient Assyrians tells us about their military history with what the analysis of the actual archaeological finds tells us. Both are needed to truly understand warfare in the ancient world.
Sites I have excavated at:
- Newark Castle, England
- Tell Jezreel, Israel
- Tell Tuneinir, Syria
Sites whose archaeological material I have worked with:
- Nimrud, modern Iraq
- Nineveh, modern Iraq
- Hasanlu, modern Iran
- Toprakkale and Karmir Blur, modern Turkey/Armenia/Iran
- Nuzi, modern Iraq
A small selection of archaeological sites throughout the world I have visited:
- Greece/Turkey: Athens, Olympia, Tiryns, Ephesus, Pergamum, Troy
- Israel: Megiddo, Masada, Jerusalem
- Egypt: Giza, Saqqara, Valley of the Kings, Luxor/Thebes
- Peru/Bolivia: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Trujillo (Huaca de la Luna/del Sol/Chan Chan), Nazca, Tiahuanaco
- China: the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Longmen Grottoes Luoyang
- Vietnam/Cambodia: My Son, Siam Riep (Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Preah Khan)
- Mexico: Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Izamal, Uxmal, Tulum
I have had the chance to use my archaeology experience mixed with my love of teaching in a variety of ways. I have given archaeology presentations in school classrooms, worked as the Program Officer for the Ontario Archaeological Society, run a joint archaeology and museology conference called “Unearthed: Working with Archaeological Materials in Study Collections and Museums”, and presented many public lectures. At the University of Toronto I have taught courses on the history and archaeology of the ancient Near East and for the University of Guelph I taught Classics.