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SEAHA alumnus Scott Orr appointed as Lecturer at UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

SEAHA Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is pleased to announce that SEAHA alumnus Dr Scott Orr has been appointed as  Lecturer in Heritage Data Science at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage at UCL.

Scott completed his thesis on Methodologies for evaluating exposure and response of stone masonry to wind-driven rain within SEAHA CDT at the University of Oxford in late 2018. Since finishing his doctorate, he has been a College Lecturer for St Catherine’s College, Oxford in Physical Geography. Alongside this, he has been working within the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment on collaborative research and dissemination projects with Historic England (HE) and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The collaboration with HE and HES will produce open access guidance for building professionals that is due to be published within the next year.

In his role with the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Scott will be the Assistant Course Director on the new MSc programme in Data Science for Cultural Heritage. This new cross-disciplinary programme will create expert data scientists taught through the exciting lens of cultural heritage. In addition to this Scott will coordinate laboratory facilities (including our very own Mobile Heritage Lab), and develop a data-intensive research portfolio within the Institute.

We wish Scott every success in his new role at UCL.

SEAHA student publishes research on multiple identities from burial evidence in the Beaker period

SEAHA student Richard Higham (UCL/University of Brighton) has recently published two papers on his research investigating variation in grave assemblages and the construction of social identity during the Beaker period (2450BC- 1650BC). Working alongside his supervisor Dr Chris Carey (University of Brighton), Richard analysed collections and archives of Beaker burials from Devizes museum, Keiller museum, Chichester museum and the Ashmolean museum, in order to identify variation in burial practice during the Beaker period.

The research is part of a wider analysis of variation into Beaker period funerary practices and began with reanalysing the grave goods from the Durrington Sarsen Burial (see image). The grave goods of this burial indicates a burial date of 2250-1950BC, a time when Beaker burials dominate the archaeological record. The location of this curious burial, which had been excavated in 1809, was lost to archaeology.   However, by investigating past maps and letters, the probable location of this burial was identified, just outside the bank of the Durrington walls henge. The absence of the Beaker pottery vessel is interpreted as significant, given that the burial is located within the Stonehenge monumental landscape, which contains numerous Beaker burials containing a range of prestige grave goods.

This research lead to a reconsideration of the archaeological narrative of the Beaker period, which has been dominated by the study of Beaker pottery and the ‘Beaker people’. Examples were found of Beaker period burials that excluded Beaker pottery from the grave assemblage.  This reasearch considered what these burials represented in terms of social identity and whether they can be interpreted as Beaker burials or represent other identities co-existing alongside Beaker societies. The publication aims to highlight the variation within the burial practices of the Beaker period and promote discussion of multiple identities during this dynamic period of prehistory.

Read the two papers below:

Higham, R., & Carey, C. (2019). The Durrington Walls Sarsen Burial relocated and reconsidered. Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, 112, 74-84.

Chris Carey & Richard Higham (2019) Multiple identities in the Beaker period: interpreting inhumations out of the Beaker spotlight in southern England, Archaeological Journal


Richard Higham is a SEAHA student in his MRes year currently based at the Institute of Sustainable Heritage at the University College London and will go on to study his PhD at School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton. Supported by Historic England and Trent and Peak Archaeology, his present research is ‘Evaluating evaluation trenching in archaeological projects’.

Header image: The original engraving of the finds from the Sarsen Burial published in Ancient Wiltshire (1812), drawn by Phillip Crocker, with annotation. These finds are now on display in Devizes Museum.

SEAHA Students Win Prestigious Journalism Award

Four students from SEAHA have won the Dr Katharine Giles science blog award at the 2019 Association of British Science Writers’ (ABSW) awards ceremony, held at London’s Science Museum last week, for the their work as part of UCL Culture’s Researchers in Museums team.

Alexandra Bridarolli, Cerys Jones, Mark Kearney and Anna Pokorska all work as part of an interdisciplinary team of 15 postgraduate researchers from across departments at University College London. The researchers work within the three UCL Museums (Grant Museum of Zoology, Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and UCL Art Museum) where they engage with the public about their PhD research and the museum’s collection. As part of this work, and to reach as many people as they can, the researchers also run a blog where they further explore the collection and its intersections with their own topics.

The blog takes many forms, with each student taking their own unique style to tell stories to the general public. The ABSW judges remarked on this style calling it “A fresh, fun and innovative approach from [an] academic team”. Over the past year SEAHA students have written about The Mystery of Iridescence in Glass (Anna Pokorska), 7 reasons Bes should be your favourite Egyptian god (Cerys Jones), The practice of consanguineous marriages in our modern societies (Alexandra Bridarolli) and When Plastics Saved Turtles (Mark Kearney).

The engager team was in very good company with Cancer Research UK and the British Psychological Society Research Digest also being finalists for the award. This is the first time that students have won the award.

The Engager program was established in 2012 to broaden public engagement with UCL research and collections, and to stimulate the students ideas around their own research topic. The blog has also established in 2012, with 2018 seeing over 90 thousand page views from 182 different countries.


Header image: Dorrie Giles presents Student Engagers Mark Kearney (SEAHA Student), Josie Mills, and team coordinator Arendse Lund the Dr Katharine Giles science blog award on behalf of the team at the ABSW ceremony (Credit: Trevor Aston Photography)