Hello and welcome to my outpost on the web!
I am a bioarchaeologist and biological anthropologist, living and working in London.
I teach human osteology and related subjects during term time, although I spend as much time as I can away on projects in Peru, Egypt, Bolivia, Ghana, and South Africa, among others.
I also take tours around London, and enjoy teaching kids about history, art and archaeology, which I dress up with a Horrible Histories approach that sneaks in a lot of knowledge under the guise of revolting observation.
However, I live for fieldwork, and have been travelling about doing
archaeological digs on five continents since 1992.
I write about mummies, burials, bones, cultural heritage and anything else that seems relevant.
I am also a photographer and collect African and other non-western art.
Drop by and see me sometime!
Donations are urgently needed.
These monies will aid in saving the ancient
Egyptian site of KHD (Kafr Hassan Dawood)
We are deeply grateful for your generosity.
KHD is one of Egypt’s most important sites. It contains over a thousand burials dating to before, during and after Egypt’s unification by King Narmer in c. 3100 BC, and is ideally placed to understand human health, wealth and lifestyle at the very beginning of Egyptian history. The site is threatened by flooding, erosion and development, so please help us save what we can before it is too late!
KHD Project Summary 2019
As some of you may know, in August/September 2019 I was off in Egypt directing a very notable new project called KHD - code for Kafr Hassan Dawood - in the Delta area. The site was last examined exactly twenty years ago, and we are continuing the work started by our friend and colleague Geoffrey Tassie, who had a life-long obsession with KHD. Getting the project going was somewhat mind over matter, as our funding evaporated so we were left to fund the entire show with GoFundMe...and I really recommend you don't try doing that! But the project was awesome - a dozen of more of us with a large retinue of laborers out in the blazing sun, recovering a series of burials that go back to the very beginning of Egypt itself, over 5000 years ago. The village where these people presumably lived is a few hundred metres away and is yet to be excavated...so this cemetery lay up above the edge of the floodplain, probably between the village and the agricultural lands upon which they relied. You'd never know it to see it today - it's all undulating sand and scrubby plantation, but one you go down about four feet the sand suddenly gives way to floodplain and soil into which the burials are dug. The burials were flexed and contracted something like the pic shown here, some wearing jewelry made from carnelian, obsidian and agate, accompanied by pots (maybe containing a picnic?) and other grave goods. We found babies, teenagers and adults young and old, and members of both sexes, curled up as if asleep, their chins resting on their chests.
It truly was a magical experience.
The KHD project was founded by noted Egyptologist Dr Geoffrey Tassie, who spent thirty years in the field, becoming a curator of at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) shortly before his untimely passing in 2019. The project is run in his memory by co-founder Dr Lawrence Owens, under the auspices of the University of Winchester and the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO). Lawrence is a bioarchaeology research fellow at the University of Winchester and the University of South Africa (UNISA), and has worked on archaeological and forensic excavations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas since 1992. He is assisted by a group of academic specialists from the UK, Europe and the US, all of whom have volunteered their time free of charge to rescue KHD’s heritage. We have all the permissions and clearances, and a team of specialists, British volunteers and Egyptian workers standing by; all we need is the money to proceed, and this is where you come in.