I have a continuing fascination with the development of technology and in particular the transition from hand-held to hafted technology. My current research is based in Zambia and Ghana, and in both areas I'm looking at sites which can help document the precursors to hafted technology, the transition itself and the impact of this new technology on the lives of Stone Age communities. My book 'From Hand to Handle: the First Industrial Revolution' (Oxford 2013) makes the case that the transition involved much more than just a new way of thinking about tools. It was a holistic and creative process that used existing expertise in novel ways to solve problems common to small hunter-gatherer communities - and the consequences of the invention of hafting are very much with us in everything we make. Very basic questions of when, where, how and why this transition took place remain to be answered and my research is just beginning to grapple with these issues through the 'Deep Roots Project" (see blog post link) and its international team of researchers (funded by the UK's Arts & Humanities Research Council).
Africa is the focus for me and in particular Zambia where I have been working since 1993. .
I have two PhD students: Chris Scott who is looking at possible evidence of hafting in the Acheulean and Dylan Jones who is examining the function of Lower Palaeolithic tools with the support of Dr Veerle Rots (TraceoLab, University of Liege, Belgium). I am aslo working with Dr Kirsty Penkman at York University (Analytical and Environmental Geochemistry) and her PhD student Chloe Bartlet in developing new dating tools for archaeological research. Please see our postgraduate profile pages for contact details.