Last week I was invited to give one of the keynotes at the DigiDeath: Public archaeologies of digital mortality conference hosted by the students of the Archaeology department of the University of Chester. And as an aside for learning & teaching folks, the student-run conference forms part of their module assessment. Anyway, I was delighted to have been asked to contribute alongside a host of leading experts. I’d recently written a chapter with Dr Dave Errickson on the depiction of the dead in social media…Continue Reading “#DigiDeath: Should we be Socially Distancing from the Dead?”

As we all know by now, when it comes to academia, I’m pretty chill. I’m both easy and breezy, and I am hardly vengeful at all. So it takes a lot to make me sit down and type furiously at this keyboard brimming as I am with righteous indignation. Although the fact that an earlier post was exactly that does kinda undermine my argument… Anyway,  a couple of times recently, I’ve been presented with the same frustrating argument that I’ve heard countless times before. And…Continue Reading “That’s my secret, I’m always angry…”

While I was having a bit of a digital clear-out before the Christmas break, I stumbled across this piece which I had written back in 2017. To be honest, I’d totally forgotten that I had written this and I thought it’d be interesting to revisit it in light of the developments that have occurred during the three years that have followed, and in particular with regard to the sudden embrace of digital tools that the pandemic has forced upon the sector. It was written for…Continue Reading “Developing and disseminating digital tools – 3 years on…”

As you know, I am not one for willingly turning down an opportunity to talk in front of an audience, so I was delighted to be asked to give a talk as part of the series of guest lectures run by the Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science India. I was following some great talks over the past few months, including Jason Payne James talking about the role of the forensic physician and Patrick Randolph-Quinney discussing issues in taphonomy. My presentation focused on the effect of…Continue Reading “A meme-orial to my career…”

So, I’m a terrible person. Hilarious, but terrible. I was in the kitchen last week and saw the remnants of my youngest’s birthday cake (made by the uber-talented Becky Gowland) and I couldn’t help but notice how it looked a bit like a slice through bone. Obviously my next thought was to take a picture and put it on Twitter to see if I could trick everyone and thus make myself feel smarter than the masses. And then it took off a bit too much…Continue Reading “This is the way – Baby Yoda and the power of the Force (on decision-making)”

Now I’ve done a fair bit of media work in the past (Shock! Academic known for being a bit of a show-off has history of being a bit of a show-off…) but nothing to the intensity of this past week. Our paper reinterpreting the context of death for victims of Vesuvius at Herculaneum has finally come out in the journal Antiquity. To be honest, this paper should have been out a year ago but it’s been a bit of a battle to get it finished….Continue Reading “BREAKING NEWS: Only I could make a 2000 year old volcanic eruption all about me…”

I’m going to assume that you’d like nothing more than to hear about my Christmas holiday exploits. That nothing would fill you with more cheer and joy than knowing what I got up to in New Zealand while you were at home. Now I could go on about the whale watching, or the sunny beaches or the alpine thermal spas, but instead I’ll take a different tact. A bony one! space We actually started off our trip with a few days in Singapore, but there…Continue Reading “New Zealand – an osteological adventure!”

I don’t know if you realise this, but I’m a bit of a nerd. I hide it well, behind this cool exterior of senior management sophistication, but it’s there. Academically it focuses on studying people from their skeletons, and particularly their burned skeletons. I can remember exactly where my interest here began – in the library of the University of Bradford in the winter of 1998. I was in a dark corridor of shelving pouring over bound volumes of journals (now I’m really showing my…Continue Reading “Lets get ready to CRUMBEL!”

I quite like this time of the academic calendar. I’m usually not long back from leave and although I’m always disappointed that the School hasn’t ground to a halt in my absence, my mind starts to turn to the next semester’s teaching. As you can probably tell, I really enjoy my teaching. I can’t confirm that my students feel the same way, but I’m an AD so they can’t stop me! I pretty much only teach in Semester 1 now, but I have been doing…Continue Reading “Inspiration Station”

I presume that I’m not the only one who watched the start of episode 4 of this final season of Game of Thrones, and as the emotional memorial of the dead took place, and we said goodbye to some of our favourite heroes, turned to their partner and said solemnly, “Those are some efficient pyre constructions there”… As we know, I’m a big fan of GoT – I even use it in my teaching and take valuable leadership lessons from it (for example, I am…Continue Reading “A Song of Ice and Fire – but mainly fire…”