All my higher education has been part-time and this PhD is no exception. My academic journey started, I suppose, with my HNC in Business and Finance back in the 1990s. Prior to this, for various reasons, my educational achievements were very much below expectations. My saving grace was a two-week work experience placement with ICI (then the largest manufacturing organisation in the UK)’s agrochemicals division which led to permanent employment and a decade of working in its Human Resources Department (affectionately known as the Human Remains Department).
A change of personal circumstances, several relocations around the south of England and the birth of twins later, I had left the world of industry for the health sector and found archaeology in the form of a Certificate of Higher Education in Archaeology at the University of Reading. There followed years of juggling my day job with motherhood, dog ownership, volunteering in museums, going on digs, and first a part-time degree in Archaeology and Landscape (at the University of Surrey) followed by a part-time Masters in Field Archaeology (at the University of Sussex). By this time I was hooked and so I embarked on a PhD in the demography of Early Neolithic mortuary practice in south-east England (at the University of Winchester). This combines my two favourite aspects of archaeology: osteoarchaeology and prehistory. If I’d discovered archaeology earlier in life who knows where it may have taken me? As it is, I feel very fortunate that I’m now able to spend my (non-day job) time researching and writing about such an endlessly fascinating subject and being involved in some way in the archaeological world. This involvement has now been extended to an exciting, additional, grant-funded project, of which more to follow.
So, that’s where I’ve come from and the point of this blog is to share my journey from here on in. No matter how small an archaeological niche we find ourselves in, I believe it’s important to share what we do as widely as possible as it’s our collective past and the more we all understand it, the more we understand our present and our future. However, this O-level failure still needed the validation of her recent upgrade to finally feel able to do this! I found the process of preparing the upgrade document and being subjected to a viva voce extremely useful (if somewhat terrifying in the case of the latter). The feedback I received in advance, from my supervisor, and during, from my external assessor, has been invaluable at this stage, particularly in terms of getting the methodology right. So, here I am, half way through and onwards I go.
But that’s enough about me. My first blog post – coming soon – will be about the far more interesting (I hope) subject of my research.