Emma is a PhD candidate on the European Research Council funded HARVEST project, investigating plant foods and foraging decisions in human evolution. Her background includes research and policy roles in the public, private and Higher Education sectors in the UK and Ireland, as well as specialist work within the UK museums sector. Her expertise includes archaeobotany, paleoecology, and agri-environmental policy and research.
Emma’s interests fall within the field of paleoecology and diet, specifically during the Plio-Pleistocene in South Africa. Her PhD project is entitled “Nutritional Variation in African Plants” and will investigate the effect of varying nutritional availability of the landscape on hominin foraging decisions.
She will focus particularly on plant availability and variability, biomass partitioning, and nutritional turnover in wild African plants and habitats. This data will be used to understand hominin foraging behaviours and habitat selection strategies. She is conducting her fieldwork over several wet and dry seasons in SANParks Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Emma obtained her MSc in Environmental Archaeology from University College London, specializing in archaeobotany. She has excavated on sites in Turkey, Crimea, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland, and currently runs a community archaeology programme in her home of County Tipperary Ireland, recording 18th century folk gravestones. She obtained her B.A.Hons. from Trinity College Dublin, reading Ancient History & Archaeology, and Russian.
Her most recent position was as Principle Chief Technician of Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, where she managed the laboratories of human evolutionary genetics, aDNA and osteology, and co-mananged the Duckworth Collection of human remains. Following her MSc, Emma was employed as an archaeobotanist on the AHRC funded ‘Subsistence and Sustainability in a Changing Sudan’ project at the British Museum.
Emma has worked on projects at the Museum of London, London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre (LAARC), archiving and digitizing their extensive collection of Roman bone hairpins.