My research has always been interdisciplinary and draws on a wide range of disciplines that are ancillary to archaeology, including history, art history, gender studies, and those of the hard sciences that contribute to the analysis of materials and skeletal remains. As an anthropologically trained archaeologist working in prehistoric Europe, my research has bridged the divide between the social sciences and the humanities throughout my career.
Prehistoric archaeology in Europe is considered a humanities discipline most closely allied with history, whereas in the United States prehistoric archaeology is considered a social science. I have become comfortable negotiating the demands of both traditions, and as a result my publication record is more interdisciplinary than is typically the case for North American archaeologists.
When I arrived at UWM in 1996 I already had established three primary research foci:
- the social structure of pre-Roman Iron Age Europe based on the analysis of material culture remains;
- the construction and expression of gender configurations in the past, based mainly on mortuary data; and
- the history of archaeology as a discipline, especially its symbiotic relationship with the political systems that support archaeological research.
My publication output has oscillated between these three primary research topics, occasionally in combination, with articles or book chapters appearing in each research area in alternating cycles of one or two years.