brought up and educated in Havant, Hampshire, right on the south coast of England.
Because I was fortunate in having the opportunity at Havant Grammar School to study
Latin (in the days when it was seen as an essential subject), I in turn became
fascinated by archaeology. As a result, I went to the University of Bristol,
where I gained a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Archaeology, Ancient History
and Latin, and later on a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Surrey.
At Bristol, I discovered the lure of field archaeology, initially spending many
weeks of my vacation time on excavations in the city of Chichester in Sussex,
with its wealth of Roman and Medieval remains. After Bristol, my first job was
at Milton Keynes (where I met Roy), working as an assistant archaeologist on
excavations in advance of building a new town. Like most jobs in archaeology
then (and now), this was a temporary post and poorly paid, and Milton Keynes
was a pretty desolate place at that time. Roy and I next moved to south London,
where we worked together on the major excavation of a prehistoric settlement and
Roman villa site at Beddington near Croydon.
By now we were employed as field archaeologists by the Museum of London,
but changes were afoot. We therefore decided to take a huge risk and set
up as freelance archaeological consultants in Somerset, undertaking
archaeological assessments by documentary research and excavation, as well
as providing expert evidence on archaeological matters for public inquiries.
We also became involved in the editing, copy-editing and indexing of archaeology
and history books, as well as writing our own books. We already had two
books published and were working on a third when we moved to Somerset.
Although we took on all sorts of archaeological work and were constantly
busy doing up a derelict house, we kept on writing books at the same time,
because that aspect of our work gave the most satisfaction.
We also enjoyed taking groups on archaeological and historical tours within
the UK, and became increasingly interested in photography – and now run our
own picture library.
The New Millennium brought more changes, because we moved to Devon and began
to write more-or-less full-time. Some things haven’t altered, as we’re still
involved in doing up yet another decaying house, but this time with a much
larger garden of several acres. Our latest book to be published is
Jack Tar: Life in Nelson's Navy, published in paperback as
Jack Tar: The extraordinary lives of ordinary seamen in Nelson's navy.
Our next book to be published will be Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England.
We are both Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London (a society
that was founded in 1707 and received its Royal Charter from King George
II in 1751). We are also Members of the Institute for Archaeologists
and of the Society of Authors.