I am an archaeologist who has returned to the UK after an extraordinary 19 years of living and working in Italy and I am happily settling into London life.
I completed a PhD and was awarded a doctorate (University of Southampton) based on the results of the fieldwork I undertook for the British School at Rome’s Pompeii Project under the direction of Prof. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. My research involved the design and implementation of a system to record standing buildings. This then formed the basis for the chronological analysis of a block of houses (Insula 9, Region I) with a view to understanding the development of a group of non-elite houses through time.
And yes you may call me Dr Hay. I’m utterly fine with that. Really.
I am currently working as a freelance archaeologist and involved in a range of activities focussing on the ancient city of Pompeii. When I am not doing research for either of the books I have in the pipeline—one popular history book and one co-authored fiction book for children, both set in Pompeii—I can be found working as an historical consultant for television documentaries. I am sometimes thrust in front of the camera or a microphone for a podcast explaining some of the marvellous stories and discoveries from the city. I worked for a time helping the official Communications team of Pompeii with their posts on social media concentrating on revealing more about the history of excavations and putting some of the recent discoveries into context.
Being a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London is an enormous honour for which I am very grateful. I have also just been made a Fellow of the Institute of Classical Studies at the University of London and am so excited to be part of a like-minded community and able to discuss my research with them.
I was recently at the University of Cambridge as a Post-doctoral Research Associate on a Pompeii project ― The Bar of Amarantus and his Neighbours ― that focused on the excavations and building survey work we undertook in collaboration with The University of Reading in Pompeii. During this period I had the great fortune to collaborate with Caroline Bristow and her team at the Cambridge School Classics Project bringing the stories unearthed in our excavations into the classroom by creating a history course for children. The story of a bar in Pompeii and its owner, Sextus Pompeius Amarantus, is brought to life in an extraordinary narrative written by Caroline Lawrence and beautifully illustrated by Laura Jenkinson-Brown. All of this can be found here.
Prior to this, I worked at the University of Southampton for whom, in collaboration with the British School at Rome, I worked as a professional archaeologist conducting geophysical surveys. I have project managed over 100 geophysical surveys since 2003 and have had the privilege to work on a vast number of archaeological sites in Italy as well as further afield in Sudan, Libya, Turkey and Tunisia.
Many of my academic publications can be found on academia.edu
When I travel my camera is usually wedged firmly against my face so be prepared for illustrated ramblings from my various adventures – my so-called ‘odysseys’ (although they have yet to feature sea monsters and enchanting ladies with chicken legs).
I am happy to respond to requests to use my photographs for any publications and to date I know that my images have appeared in academic publications, on websites, in an exhibition catalogue, various popular archaeological magazines and three best-selling books ― Tom Holland’s ‘Dynasty’ (2015) and Charlotte Higgins’ ‘Red Thread: Of Labyrinths and Mazes’ (2018), and Llewelyn Morgan’s ‘Ovid. A Very Short Introduction’ (2020).
I am also happy to respond to requests for television and radio work relating to my specialist subject of Pompeii. My recent involvement with television programmes can be found here.
And of course you can follow me on Twitter for a more diverse and colourful account of my existence by clicking the ‘follow @pompei79‘ button in the right hand column of this page.
I am also on Instagram: pompei79