OBAH staff

OBAH was set up in 2008 to bring together a growing group of academics and researchers at Brookes with synergistic research interests. We have a broad spectrum of expertise but specialise in the archaeology and history of Arabia from the Palaeolithic to the recent pre-oil era, as well as geoarchaeology and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.

Professor Adrian Parker

Geoarchaeologist and Consultancy Director

Adrian’s research concerns the reconstruction of past environments, with a particular interest in climatic change in Arabia and its impact on human settlement. He has wider interests in Quaternary Science, Geoarchaeology, Geomorphology, Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoecology. He conducts consultancy work for the British Geological Survey, and has worked in the UK, the UAE, Oman and northern Africa.

Dr Mike Morley

Geoarchaeologist and Senior Consultant

Mike is a geoarchaeologist with 15 years experience in both consultancy and academic environments, with a background in prehistoric archaeology and specialist knowledge of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction through field- and laboratory-based analyses of sediments, sedimentary sequences, and relict landforms. Mike's primary research field is the analysis of cave and rockshelter sediments as records of Quaternary environmental change, but he has also worked extensively on alluvial, shallow marine and colluvial/palaeosol sequences. The key focus of his research is to identify and quantify human-environment interactions. Mike has worked on sites in Europe (UK, Spain, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro), North Africa (Libya), southern Africa (Lesotho), the Middle East (Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Oman) and southeast Asia (Vietnam, Malaysian Borneo).

Dr Helen Walkington

Lecturer and Sedimentologist

Helen is a Principal Lecturer in Geography. She has developed numerous university courses specialising in soils, sediments and heritage conservation in her teaching role at Oxford Brookes and previously at the University of Reading. She is also an educational consultant to the University of Oxford where she has developed and taught short-courses in soils and environmental conservation. Her current research focuses on the use of sedimentological techniques to understand landscape evolution and environmental change at archaeological sites. These include field description, sampling and laboratory analysis of archaeological soils and sediments, including soil micromorphology.

Dr Simon Underdown

Lecturer and Bioarchaeologist

Simon is an archaeologist turned biological anthropologist who specializes in the study of human bones and the patterns and processes of diseases in the past. His research interests include human evolutionary biology, palaeopathology and cave archaeology. He writes regularly for the Guardian and is a frequent commentator on scientific events in the UK media. Simon is a specialist in designing access to hard-to-reach sub-terrain or high-level archaeological sites, and the excavation and analysis of human material.

Dr Sam Smith

Lecturer and archaeologist

Sam is an archaeologist who specialises in the study of the Terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene archaeology of south west Asia, with a focus on the origin and development of sedentary, food producing societies in the region. Sam is an expert in the study of chipped stone tools and his work includes typological, technological and use wear analysis of stone tool assemblages from many regions and periods. Sam also works closely with geographers, hydrologists and meteorologists to develop multi disciplinary approaches to the study of human-climate interactions in semi arid regions. As an experienced field archaeologist Sam has worked on sites covering many periods, in many areas of the world including the UK, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Hannah Russ


Hannah is a Consultant and Research Fellow specialising in the identification and analysis of animal remains from archaeological sites. She has experience working in Europe and the Middle East, and has particular expertise in the study of fish remains and marine molluscs.