When you were thinking about doing a PhD first of all when was it and where had you been, what had you been doing, what kind of age were you?
Okay well I went pretty much straight through: I did a degree, I did a Masters, I did a PhD and I didn't take any time out, in fact I went straight from school to doing a degree, so I didn't even have a gap year. In retrospect that might have been a mistake you know I think maybe I could have done with seeing a bit of life and the world and that sort of thing but still that's the way it happened and you know – hey, I don't think it's been very disadvantageous to me.
So I did a degree in archaeology and geography, it was a joint degree. I did my degree in Ireland actually, where joint degrees are much more common. And then I kind of didn't really know very much what I wanted to do but I liked maps, and I decided I liked maps so I went and did a Masters in it was called top graphic signs but it was basically digital mapping. And then I found I really missed archaeology so I thought 'well, I'd really like to go back to doing archaeology,' either working in archaeology but using some of the skills, some of the mapping the digital cartography kind of skills that I'd learnt, but using them in archaeology, because those two disciplines sit along side each other quite nicely. And I also thought 'well, you know, I'd quite like to do a PhD' and just very fortuitously there was a studentship available that happened to combine the period in archaeology that I was very interested in, and the need for digital mapping skills for using geographic information systems. Because I did my degree in Ireland but then I moved to Britain to do my masters and getting funding to do my PhD was going to be quite difficult because any of the normal funding channels wouldn't have funded me because I was not a UK resident formerly, although I was living here, but I didn't need the residency requirements. But this studentship that was being advertised at the time was separately funded, it was funded by Historic Scotland. And I was eligible for that so it was just real coincidence that it was actually something I was interested in, it combined my two sets of skills if you like and I was eligible for the funding, so I think I thought well this is too good an opportunity to miss you know, it seems to be just made for me. So I applied for that and got that and did the PhD.