Our people

Portrait of Jess Elleray
Jess Elleray
Community Archaeology Officer
Community Archaeology Team

As a member of the Community Archaeology team, Jessica works to deliver our public engagement initiatives and to help maximise the social value of our excavations. She works on a range of projects, from large scale research studies such as Archaeology Legacy, to local community excavations and school visits. 

Jessica has worked for Oxford Archaeology since 2020, and her engagement work is supported by field and post-excavation experience ranging from prehistoric landscapes to post-medieval cemetery sites.

Jess achieved her BA Hons in Fine Art and Creative Writing from Lancaster University in 2017, and an MSc in Collecting and Provenance from the University of Glasgow in 2020. She is also a member of the CIfA Early Careers Committee. 

Prior to working for Oxford Archaeology, Jess worked at the intersection of art/archaeological practice, producing creative projects that were research-led, socially engaged, and encouraged community ownership. 

Portrait of Adrienne Powell
Adrienne Powell
Environmental Team
Portrait of Denise Druce
Denise Druce
Project Officer
Environmental Team

Denise is one of a team of in-house environmental archaeologists who has worked at our Lancaster since 2003. Denise began her career in environmental archaeology as a palynologist but can now add the identification of charred plant remains, charcoal, waterlogged plant remains, and wood to her suite of specialist skills. She also contributes to geoarchaeological investigations and interpretation when required. Prior to joining Oxford Archaeology, Denise worked as an Environmental Archaeology Assistant for CADW (Welsh Historic Monuments) and for the Palaeoenvironmental Research Centre, Lampeter University (now University of St David’s). Denise’s academic achievements include obtaining a PhD from Bristol University in 2001, which focused on Mesolithic to Romano British environmental change of the Severn Estuary and being awarded a first-class degree in Environment and Archaeology at University of Wales, Lampeter, in 1996. Denise’s main area of interest is in early prehistoric environments and plant resource use. 

Hayley Foster
Environmental Team

Hayley joined Oxford Archaeology’s Cambridge office in 2017 as our Zooarchaeologist. Hayley graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (USA), an MA in Osteoarchaeology from University of Southampton and a PhD from the University of Exeter. Her PhD research involved studying butchery practices and dining habits from medieval castle faunal assemblages. Hayley has worked as a Zooarchaeologist since 2007 in Ireland, Turkey and the UK.

Portait of Ian Smith
Ian Smith
Project Officer
Environmental Team

Ian is a member of the Professional Zooarchaeology Group, and his current role and area of expertise is to assess, analyse, interpret, and report on vertebrate (mainly mammal and bird) bone assemblages. Ian was first involved in archaeology in 1985 and subsequently went on to gain a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Prehistory (1986-9) and a Masters (MSc) in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy (specialising in animal bones) from Sheffield University (1995-6). He was employed in Chester as an Environmental Archaeologist (again specialising in bones) for twelve years and has been a Project Officer at our Lancaster since 2013. He has also undertaken research on cave faunas of north-west England and has analysed and reported on animal bone assemblages from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Portrait of Julia Meen
Julia Meen
Environmental Team

Julia has worked within the Environmental Department at Oxford Archaeology since 2007, after completing a BSc in Archaeology at the University of Reading and an MA in Landscape Archaeology at Bristol University.

During her 10 years at Oxford Archaeology she has supervised the recovery of environmental material from a diverse range of sites. In particular, she oversaw the environmental aspects of the major infrastructure projects at St Brieuc, Brittany and at the Bexhill to Hastings Road Scheme in East Sussex. As an archaeobotanist, Julia now spends much of her time in the environmental laboratory at Oxford Archaeology’s Oxford office, analysing charred and waterlogged plant macrofossils and charcoal.

Portrait of Karen Barker
Karen Barker
Finds, Environmental and Archives Officer
Environmental Team

Karen Barker graduated from Cardiff University in 1989 with a BSc (Hons) in Archaeological Conservation. She has worked for various organisations as a digger and as site conservator on sites in Jordan, Sudan and Turkey. Karen was previously a conservator based in the north-east of England providing advice and conservation services to museums and other organisations before joining the Lancaster office in 2019 as Finds, Archives and Environmental Officer Her main area of interest is x-radiography, conservation and finds identification of metal artefacts. 

Maria Rabbani
Environmental Team

Maria started working as a Palynologist for Oxford Archaeology in 2023. She graduated from the University of Reading in 2015 with a BSc in Archaeology and in 2016 an MSc in Environmental Archaeology, and completed a PhD in Archaeology in 2023 focussing on human-environmental interactions in the Zagros region (present-day Iraq and Iran) during the Late Pleniglacial, Lateglacial and Holocene, using pollen, non-pollen palynomorph, micro-and macro-charcoal and geochemical analyses (ITRAX, magnetic susceptibility and organic and bulk carbonate determination).

Maria has experience in working on lake and wetland sediment and pollen from the UK, Italy, Iran and Iraq. Prior to working for Oxford Archaeology, Maria worked for Quaternary Scientific (Technical Support) and Border Archaeology (Environmental Science Assistant). Her previous role was a research assistant for the Faynan Heritage project looking at sustainable heritage and cultural tourism in Jordan.