Born and raised amongst the Coastal Redwoods and Live Oaks of California, Jonathan spent his childhood in and around Monterey Bay, surfing, cycling, playing youth soccer and baseball and exploring his environment. At 18, he moved across the country to attend Boston University.
At University, I was drawn to language, culture and history, but also human origins. I was interested in the existential questions of human origins, the big philosophical questions - like who, as a species, are we?
While his dislike of Boston’s cold winters saw him head back to California to continue his study, first at Cabrillo College and then UCLA, Jonathan’s interest in human origins and archaeology continued to grow.
Archaeology, as a discipline can tell you a lot about the human past, even if you don't have written records, photographs, or other documentation. We need archaeology to understand deep time and the human story.
Jonathan undertook his PhD in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. It was here that he combined archaeology with underwater field methods, which led to further studies of Neolithic and Mesolithic coastal sites. A new career opportunity beckoned, and in 2014 he moved to Adelaide to lecture at Flinders and continue his research.
I had never been to Australia but I knew about Flinders from its reputation. Maritime Archaeology at Flinders is elite. Internationally, in the archaeology community, people know about the maritime archaeology program at Flinders.
Australia’s maritime archaeology has been dominated by a European colonial narrative, but Jonathan’s fascination with deep time and appreciation of Indigenous archaeology has seen his project team significantly contribute to and expand our understanding of Australia’s past, and what may lie beneath the waves. This opens up an enormous new field of study in Australia.