About the Author

I received my doctorate in anthropology from the University of Oxford in 2004. I am interested in the stories objects tell, and how the material world has shaped people’s lives, relationships and ideas.

My latest book, Severed (Granta, 2014) explores the dark and varied obsessions the “civilized West” has had with decapitated heads and skulls. The Sunday Times called it, ‘lively, original, important, astounding, well-written: first class in every way.’

My biography of Henry Wellcome, An Infinity of Things (OUP, 2009) was part-funded by a Wingate Scholarship. The book was shortlisted for the MJA awards. It was chosen as a Sunday Times Book of The Year, and as a New Scientist Best Book of 2009.

I am also co-author of a book, Knowing Things (OUP, 2007), about the history of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.