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Mat Dalton

Mat Dalton

PhD Student

Ancient Egypt




Household Archaeology

Aerial Archaeology


Subject groups/Research projects

Charles McBurney Laboratory:

Research Interests

My PhD work in the McBurney Laboratory focuses on the New Kingdom Egyptian site of Amara West, a colonial administrative centre in Upper Nubia that was occupied for c. 200 years between c.1300-1070 BC. Using sediment thin section micromorphology, I am aiming to identify human and environmental agencies embedded within the complex sequences of both built and informally built-up sedimentary use surfaces within several houses and an adjacent street context within the town.

I am attempting to contextualise built floors in terms of both their technological aspects and as meaningful expressions of architectural material culture. By examining patterns of similarity or variability in floor construction methods, composition, tactility, cycles of renovation and location within houses, both within and between wider architectural ‘phases’, I hope to be able to demonstrate wider and finer-scale continuities or changes in a buildings’ life histories - perhaps even to the level of identifying the agencies of individual builders/inhabitants over time through choices made in the course of floor construction and renovation.

I also intend to use micromorphology to interrogate a long-lived series of finely laminated informal use surfaces and fill deposits in an adjacent street, which may preserve a detailed proxy of local environmental change. This theme has recently been evinced at a landscape scale through geoarchaeological work in the nearby Nile paleaochannel (Spencer et al. 2012), and it seems highly likely that the drying of this channel and associated cyclical influxes of large volumes of aeolian sand were at least partially responsible for the town’s abandonment. I aim to define the temporal dimensions of these events within the town, in order to build a detailed timeline of how existing lifeways within the town were impacted and may have eventually become untenable.

Spencer, N., M. Macklin & Jamie Woodward. 2012. Re-assessing the abandonment of Amara West: the impact of a changing Nile? Sudan and Nubia 16: 37-43.

Research Supervision

Supervised by:

Prof. Charles French


Dr Neal Spencer

Dr Kate Spence