Gala Morris


Research title: Into the Wild: Archaeology, Rewilding, and the Historic Environment

Research Summary

My PhD is an environmental humanities project that explores the entangled relationships between rewilding, wilderness, and the historic environment. Rewilding aims to restore landscapes into self-sustaining ecosystems, towards a pristine ‘wilderness’. This conceptual framework first developed from the historical-cultural context of industrialisation/colonialism but is archaeologically problematic. Scottish landscapes have been shaped by human and animal action over millennia, and yet are increasingly being rewilded. Using palaeoecological theory and techniques, I am exploring the tensions posed by rewilding historic landscapes for archaeology, policymakers, stakeholders, and the public, and developing a testable palaeo/aDNA based framework for the integration of cultural heritage and archaeological expertise into rewilding projects in the historic environment. The goal of this project is to utilise archaeological expertise to contribute to the rebuilding of sustainable biodiversity in the UK – and potentially globally – in the face of climate change.


‘Depth and Dimension: Exploring the Problems and Potential of Photogrammetric Models for Ancient Coins’. Morris, G., Emmitt, J. J., and Armstrong, J. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 5(1): 112. DOI: 10.5334/jcaa.99


External supervisors

Ingrid Mainland (UHI)


2023-2027 – Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, Doctoral Training Partnership

2022 – He Waka Eke Noa: Faculty Research Team Excellence Award, Awarded to the War in Context Hub (Abbenhuis, M., Armstrong, J., Morris, G., Emmitt, J. J., Gregory, T.), Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland

2019-2020 – University of Auckland Research Masters Scholarship (Value: $21,652 NZD)

2020 – Faculty of Arts Award for Research Excellence (University of Auckland)

2018 – First In Course Award (Top Grade)

  • ANCHIST 741 (Latin Language Higher)
  • ANCHIST 750 (Sources and Approaches for the Ancient World)          

2017 – Grace Kay Award for Academic Excellence: $2,000 NZD Grant

2017 – First in Course Award (Top Grade)  

  • LATIN 101 (Introduction to Latin)
  • BIOSCI 335 (Ecological Physiology)
  • ANTHRO 317 (Field Methods in Archaeology)

2016 – Grace Kay Award for Academic Excellence: $2,000 NZD Grant


Morris, G., Emmitt, J. J., and J. Armstrong, J. (2022) “3D Modelling of Ancient Coins: From the Lab to the Classroom”. Conference on Ancient Coinages, co-hosted by The Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand (RNSNZ) and the Classics Department of the University of Canterbury, 2-3 July 2022, Christchurch.

Morris, G., Emmitt, J. J., and Armstrong, J. (2021) “Digitising Minted Memories: Photogrammetry and 3D Modelling Methods for Ancient Coins”. CAA Australasia Online Conference 2021, 16-18 September.

Morris, G. “The Pork in the Road: Pigs, Prestige, and Urbanism in Archaic Central Italy”. Exchanging Ideas Conference, February 3rd, 2020, University of Auckland.

Morris, G. “The Reclamation of the Roman Forum: Reassessing the Archaeological Evidence”. Day of Papers, The University of Auckland, October 25th, 2018, University of Auckland.


University of Glasgow 

2024 – Archaeology 2B: Theory and Practice (2023-24), Graduate Teaching Assistant
2023 – Archaeology 2A: 20 Things (2023-24), Graduate Teaching Assistant


University of Auckland

2020 – Guest Lecturer for ANCHIST 254/354: Early Rome 
2020 – ANCHIST 110 (Dynasty, Democracy, Empire), Graduate Teaching Assistant
2019 – ANCHIST 110 (Dynasty, Democracy, Empire), Graduate Teaching Assistant



Additional Information


2020 – Master of Arts in Ancient History – First Class (A+)
University of Auckland, New Zealand 

Thesis Title: The Pork in the Road: Revisiting Animal Husbandry Trends in Central Italy, 900-100BCE 

Summary: This thesis (c. 40,000 words and externally examined) used statistical methods to reconsider the central Italian zooarchaeological scholarship on ancient animal husbandry preferences and ratios in the first millennium BCE Italy. After collating these data, I undertook statistical analyses, including linear regressions and tests for heteroscedasticity, to re-examine the dataset. By collating evidence from all archaeological reports that included zooarchaeological evidence of three key domestic species – pigs, cattle, and sheep – between 900 and 100 BCE, I called into question the prevailing archaeological narrative of how animal husbandry was undertaken in first millennium BCE Italy. This thesis was supervised by Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong (Classics and Ancient History) and Dr Rebecca Phillipps (Archaeology).

2018 – B.A.(Hons) in Ancient History – First Class 
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Summary: This research training Honours degree provided classes in Ancient History, Archaeology, and Latin. It included an Honours dissertation (c. 15,000 words), entitled Shaping the Forum: Investigating the Interpretative Frameworks on the Archaic Forum Romanum in Rome and supervised by Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong, which examined how interpretative frameworks can influence the questions and research objectives that archaeologists develop, using the Forum Romanum in Rome as a case study. The dissertation was awarded an A grade and my cumulative GPA was 8.2 (First Class). 

2017 – Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and Archaeology
University of Auckland, New Zealand

2017 – Bachelor of Arts in Ancient History and English
University of Auckland, New Zealand


Research Assistantships

2020 - 2023 ‘Blood and Money: The Military Industrial Complex in Archaic Central Italy’ project 
This collaborative project between Classics and Ancient History and Archaeology explored the development, manufacture, supply, and maintenance of military equipment in the ancient Mediterranean using archaic central Italy as a case study. Working with Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong (Classics and Ancient History) and Dr. Josh Emmitt and Mr. Tim Mackrell (Anthropology and the School of Social Sciences), I have examined the archaeological context of military equipment from ancient Italian burials. Two publications on this research are in progress. The project is supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Fund. 

2019-2022 – ‘Ancient Coin Digitisation’ Project 
In collaboration with Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong (Classics and Ancient History) and Dr. Joshua Emmitt (Anthropology), this project explored the methodological processes, challenges, and limitations of creating 3D digital models of ancient coins. I have independently experimented with different photogrammetry methods, which required photography, videography, and IT skills. The goal of this project was to evaluate whether digitised coins can be used as an effective pedagogical tool for teaching Archaeology and Ancient History in the classroom. 

2020-2021 – ‘Elite Networks and Mercenary Service in Early Italy’ Project

In this project, I undertook independent, self-directed research to assist Associate Professor Jeremy Armstrong in examining the nature of mercenary networks and relationships in the western Mediterranean, focusing particularly on ancient Italy as a case study. I collated a database of evidence on ancient networks and relationships from different research avenues, including ancient literary evidence (investigating and translating the original Latin), archaeological evidence from surveys and archaeological reports (often translating from Italian, German, and French), and using the Consortium for Latin Lexicography database to find relevant Latin inscriptions.