Newcastle University Academic Track Fellowships NUAcT

Dr Louise Rayne

Dr Louise Rayne

Dr Louise Rayne

I’m researching the development of water management in oases in the Sahara and investigating how this could inform future sustainability. Oases are environments created as a result of long-term, human-environment interactions but are vulnerable to human adaptability to changes (environmental, social, political). Although traditional methods of irrigation have been seen as sustainable, archaeological evidence for this is needed. I’ll be following an interdisciplinary methodology using satellite imagery, archived data and fieldwork to map the traces of past water management features.

Before starting my NUAcT fellowship I worked for the Endangered Archaeology project at the University of Leicester (2015-2020) using satellite imagery to monitor archaeological sites in the Middle East and North Africa. While doing this work, I realised that the remains of ancient irrigation are fast being destroyed by modern agriculture. They urgently need recording before their potential for informing future resilience is lost. I developed my NUAcT fellowship in response to this challenge. The interdisciplinary focus of NUAcT and the Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub will allow me to explore water management systems comprehensively.

As a specialist in geospatial data, at Leicester and Durham I taught classes to undergraduate and postgraduate students in techniques of digital mapping and remote sensing. I taught these subjects as part of a series of training workshops (2017-2019) in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan for heritage professionals based in the Middle East and North Africa. In line with NUAcT’s emphasis on equality of opportunity I’m committed to supporting increased uptake of remote sensing technologies for archaeologists in the region, with a focus on using open-source data and software.