Research PG


Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen Department of Geography & Environment
School of Geosciences
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3UF


  • 2007-2011: MA Geography, University of Aberdeen
  • 2011-2012: MSc Environmental Science (Distinction) University of Aberdeen

Research Interests

  • Palaeoecology
  • Palynology
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Early Medieval Scotland

Current Research

The Ecology and Landscapes of Early Medieval Royal Centres

Despite the wealth of archaeological information currently available regarding the Pictish people, including their enigmatic symbol stones, very few studies have been undertaken to investigate the impact of the Picts on the environment. To redress this research gap, the aim of this study is to reconstruct the vegetation history of northern Pictland in the first millennium AD with a focus on former Pictish centres of power and their hinterlands. By placing these locations into an environmental context, we hope to examine how changing records of vegetation and land use correspond with the religious, social and political evolution and the eventual emergence of the kingdom of Alba in the tenth century AD. Of primary interest is the impact that royal and monastic centres such as Portmahomack, Burghead and Forteviot had on the landscape and how power was ultimately drawn from the land. This study will target key sites identified through historical references and the archaeological record to examine how the changing social, economic and political situation is reflected in the palaeoenvironmental record.

Records of pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, microscopic charcoal and peat geochemistry will be obtained from sediment cores collected from peat bogs and chronologies will be established using radiocarbon dating. This will enable the reconstruction of changes in vegetation and land use throughout the early medieval period and provide evidence for human activities such as woodland clearance, agriculture and metalworking. Such an approach is insightful and has been successfully applied in other contexts both independently of, and complementary to, archaeological investigations. The data generated by this project will provide a wider landscape context to answer questions arising from the archaeological record and will provide evidence for human-environment interactions in situations where more traditional forms of archaeological evidence are scarce.

Research Grants

Robert Grant Memorial Scholarship 2011

Quaternary Research Association New Research Workers' Award 2013


Teaching Responsibilities

Workgroup tutor:     GG1006 - Global Worlds, Global Challenges

                            GG1509 - Global Worlds, Local Challenges

Demonstrator:         AY 3507 - Human Palaeoecology

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Member of:     Quaternary Research Association

                    Association for Environmental Archaeology

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