Dr J. Edward Schofield

Dr J. Edward Schofield
BA, MSc, PhD, FSA Scot

Senior Lecturer

Dr J. Edward Schofield
Dr J. Edward Schofield

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273589
The University of Aberdeen G19 St Mary's Building, Department of Geography & Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK.


  • 2007-present: Lecturer in Geography, Department of Geography & Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen; 2015-present, Adjunct Lecturer in Archaeology within the same School
  • 2004-07: PDRF, Department of Geography & Environment, University of Aberdeen
  • 2002-04: PDRA, School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Kingston University
  • 2002: RA, Wetland Archaeology and Environments Research Centre (WAERC), University of Hull
  • 1996-2001: PhD Vegetation Succession in the Humber Wetlands
  • 1995-1996: MSc Environmental Analysis & Dynamics, University of Hull
  • 1991-1994: BA (Hons) Geography, University of Hull

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Course co-ordinator for GG1510 (Global Worlds, Local Challenges)
  • Library Representative for Geography & Environment
  • Member of the Teaching Committee for Geography & Environment 
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (FSA Scot).
  • Book review editor for the international journal Environmental Archaeology.
  • Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF): Science in Scottish Archaeology panel member 2010-12 (based at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh). Contribution to the Science Report on Pollen Analysis.

Research Overview

  • Reconstructing past environments (specialising in palynology)
  • Viking settlement across the North Atlantic islands, with an emphasis on the Norse colonisation of Greenland
  • Human-environment relationships through prehistory and into the late Medieval period
  • Vegetation history and plant succession in British wetlands
  • Biogeography

Current Research

I am currently pursuing interests that connect directly with the University of Aberdeen's strategic theme of The North. In this respect, my core research activities continue to focus upon the impacts of Norse settlement on the vegetation and landscapes of southwest Greenland. The colonisation (landnám) of Greenland by people of Scandinavian origin - the Norse, or 'Vikings' of popular culture - took place around AD 985 following the arrival of settlers from Iceland led by Erik the Red. Settlement continued for a period of around 400 years before the colonies collapsed for various economic, social and climatic reasons which are still being debated. My research in this field is centred upon the characterisation of signatures for Norse activity in palaeoecological records from Greenland using pollen analysis and associated proxies (such as microscopic charcoal, fungal spores, radiocarbon dating, and peat geochemistry).


(Above) The ruins of Hvalsey church and farm, Eastern Settlement, Greenland (June 2011, photograph by J.E.Schofield). The last definite (written) record to emerge from Norse Greenland is a letter reporting a wedding at Hvalsey church in AD 1408.


Research Funding and Grants

  • Leverhulme Trust Standard Grant (2014-17) Calving glaciers: long-term validation and evidence (CALVE) (Co-investigator)
  • AHRC Standard Grant (2014) Bennachie landscapes: investigating communities past and present at the Colony site (Co-investigator)
  • SNH 'Year of Natural Scotland' (2013) A stratigraphic survey and pollen analysis of peat deposits at Bennachie, Aberdeenshire (in collabaration with the Scottish Sculpture Workshop)
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Research Grant (2010) The potential of the Norse Middle Settlement of Greenland for a major interdisciplinary research project (joint with Prof. K Edwards)

Teaching Responsibilities

Course co-ordinator for Level 1 Geography (Semester 2)

  • GG1510 Global Worlds, Local Challenges

...with teaching contributions on the following Geography modules:

  • GG1008 Global Worlds, Global Challenges
  • GG2508 Skills & Techniques in Geosciences
  • GG3069 Remote sensing and GIS
  • GG3575 Techniques in Physical Geography
  • GG4571 Environmental Change

...plus guest lectures, lab practicals and seminars for various modules in Archaeology.



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  • Investigation of proposed irrigation channels and dams at GarĂ°ar/Igaliku, Greenland

    Edwards, K. J., Schofield, J. E.

    Water History, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 71-92

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Estimates of relative pollen productivity (RPP) for selected taxa from southern Greenland: A pragmatic solution

    Bunting, M. J., Schofield, J. E., Edwards, K. J.

    Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 190, pp. 66-74

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Palaeoenvironmental investigations of mire deposits from Unst

    Edwards, K. J., Schofield, J. E., Swindles, G. T.

    Viking Unst. Turner, V. E., Bond, J. M., Larsen, A. (eds.). Shetland Heritage Publications, pp. 75-90, 16 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • Towards a first chronology for the Middle Settlement of Norse Greenland: 14C and related studies of animal bone and environmental material

    Edwards, K. J., Cook, G. T., Nyegaard, G., Schofield, J. E.

    Radiocarbon, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 13-29

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Long-term development of a cultural landscape: the origins and dynamics of lowland heathland in southern England

    Groves, J. A., Waller, M. P., Grant, M. J., Schofield, J. E.

    Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 453-470

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • First comprehensive peat depositional records for tin, lead and copper associated with the antiquity of Europe's largest cassiterite deposits

    Meharg, A. A., Edwards, K. J., Schofield, J. E., Raab, A., Feldmann, J., Moran, A., Bryant, C. L., Thornton, B., Dawson, J. J.

    Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 717-727

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Bogged down in history

    Meharg, A., Edwards, K. J., Schofield, J.

    Planet Earth, no. Summer, pp. 24-25

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Problematic but promising ponds?: Palaeoenvironmental evidence from the Norse Eastern Settlement of Greenland

    Edwards, K. J., Schofield, J. E., Kirby, J. R., Cook, G. T.

    Journal of Quaternary Science, vol. 26, no. 8, pp. 854-865

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Grazing impacts and woodland management in Eriksfjord: Betula, coprophilous fungi and the Norse settlement of Greenland

    Schofield, J. E., Edwards, K. J.

    Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 181-197

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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