BA, MSc, PhD, FSA Scot
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
- Internal Memberships
- Course co-ordinator for GG1510 (Global Worlds, Local Challenges)
- Library Representative for Geography & Environment
- Member of the Teaching Committee for Geography & Environment
- External Memberships
- 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.
- 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
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.
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)
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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Bogged down in historyPlanet Earth, no. Summer, pp. 24-25Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] View publication in Scopus
Problematic but promising ponds?: Palaeoenvironmental evidence from the Norse Eastern Settlement of GreenlandJournal of Quaternary Science, vol. 26, no. 8, pp. 854-865Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.1518
Grazing impacts and woodland management in Eriksfjord: Betula, coprophilous fungi and the Norse settlement of GreenlandVegetation History and Archaeobotany, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 181-197Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-011-0281-7
Norse-Inuit interaction and landscape change in southern Greenland?: A geochronological, pedological and palynological investigationGeoarchaeology-An International Journal, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 315-345Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.20351
Is there a Norse ‘footprint’ in North Atlantic pollen records.Viking settlements and society. Sigmundsson, S., Holt, A., Sigurðsson, G., Ólafsson, G., Vésteinsson, O. (eds.). Hið íslenska fornleifafélag and University of Iceland Press, pp. 65-82, 18 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
An integrated geochemical and palynological study of human impacts, soil erosion and storminess from southern Greenland since c. AD 1000Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, vol. 295, no. 1-2, pp. 19-30Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.05.011
Was Erik the Red's Brattahlið located at Qinngua?: a dissenting viewViking and Medieval Scandinavia, vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 83-99Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1484/J.VMS.1.102137
Palynology 'On The Edge' and the Archaeological Vindication of a Mesolithic Presence?: The case of ShetlandFrom Bann Flakes to Bushmills. Finlay, N., McCartan, S., Milner, N., Wickham-Jones, C. (eds.). Oxbow Books, pp. 113-123, 11 pagesChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
Geoarchaeological investigations at Sandhavn, south GreenlandAntiquity, vol. 83, no. 320Contributions to Journals: Articles
Palaeoecological and historical evidence for manuring and irrigation at Garðar (Igaliku), Norse Eastern Settlement, GreenlandThe Holocene, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 105-116Contributions to Journals: Articles
- [ONLINE] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683608096602