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Staff Profile

Dr Mike Church, BSc (Hons) FSA Scot PhD

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41153
Room number: 236

Contact Dr Mike Church (email at m.j.church@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

RESEARCH THEMES
My key research theme is the investigation of the interaction between humans and the environment in the North Atlantic islands (including Atlantic Scottish islands, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland) through reconstructing and analyzing
1) trajectories of environmental change
2) the impact of human settlement on palaeoenvironments
3) palaeoeconomies in different island settings
4) cultural adjustments to marginality

RESEARCH STUDENTS
I would be pleased to supervise research post-graduate students on the interaction between humans and the environment in the North Atlantic islands (including Atlantic Scottish islands, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland) with specific reference to environmental archaeology. Please email me about potential topics.

SELECTED CURRENT PROJECTS:
‘Landscapes circa landnám’. International, multi-disciplinary project investigating the human / environment interaction in the North Atlantic during the Norse period. I held a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Geography, University of Edinburgh as part of this project (2002-2005) and was an Associated Researcher (2005-2007), concentrating on environmental archaeology, geochronology, geomorphology and palaeolimnology. Leverhulme Trust (UK) funded.

‘Heart of the Atlantic: cultural landscapes of Sandoy, Faroe Islands’. Co-director of this multi-disciplinary project investigating the changing cultural and natural landscapes on the island of Sandoy, from first settlement to modern time. Archaeological investigations are focusing on the extensive excavations at Undir Junkarinsflötti and Á Sondum in the village of Sandur. Principal funding bodies: Anadarko (Faroes), Faroese Research Council (Faroes), Leverhulme Trust (UK) and National Science Foundation (US).

Charcoal production in Norse and Medieval Iceland. This project is investigating charcoal production in two areas of Iceland (Mývatnsveit in north-east Iceland and the Markafljot valley in southern Iceland), to evaluate the role of charcoal production in landnám deforestation, the impact on the environment and potential management of woodland during the settlement of Iceland. The project involves archaeological survey and excavation of charcoal production pits, within a geomorphological and chronological context provided by tephrochronology and radiocarbon. Principal funding bodies: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (UK) and Leverhulme Trust (UK).

Excavations at Brattahlið, Qassiarsuk, southern Greenland. Co-director of excavations at this internationally important site during the summers of 2005 and 2006. Principal funding bodies: Leverhulme Trust (UK) and National Science Foundation (US).

‘Uig Landscape Project’, Lewis, Western Isles (UK). Co-directed four seasons of landscape survey and excavation of four archaeological sites across the Uig Peninsula, Lewis from 1995 to 1998. Post-excavation nearing completion. Principal funding bodies: Historic Scotland (UK), University of Edinburgh (UK), Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (UK), Uig Estate and the Gearing family (UK).

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Bioarchaeology Research Group
  • Landscapes of Complex Society Research Group

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

  • Charcoal production in the North Atlantic Islands
  • Experimental archaeobotany and geoarchaeology
  • Heart of the Atlantic: cultural landscapes of Sandoy, Faroe Islands
  • Human impact on Norse landscapes in the North Atlantic
  • Uig Landscape Project

Research Interests

  • Environmental archaeology of the North Atlantic islands including the Western Isles of Scotland, Faroes, Iceland and Greenland
  • Geochronological applications, specifically radiocarbon dating and tephrochronology, in the North Atlantic islands
  • Geomorphology and palaeolimnology in relation to the human / environment interaction in the North Atlantic islands
  • Mineral magnetic applications on archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sites
  • Archaeobotany of Scotland and the North Atlantic islands

Publications

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Journal papers: professional

  • Piper, S, Rowley-Conwy, P A & Church, M J (2013). Gleann Mor Barabhais. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 14: 190-191.
  • Church, M J & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2013). Pabaigh Mòr. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 14: 198.
  • Bishop, R R, Church, M J, Clegg, C, Johnson, L, Piper, S, Rowley-Conwy, P A & Snape-Kennedy, L (2013). Tràigh na Beirigh 2. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 14: 198-199.
  • Snape-Kennedy, L, Church, M J, Bishop, R R, Clegg, C, Johnson, L, Piper, S & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2013). Tràigh na Beirigh 9. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 14: 199.
  • Church, M J, Bishop, R R, Blake, E, Nesbitt, C, Perri, A, Piper, S & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2012). Temple Bay, Harris. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 13: 186.
  • Church, M J, Bishop, R R, Blake, E, Nesbitt, C, Perri, A, Piper, S, Rowley-Conwy, P A, Snape-Kennedy, L & Walker, J (2012). Tràigh na Beirigh, Uig. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 13: 190.
  • Caldwell, D, Gilmour, S & Church, M J (2011). Mealasta, Tigh nan Cailleachan Dubha. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 12: 194.
  • Bishop, R R, Church, M J & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2011). Northton, Harris. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 11: 186-186.
  • Church, M J, Bishop, R R, Blake, E, Nesbitt, C, Perri, A, Piper, S & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2011). Temple Bay, Harris. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 12: 187.
  • Church, M J, Bishop, R R, Blake, E,, Nesbitt, C, Perri, A, Piper, S & Rowley-Conwy, P A (2011). Traigh na Beirigh, Uig. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 12: 194-195.
  • Bishop, RR, Church, MJ & Rowley-Conwy, PA (2010). Northton, Harris. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, New Series 11: 178.

Reports: technical

Supervises