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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Charlotte O'Brien, BA, Ph.D

Environmental Laboratories Manager in the Department of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41113
Room number: 130

Contact Dr Charlotte O'Brien (email at charlotte.o'


BA. in Natural Sciences specialising in Botany 1997, Trinity College Dublin

Ph.D in Geography at Coventry University 2001 “Quaternary Vegetation History of the Médoc Region, S.W. France”

Charlotte specialises in the use of plant macrofossils for the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments. Her current research interests include human palaeoecology, particularly in relation to lakes and lake settlements. She is also investigating the climatic and vegetation history of S.W. Ireland over the last 12,000 years.

The Environmental Archaeology service is managed by Dr Charlotte O’Brien. Charlotte has a doctorate in palaeoecology and 15 years’ experience in the analysis of plant remains. She is proficient in environmental sampling strategies and has analysed palaeo- and archaeobotanical remains from sites in the UK and abroad. Particular skills include plant macrofossil analysis, pollen analysis, wood and charcoal identification and vegetation surveying. 

Research Groups

Department of Archaeology

  • Bioarchaeology
  • Northern Communities


Journal Article

  • Howard, A. J., Carney, J. N., Greenwood, M. T., Keen, D. H., Mighall, T., O'Brien, C. E. & Tetlow, E. (2011). The Holme Pierrepont Sand and Gravel and the timing of Middle and Late Devensian floodplain aggradation in the English Midlands. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 122(3): 419-431.
  • Selby, K. A., O'Brien, C. E., Brown, A. G. & Stuijts, I. (2005). A multi-proxy study of Holocene lake development, lake settlement and vegetation history in central Ireland. Journal of Quaternary Science 20(2): 147-168.
  • O'Brien, C. E., Selby, K. A., Ruiz, Z., Brown, A. G., Dinnin, M. H., Caseldine, C. J., Langdon, P. G. & Stuijts, I. (2005). A sediment-based multiproxy palaeoecological approach to the environmental archaeology of lake dwellings (crannogs), Central Ireland. The Holocene 15(5): 707-719.
  • Brown AG, Hatton J, O'Brien CE, Selby KA, Langdon PG, Stuijts I & Caseldine CJ (2005). Vegetation, landscape and human activity in Midland Ireland: mire and lake records from the Lough Kinale-Derragh Lough area, Central Ireland. VEGETATION HISTORY AND ARCHAEOBOTANY 14(2): 81-98.
  • Jones, R. L. O'Brien, C. E. & Coope, G. R. (2004). Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Younger Dryas in Jersey, UK Channel Islands, based on plant and insect fossils. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 115(1): 43-53.
  • O'Brien, C. E. & Jones, R. L. (2003). Early and Middle Pleistocene vegetation history of the Medoc region, southwest France. Journal of Quaternary Science 18(6): 557-579.
  • Mighall, T.M., Tizzoni, M., Cucini Tizzoni, C. & O'Brien, C. (2003). The impact of Iron Age mining on vegetation: palaeolecological evidence from Campolungo, Bienno, Lombard Alps, Northern Italy. Notizie Archeologiche Bergomensi 11: 253-271.


  • A. J. Long , C. O'Brien , M. Rutherford , S. Wynne S. Davis & J. B. Innes (2005). A1 palaeoecological survey. Geography. Durham.