Iain MacDonald (UCL) - 2020-21 Students

Archaeological wetland landscapes of Northwest Europe from the Roman through Medieval periods: A comparative spatial analysis

This interdisciplinary research aims to analyse the spatial distribution of Roman and Medieval archaeological sites across wetland landscapes in Northwest Europe. In the face of increasing climatic threat to these regions, this GIS-based project will encompass wetlands in England and the Netherlands. Systems of historic governance, economic specialisation, and marginality will be re-evaluated in light of new archaeological data. Historical maps, written sources, and wetland palynological data will also be consulted in order to reconstruct key landscape features within these past environments. Distributions of archaeological sites will then be spatially analysed to identify axes of trade, communication networks, governance centres, as well as agricultural and ecological zones.

This project will be among the first multi-period, landscape-focused wetland analyses since the ‘Fenland Project’ over 25 years ago. My research goes one step further by drawing comparisons with the closely linked cultures and economies of the European Low Countries. The results of this project will have direct implications on historical discussions of the wetlands and provide fresh insight into the organisation of their communities. This project will serve to record the development of these environments and identify areas for further research before they are further damaged by peat erosion and sea level rise.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Andrew Reynolds, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Prof Mark Lake, UCL

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