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About Dr Barry Taylor

I’m a senior lecturer in archaeology, specialising in the European Mesolithic, and the relationship between humans and their environments. My work combines palaeoecology, anthropology, and archaeological theory to consider the ways in which humans perceived and understood the world around them. I am also interested in the interplay between technology, knowledge, and the environment, and how these came together to form aspects of people’s identify in early prehistory.  

Before joining the University of Chester in 2013, I was a post-doctoral research associate on the ERC funded ‘Postglacial’ project at the University of York, investigating the response of humans and animals to the period of rapid environmental change that followed the end of the last Ice Age. Prior to this I undertook my doctoral research at the University of Manchester (2007-12), looking at the relationship between Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and the changing wetland environments of eastern Vale of Pickering.

I am also an award-winning multi-instrumentalist (though none of the awards have anything to do with music, and all of the instruments are whistles).

Teaching

I contribute to the following undergraduate modules:

  • Introduction to the Archaeology of the British Isles
  • European Worlds
  • The Archaeology of Material Culture
  • Reconstructing Past Environments
  • Bioarchaeology
  • From Foragers to Farmers: The Mesolithic and early Neolithic of Northern Europe

I am also the joint programme leader for MA Past Landscapes and Environment and contribute to the following modules:

  • Thinking through Past Landscapes and Environments
  • Investigating Past Landscapes and Environments
  • Landscape Research Essay/Project

Research

The focus of my research is the interaction between humans and their environment in early Prehistory, and how cultural attitudes to plants and animals would have been bound up in practices such as hunting, gathering, and plant-use. In studying this I focus on the communities of early prehistoric hunter-gatherers who inhabited northern Europe from the latter stages of the last Ice Age to the introduction of farming (the Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic). I am also interested in early prehistoric craft technologies, particularly those involving the use of plant materials, and how skill and technical knowledge would have formed important parts of people’s identities in the past.

I am currently working on the publication of a series of excavations on the Terminal Palaeolithic and early Mesolithic site of Flixton Island, which I co-directed with Professor Nicky Milner (University of York) and Dr Chantal Chantal Conneller (University of Newcastle), and the excavations of the Seamer Carr Project and the Vale of Pickering Research Trust (with Professor Paul Lane, University of Cambridge).

Research Projects

Mesolithic communities and the Environment

This collaborative project, directed jointly with Dr Amy Gray Jones (University of Chester) and Dr Nick Overton (University of Manchester) is investigating the relationship between early Mesolithic communities and the environment, through a programme of excavation and palaeo-ecological analysis in the eastern Vale of Pickering (North Yorkshire). 

Early Prehistoric Maritime Communities of Western Scotland

This project aims to better understand the lives of the Mesolithic communities inhabiting the coast and islands of western Scotland through a programme of survey and excavation on the Small Isles, a collection of four islands (Muck, Rum, Eigg, and Canna) in the Inner Hebrides. The project is co-directed with Dr Amy Gray Jones (University of Chester) and Dr Steph Piper (University of Newcastle).

Presenting Mesolithic and Modern Man; Past, Present and Future

This aim of this project is to present the natural and archaeological heritage of Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve to a wider audience. The project is funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and we are working in partnership with the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, and Liverpool Museums.

Published Work

Milner, N., Conneller, C. and Taylor, B (2018). Star Carr, Volume 1.  A persistent place in a changing world. York: White Rose University Press.

Milner, N., Conneller, C. and Taylor, B (eds) (2018). Star Carr, Volume 2.  Studies in technology, subsistence and environment. York: White Rose University Press.

Milner, N., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. and Schadla-Hall, T. (2013) Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age. York. Council for British Archaeology.

Book Chapters

Taylor, B. Milner, N. and Conneller, C. (2019). Excavations at Star Carr: past, present and future. In Groß, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. and Jantzen, D. (Eds.), Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe. Schleswig: Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie.

Elliott, B., Taylor, B., Knight, B., Milner, N., Robson, H. K., Pomstra, D., Little, A. and Conneller, C. (2019). Bone and antler from Star Carr. In Groß, D., Lübke, H., Meadows, J. and Jantzen, D. (Eds.), Working at the sharp end: from bone and antler to Early Mesolithic life in Northern Europe. Schleswig: Zentrum für Baltische und Skandinavische Archäologie.

Taylor, B. (2017). Early Holocene wetland succession in Lake Flixton. In Lincoln, P., Eddy, L., Matthews, I, Palmer, A. and Bateman M (eds). The Quaternary of the Vale of Pickering. QRA Field Guide. (Quaternary Research Association: London). pp.148-154.

Taylor, B., Conneller, C. and Milner, N. (2017). Palaeoenvironmental and archaeological Investigations at Star Carr. In Lincoln, P., Eddy, L., Matthews, I, Palmer, A. and Bateman M (eds). The Quaternary of the Vale of Pickering. QRA Field Guide. (Quaternary Research Association: London). pp.155-165.

Milner, N. Taylor, B., Conneller, C. (2017). Excavations at Flixton Island. In Lincoln, P., Eddy, L., Matthews, I, Palmer, A. and Bateman M (eds). The Quaternary of the Vale of Pickering. QRA Field Guide. (Quaternary Research Association: London). pp.155-165.

Milner, N., Conneller, C. and Taylor, B. (2015) Recent work at Star Carr: a POSTGLACIAL landscape study. In Bicho, N., Detry, C., Price, T. D. & Cunha, E. (eds.) Muge 150th: The 150th Anniversary of the Discovery of Mesolithic Shell middens-Volume 2. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Press, p. 125-138.

Taylor, B. (2014) Environmental archaeology at Star Carr. In Smith, C. (ed). The Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology. Springer.

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Schadla-Hall, T. & Taylor, B. (2009) Star Carr in the new millennium. In Finlay, N., McCartan, S., Milner, N., and Wickham-Jones, C. (eds) From Bann flakes to Bushmills. Papers in Honour of Peter Woodman. Prehistoric Society Research Paper 1, 78-100. Oxford: Oxbow books.

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Schadla-Hall, T .&  Taylor, B. (2009) The temporality of the Mesolithic landscape: New work at Star Carr. In Crombe, P., Van Strydonck, M., Sergant, J., Boudin, M. & Bats, M. (eds) Chronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe. Cambridge: Scholars' Press.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Taylor, B. (2019). Early Holocene wetland succession in the palaeo-Lake Flixton. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

Blockley, S., Matthews, I., Candy, I., Langdon, P., Langdon, C., Palmer, A., Lincoln, P., Brook, A., Macleod, A., Taylor, B., Conneller, C., Bayliss, A., Deeprose, L., Darvill,C.,  Kearney,R., Beavan, N., Staf, R. and Milner, N. (2018). The resilience of Postglacial hunter-gatherers to abrupt climate change. Nature; Ecology and Evolution 5:810–818.

Overton, N, and Taylor, B. (2018). Landscapes and environment in Mesolithic archaeology. Journal of World Prehistory 31(3):385–402.

Taylor, B. (2018). Subsistence, environment and Mesolithic landscape archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. 28:493-510.

Needham, A., Croft, S., Kroger, R., Robson, H., Rowley, C., Taylor, B., Gray Jones, A. and Conneller, C. 2018. The application of micro-Raman for the analysis of ochre artefacts from Mesolithic palaeo-lake Flixton. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 17:650-656.

Taylor, B., Elliott, B, Conneller, C. & Milner, N. Bayliss, A., Knight, B., Bamforth, M. (2017) Resolving the issue of artefact deposition at Star Carr. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 83. 23-42.

Conneller, C., Bayliss, A., Milner, N. and Taylor, B. (2016) The Resettlement of the British Landscape: Towards a chronology of Early Mesolithic lithic assemblage types. Internet Archaeology 42. DOI:10.11141/ia.42.12.

Milner, N., Bamforth, M., Beale, G., Carty, J. C., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Elliott, B., Fitton, L. C., Knight, B., Kroger, R., Little, A., Needham, A., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. A, and Taylor, B. (2016). A unique engraved shale pendant from the site of Star Carr: the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain. Internet Archaeology 40. DOI:10.11141/ia.40.8.

Little, A., Elliott, B., Conneller, C., Pomstra, D., Evans, A., Fitton, J., Holland, A., Davis, R., Kershaw, R., O Connor, S., O Connor, T., Wilson, A., Jordan, P., Collins, M., Colonese, A., Craig, O., Khnight, R., Lucquin, J., Taylor, B.  and Milner, N. (2016). Technological Analysis of the World ’ s Earliest Shamanic Costume: A Multi-Scalar, Experimental Study of a Red Deer Headdress from the Early Holocene Site of Star Carr, North Yorkshire, UK. PlosONE DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0152136.

Albert, B., Innes, J., Blackford, J., Taylor, B., Conneller, C., & Milner, N. (2016). Degradation of the wetland sediment archive at Star Carr: An assessment of current palynological preservation. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 6:488-495.

Robson, HK, Little, A, Jones, AKG, Blockley, S, Candy, I, Matthews, I, Palmer, A, Schreve, D, Tong, E, Pomstra, D, Fletcher, L, Hausmann, N, Taylor, B, Conneller, C and Milner, N. (2016). 'Scales of analysis: Evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr' Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 17: 895-903.

Candy, I., Farry, A., Darvill, C. M., Palmer, A., Blockley, S. P. E., Matthews, I. P., MacLeod, A., Deeprose, L., Farley, N., Kearney, R., Conneller, C., Taylor, B. & Milner, N. (2015) The evolution of Palaeolake Flixton and the environmental context of Star Carr: an oxygen and carbon isotopic record of environmental change for the early Holocene. Proceedings of the Geologists Association 126:60-71.

Palmer, A.P., Matthews, I.P., Candy, I., Blockley, S.P.E., MacLeod, A., Darvill, C.M., Milner, N., Conneller, C. & Taylor, B. (2015) The evolution of Palaeolake Flixton and the environmental context of Star Carr, NE. Yorkshire: stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) lacustrine sequence. Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 126:50-59.

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Taylor, B. & Taylor, M. (2012) Substantial settlement in the European early Mesolithic: new research at Star Carr. Antiquity 86(334):1004-1020.

Taylor, B. (2012) Early Mesolithic activity in the wetlands of the Lake Flixton Basin. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 11:1, 63-84.

Milner, N., Lane, P., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. & Schadla-Hall, T. (2012) Star Carr in a postglacial lakescape: 60 years of research. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 11(1):1-17.

Milner, N., Conneller, C., Taylor, B., Koon, H., Penkman, K., Elliott, B., Panter, I. & Taylor, M. (2011) From Riches to rags: Organic deterioration at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(10): 2818-2832.

Boreham, S., Conneller, C., Milner, N,. Taylor, B., Needham, A., Boreham, J. & Rolfe, C. (2011) Geochemical Indicators of preservation status and site deterioration at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(10): 2833-2857.

Hadley, P., Hall, A., Taylor, M., Needham, A., Taylor, B., Conneller, C., and Milner, N. (2010) To block lift or not to block lift? An experiment at the early Mesolithic Site of Star Carr, North-East Yorkshire, UK. Internet Archaeology 28  DOI:10.11141/ia.28.2.

Qualifications

BA (Durham), MA (Durham), PhD (Manchester).