Ben Pennington


When I went up to Cambridge for my undergraduate in Natural Sciences, I initially intended to study mostly Physics. I did – for two years – before refocusing my efforts first on Geology to receive my BA, and then Geoarchaeology, which I studied at Masters level. It is Geoarchaeology where I am now firmly lodged. I am interested in past landscape change, and the linkages between societies and the environments which they inhabit and alter.

Since graduating, I worked for three years before starting my PhD. Some of this time I spent on archaeological sites in Egypt, undertaking paleolandscape surveys to answer questions as diverse as: “Why did Amenhotep III build his temple in a different place to other Pharaohs?”, “Did the ancient site of Tinnis have a canal leading into its centre?”, and “Where are the lost branches of the river Nile in the Delta?”.

My PhD now focuses on the rise of the first cities, and seeks to understand whether their emergence across the globe during the later-mid-Holocene can be related to bulk landscape change, and associated redistribution of food resources within the environment. This follows on directly from my Masters thesis in which I developed a global first-order model for Holocene landscape change in deltaic systems.


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