Dr Rob Scaife

Rob is a visiting Professor of (Environmental) Archaeology and a Reader in Palaeoecology. He is a palynologist and archaeobotanist also with experience in diatoms and phytoliths and in the past, charred plant remains.

He studied Geology and Geography at Kingston Polytechnic where he obtained a University of London external degree. Subsequently he obtained a doctorate from Kings College, London. He worked for 10 years at the Institute of Archaeology, London and in the English Heritage, Ancient Monuments Laboratory. He has run courses and lectured in Biogeography, Palaeoecology and Environmental Archaeology at a number of universities including The Institute of Archaeology, Kings College and Royal Holloway College, London. Currently he is freelance palaeoecologist, especially in palynology and lectures in environmental archaeology at Southampton and, supervises and helps students in Geography and Archaeology departments.

Most of his pollen work is archaeologically related. After PhD studies on the vegetation history of the Isle of Wight during the late 1970s (when there was a marked paucity of data for southern England), he has continued to study the Island’s palaeoecology and indeed, now lives there. Much of his other British work, however, relates to southern England as a whole and especially London where he works with the Museum of London.

Overseas research interests have been on high Alpine vegetation development and tree line fluctuations in Italy, past vegetation of Barbados and the Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas). Currently Rob is involved with projects in Turkey with Prof. Darrel Maddy (Newcastle University) and especially in Chile (Southern Chile/Austral), Chilean Tierra del Fuego and the Ica Valley Peru in conjunction with Prof. Charly French (Archaeology, Cambridge University).

Other specific interests are examination of coprolites and the stomach and intestinal contents of bog bodies to study palaeodiet; starting with Lindow Man in the 1980’s and the more recently found Irish ‘specimens’.

Other than pollen, he is currently studying phytoliths (plant silica) impacted in the surfaces of prehistoric and later Quern stones and grinders from Britain in conjunction with Prof. David Peacock (Archaeology, University of Southampton).

He has more than 150 publications which can be found largely in archaeological related papers and in site monographs where he suffers from appendicitis!