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Professor Charles Andrew Ivey French

Professor Charles Andrew Ivey French

Professor in Geoarchaeology

Charles French is accepting applications for PhD students.

Charles French is available for consultancy.

Office 1.3, West Building
Division of Archaeology
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3DZ
Office Phone: 01223 333533

Research Interests

For more than the past two decades his main research interests have centred around the application of archaeological techniques and micromorphological analytical techniques to the interpretation of buried landscapes, the processes responsible for the degradation of landscapes, and more recently on the interpretation of the use of domestic space on settlement sites. Particular emphasis is placed on the recognition of formation processes and human impact on landscapes, especially deforestation, agriculture, soil erosion, dewatering and desertification.

He also acts as an environmental archaeology consultant and micromorphologist for numerous contracting units in many parts of southern and eastern England. Regions and countries of special research interest currently include the East Anglian fenlands and the river systems that drain into them, the chalk downlands of Wessex, the Channel Islands, central Bosnia, northwestern India, southern Patagonia and Peru.

Research Supervision

Current Students:

Kathryn Jane Boulden

Matthew Neale Dalton

Kathryn Elizabeth Hall

Eduardo Pedro Machicado Murillo

Sayantani Neogi


Past Students:

Gabriella Kovacs

Jung-Youn Woo

Federica Sulas

Mary Faye Ownby

Heejin Lee

Key Publications


French C.A.I., Scaife R. and Allen M.J. (2012). Durrington Walls to West Amesbury by way of Stonehenge: A major transformation of Holocene landscape. Antiquaries Journal, 92, 1-36. DOI: 10.1017/S0003581512000704.


French C.A.I.(2010). The palaeo-environments of Bronze Age Europe. T. Earle and K. Kristiansen (eds.), Organizing Bronze Age Societies. Cambridge Univ Pr. 34-56.


French C.A.I., Periman R., Cummings L.S., Hall S., Goodman-Elgar M. and Boreham J. (2009). Holocene alluvial sequences, cumulic soils and fire signatures in the middle Rio Puerco basin at Guadalupe Ruin, New Mexico. Geoarchaeology, 24, 638-676. DOI: 10.1002/gea.20278.


French C.A.I., Sulas F. and Madella M. (2009). New geoarchaeological investigations of the valley systems in the Aksum area of northern Ethiopia. CATENA, 78, 218-233. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2009.02.010.

Other Publications



French C. (2015). Handbook of Geoarchaeological Approaches to Settlement Sites, (Studying Scientific Archaeology.) Oxford: Oxbow Books.


French C., Lewis H., Allen M.J., Green M., Scaife R. and Gardiner J. (2007). Prehistoric Landscape Development and Human Impact in the Upper Allen Valley, Cranborne Chase, Dorset. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.


French C.A.I. and Pryor F.M. (2005). Archaeology and Environment of the Etton Landscape. (East Anglian Archaeology Report 109.) Peterborough: Fenland Archaeological Trust.


French C.A.I. (2003). Geoarchaeology in Action: Studies in Soil Micromorphology and Landscape Evolution. Routledge.


French C.A.I. (1994). Excavation of the Deeping St Nicholas Barrow Complex. (Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series 1.) Sleaford: Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire.


Pryor F.M., French C.A.I., Crowther D., Gurney D., Simpson G. and Taylor M. (1985). Archaeology and Environment in the Lower Welland Valley Volume I. (East Anglian Archaeology Report 27.) Cambridge: Fenland Project Committee and Cambridgeshire Archaeological Com.


Edited books


C.A.I. French, F.M. Pryor and M. Armour-Chelu (eds.), (1992). The South-West Fen Dyke Survey Project 1982–86. (East Anglian Archaeology Report 59.) Peterborough: Fenland Archaeological Trust.


Articles & Chapters


Wilkinson T., French C.A.I. and Semple M. (2015). Hollow ways and routes around Tell Brak. A. McMahon and H. Crawford (eds.), Preludes to Urbanism: The Late Chalcolithic of Mesopotamia. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. 35-48.


French C.A.I.(2014). Investigating large landscapes: Constraints and developing techniques. K. Boyle, R. Rabett and C. Hunt (eds.), Living in the Landscape: Essays in honour of Graeme Barker. Cambridge: McDonald Institute of Archeological Research. 339-350.


Bailiff I.K., French C.A. and Scarre C.J. (2014). Application of luminescence dating and geomorphological analysis to the study of landscape evolution, settlement and climate change on the Channel Island of Herm. Journal of Archaeological Science, 41, 890-903. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.10.014.


Borić D., French C.A.I., Stefanović S., Dimitrijević V., Cristiani E., Gurova M., Antonović D., Allué E. and Filipović D. (2014). Late mesolithic lifeways and deathways at vlasac (serbia). Journal of Field Archaeology, 39(1), 4-31. DOI: 10.1179/0093469013Z.00000000070.


Lee H., French C. and Macphail R.I. (2014). Microscopic Examination of Ancient and Modern Irrigated Paddy Soils in South Korea, with Special Reference to the Formation of Silty Clay Concentration Features. Geoarchaeology, 29(4), 326-348. DOI: 10.1002/gea.21478.


Zhuang Y., Ding P. and French C. (2014). Water management and agricultural intensification of rice farming at the late-Neolithic site of Maoshan, Lower Yangtze River, China. The Holocene, 24(5), 531-545. DOI: 10.1177/0959683614522310.


Scarre C. and French C.A.I. (2013). The palaeogeography and Neolithic archaeology of Herm in the Channel Islands. Journal of Field Archaeology DOI: 10.1179/0093469012Z.00000000033.


Zhuang Y., Bao W. and French C. (2013). River floodplain aggradation history and cultural activities: Geoarchaeological investigation at the Yuezhuang site, Lower Yellow River, China. Quaternary International, 315, 101-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.02.020.


French C.A.I.(2012). Geoarchaeological and soil micromorphological studies in wetland archaeology. F. Menotti and A. O'Sullivan (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Wetland Archaeology. Oxford University Press.


French C.A.I.(2011). Exploring New Frontiers: Prologue. R. Whimster (ed.), The New Antiquarians: 50 Years of Archaeological Innovation in Wessex. Council for British Archeology. 161-163.


Briz I., Alvarez M., Balbo A., Zurro D., Madella M., Villagran X., French C.A.I., Vila A. and Estevez J. (2011). Towards high-resolution shell midden archaeology: Experimental and ethno-archaeology in Tierra del Fuego (Argentina). Quaternary International, 239, 125-134. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2011.04.017.


Healy F., Bayliss A., Whittle A., Pryor F., French C.A.I., Allen M.J., Evans C., Edmonds M., Meadows J. and Hey G. (2011). Eastern England, F. Healy, A. Bayliss and A. Whittle (eds.), Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland, Vol.1Oxford: Oxbow. 263-347.


Scarre C., Oesterbeek L. and French C.A.I. (2011). Tombs, landscapes and settlement in the Tagus hill-country. P.B. Ramirez, E.C. Cuenca and A.G. Cordero (eds.), From the Origins. 83-91.


French C.A.I.(2010). Sustaining prehistoric agricultural landscapes in southern Spain, highland Yemen and northern New Mexico: The geoarchaeological perspective. H. Lewis and S. Semple (eds.), Perspectives in Landscape Archaeology. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports Ltd. 37-44.


French C.A.I.(2010). People, societies, and landscapes. Science, 328, 443-444. DOI: 10.1126/science.1186019.


Jones R., Challands A., French C.A.I., Card N., Downes J. and Richards C. (2010). Exploring the location and function of a Late Neolithic house at Crossiecrown, Orkney by geophysical, geochemical and soil micromorphological methods. Archaeological Prospection, 17, 29-47. DOI: 10.1002/arp.370.


Madella M., Ajithprasad P., Lancelotti C., Rondelli B., Balbo A., French C.A.I. and Briz I. (2010). Social and environmental transitions in arid zones: The North Gujarat Archaeological Project - NoGAP. Antiquity


Singh R.N., Petrie C.A., French C.A.I., Neogi S., Pandey A.K., Parikh D. and Pawar V. (2010). Geoarchaeological survey and excavations at Burj-2010, Fatehabad, Haryana. Puratattva, 40, 94-101.


Wilkinson T.J., French C.A.I., Ur J.A. and Semple M. (2010). The geoarchaeology of route systems in northern Syria. Geoarchaeology, 25(6), 745-771. DOI: 10.1002/gea.20331.


French C.A.I.(2009). A landscape tale of two soil histories in lowland zones of England: The fen-edge of Cambridgeshire and the downland of Cranborne Chase, M.J. Allen, N.M. Sharples and T. O'Connor (eds.), Land and people: Papers in Memory of John G. Evans, Vol.2 (Prehistoric Society Research Paper.) Oxford: Oxbow Books Ltd. 80-104.


French C.A.I.(2009). Tower Works and Edgerley Drain; Micomorphological analysis. C. Evans, E. Beadsmoore, M. Brudenell and G. Lucas (eds.), Fengate Revisited. Cambridge Archeological Unit. 121-123.


French C.A.I.(2009). Hydrological monitoring of an alluviated landscape in the lower Great Ouse valley at Over, Cambridgeshire: The quarry restoration phase. Environmental Archaeology, 14, 62-75. DOI: 10.1179/174963109X400682.


French C.A.I.(2009). Developments in International Geoarchaeology. Catena


Conneller C., Ballantyne R.M., French C.A.I. and Speller G. (2009). Investigation of a Final Palaeolithic site at Rookery Farm, Great Wilbraham, Cambridgeshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, London, 75, 167-187.


French C.A.I. and Milek K. (2009). DIG 2007: Catena special issue preface. Catena, 78(3), 179-180. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2008.12.006.


Sulas F., Madella M. and French C.A.I. (2009). State formation and water resources management in the Horn of Africa: The Aksumite Kingdom of the northern Ethiopian highlands. World Archaeology, 41, 2-15. DOI: 10.1080/00438240802668271.


Boric D., French C.A.I. and Dimitrijevic V. (2008). Vlasac revisited: Formation processes, stratigraphy and dating. Documenta Praehistorica, 35, 261-287.


Singh R.N., Petrie C.A., French C.A.I., Goudie A.S., Gupta S., Tewari R., Singh A.K., Sinha R., Srivastava R., Yadav S. and Singh V.K. (2008). Settlements in context: Reconnaissance in Western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Man and Environment, 33, 71-87.


Ayala G. and French C.A.I. (2005). Introduction. Geoarchaeology, 20, 91-92. DOI: 10.1002/gea.20037.


Ayala G. and French C.A.I. (2005). Erosion modeling of past land-use practices in the Fiume di Sotto di Troina river valley, north-central Sicily. Geoarchaeology, 20, 149-167. DOI: 10.1002/gea.20041.


French C.A.I., Lewis H.A., Scaife R. and Allen M. (2005). New perspectives on Holocene landscape development in the southern English chalklands: The upper Allen valley, Cranborne Chase, Dorset. Geoarchaeology, 20, 109-134. DOI: 10.1002/gea.20039.


French C.A.I.(2004). Review: Soil Science and Archaeology - Three Test Cases from Minoan Crete by M.W. Morris. The Holocene, 14, 794. DOI: 10.1177/095968360401400518.


French C.A.I.(2004). Soil micromorphology. A. Crowson (ed.), Hot Rocks in the Norfolk Fens: The Excavation of a Burnt Flint Mound at Northwold, 1994–5. (East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper 16.) Gressenhall: East Anglian Archaeology. 26-27.


French C.A.I.(2004). Evaluation survey and excavation at Wandlebury Ringwork, Cambridgeshire, 1994–7. Proceedings of the Cambridgeshire Antiquarian Society, XCIII, 15-66.


French C.A.I.(2004). Literature review and research priorities. M. Davis, K. Gdaniec, M. Brice and L. White (eds.), Mitigation of Construction Impact on Archaeological Remains. London: MoLAS for English Heritage. 30-33.


French C.A.I.(2004). Hydrological monitoring of an alluviated landscape in the lower Great Ouse valley at Over, Cambridgeshire: Results of the gravel extraction phase. Environmental Archaeology, 9, 1-13. DOI: 10.1179/146141004790734496.


Ayala G. and French C.A.I. (2003). Holocene landscape dynamics in a Sicilian upland river valley. A. Howard, D. Passmore and M. Macklin (eds.), The Alluvial Archaeology of North-West Europe and the Mediterranean. Rotterdam: Balkema. 229-235.


Boismier W.A., Schreve D.C., White M.J., Robertson D.A., Stuart A.J., Etienne S., Andrews J., Coope G.R., Field M.H., Green F.M.L., Keen D.H., Lewis S.G., French C.A.I., Rhodes E., Schweninger J-L., Tovey K., Donahue R.E., Richards M.P. and O'Connor S. (2003). A Middle Palaeolithic site at Lynford Quarry, Mundford, Norfolk: Interim statement. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 69, 315-324.


French C.A.I. and Heathcote J. (2003). Holocene landscape change in the lower Great Ouse valley, Cambridgeshire, England. A.J. Howard, M.G. Macklin and D.G. Passmore (eds.), Alluvial Archaeology in Europe: Proceedings of an International Conference, Leeds, 18-19 December 2000. Taylor and Francis. 81-92.


French C.A.I., Lewis H., Allen M.J., Scaife R.G., Green M., Gardiner J. and Gdaniec K. (2003). Archaeological and palaeo-environmental investigations of the upper Allen valley, Cranborne Chase, Dorset (1998-2000): A new model of earlier Holocene landscape development. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 69, 201-234.


Miracle P.T., Corrado A. and Hanks B.K. (2003). The faunal remains. C.A.I. French (ed.), Wandlebury Ringwork, Cambridgeshire. Evaluation Survey and Excavation. (CAU Report 553.) Cambridge Archaeological Unit. 41-48.


French C.A.I.(2001). Review: An Archaeology of Natural Places by R. Bradley. American Journal of Archaeology, 105(4), 717-718.


Matthews W., French C.A.I., Lawrence T., Cutler D.F. and Jones M.K. (2001). Microstratigraphic analyses of depositional sequences in areas FS and SS, D. Oates, J. Oates and H. McDonald (eds.), Excavations in Tel Brak: Vol 2: Nagar in the Third Millennium BC, Vol.Cambridge/London (McDonald Institute for Archaeologicl Research/British School of.) 353-367.


French C.A.I. and Whitelaw T.M. (1999). Soil erosion, agricultural terracing and site formation processes at Markiani, Amorgos, Greece: The micromorphological perspective. Geoarchaeology, 14, 151-189. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6548(199902)14:2<151::AID-GEA3>3.0.CO;2-R.


French C.A.I.(1998). Paleoindian geoarchaeology of the Southern High Plains. Antiquity, 72(278), 957-959.


French C.A.I.(1998). Review: Alluvial Geoarchaeology - Floodplain Archaeology and Environmental Change by A.G. Brown. Antiquity, 72, 955-956.


French C.A.I.(1998). Alluvial geoarchaeology: Floodplain archaeology and environmental change. Antiquity, 72(278), 955-957.


Matthews W., French C.A.I., Lawrence T., Cutler D.F. and Jones M.K. (1997). Microstratigraphic traces of site formation processes and human activities. World Archaeology, 29(2), 281-308. DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1997.9980378.


Boivin N.L. and French C.A.I. (1995). New questions and answers in the micromorphology of the occupation deposits at the souks site, Beirut. Berytus Archaeological Studies, 43, 181-209.


French C.A.I.(1994). Review: Soils in Archaeology - Landscape Evolution and Human Occupation by V.T. Holliday. Antiquity, 68(259), 469-471.


French C.A.I.(1992). Fengate to Flag-Fen: Summary of the soil and sediment analyses. Antiquity, 66(251), 458-461.


French C.A.I.(1991). Excavations in advance of the A605 Bypass at Elton. Northamptonshire Archaeology, 23, 79-82.


French C.A.I.(1990). Neolithic soils, middens and alluvium in the lower Welland valley. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 9, 305-311.


MacKreth D.F., Cleary A.S.E., Bamford H., Shepherd J., Perrin J.R., Wild F., Rollo L., Cameron F., French C.A.I., King J., Powell F., Bramwell D., Harman M. and Gurney D. (1988). Excavation of an Iron Age and Roman Enclosure at Werrington, Cambridgeshire. Britannia, 19, 59-151.


French C.A.I. and Taylor M. (1985). Dessication and destruction: The immediate effects of de-watering at Etton, Cambridgeshire. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 4, 139-155.


French C.A.I.(1982). An analysis of the molluscs from an Ipswichian interglacial river channel deposit at Maxey, Cambridgeshire, England. Geological Magazine, 119, 593-598.


French C.A.I.(1979). An analysis of molluscs and sediments from Bronze and Iron Age ditches at Fengate, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Bulletin of the Institute of Archaeology, London