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Department of Archaeology



I provide teaching in archaeobotany for undergraduates and MPhil students alongside acting as Environmental Coordinator for the Must Farm project led by Cambridge Archaeological Unit. In previous years, I have held a variety of postdoctoral and freelance roles based in Cambridge after my PhD in archaeobotany supervised by Prof. Martin Jones. I have also spent significant amounts of time working in UK developer-funded archaeology as a site assistant, environmental supervisor and as a scientific advisor for English Heritage. My undergraduate degree in Archaeology was at the University of Cambridge 1994-7, with a masters degree in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy at the University of Sheffield 1998-9.


An environmental archaeologist with particular interests in archaeobotany, wetland archaeology and the structuring of past living environments. My research generates new, creative and interdisciplinary perspectives on both pre-existing biological assemblages, and the scientific excavation and analysis of new assemblages. The majority of my work focuses on the rich biological and artefactual remains of later prehistoric to early historic communities in Europe, particularly in Britain. My wider interests include experimental archaeology and ethnoarchaeology, the relevancy of archaeobotany to present-day nature conservation, and public archaeology.


Key publications: 


[1] Knight, M., Ballantyne, R.M., Robinson Zeki, I. and Gibson, D. 2019. The Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement. Antiquity 93, 645-663. DOI:
[2] O'Connell, T.C., Ballantyne, R.M., Hamilton-Dyer, S., Margaritis, M., Oxford, S., Pantano, P., Millett, M. and Keay, S.J. 2019. Living and dying at the Portus Romae. Antiquity 93, 719-734. DOI:



Other publications: 



[1] Ledger, M.L., Grimshaw, E., Fairey, M., Whelton, H.L., Bull, I.D., Ballantyne, R., Knight, M. and Mitchell, P.D. 2019. Intestinal parasites at the Late Bronze Age settlement of Must Farm, in the fens of East Anglia, UK (9th century B.C.E.). Parasitology 146(12), 1583–94.
[2] Ballantyne, R.M., Lightfoot, E., Macheridis, S. and Williams, A. 2018. ‘Biological remains at Avaldsnes’ in D. Skre (ed.) The Royal Manor Project, Avaldsnes. Berlin: De Gruyter. 
[3] Ballantyne, R.M. 2018. ‘Mollusc shell’, in C. Evans, S. Lucy and R. Patten. Riversides. Neolithic Barrows, a Beaker Grave, Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon Burials and Settlement at Trumpington, Cambridge. Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 73, 265–67. 
[4] Ballantyne, R.M. and de Vareilles, A. 2018. ‘Plant macrofossils’, in C. Evans, S. Lucy and R. Patten. Riversides. Neolithic Barrows, a Beaker Grave, Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon Burials and Settlement at Trumpington, Cambridge. Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 255-64. 
[5] Ballantyne, R.M. and Doshi, N. 2017. ‘Charred plant remains and small artefactual debris’, in Ferraby, R., Johnson, P., Millett, M. and Wallace, L. Thwing, Rudston and the Roman-period exploitation of the Yorkshire Wolds. Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society, Leeds. 
[6] Ballantyne, R. 2016. ‘Environmental bulk samples,’ in C. Evans with J. Tabor and M. van der Linden. Twice-crossed river. Prehistoric and palaeoenvironmental investigations at Barleycroft Farm/Over, Cambridgeshire. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 184–96, 269–75, 545–53.
[7] Ballantyne, R., Bellini, G., Hales, J., Launaro, A., Leone, N., Millett, M., Verdonck, L., & Vermeulen, F. 2016. Interamna Lirenas and its territory (Comune di Pignataro Interamna, Provincia di Frosinone, Regione Lazio). Papers of the British School at Rome 84, 322–25. 
[8] Ballantyne, R.M., Bellini, G.R., Launaro, A., Leone, N. and Millett, M. 2015. ‘Interamna Lirenas and its territory (Comune di Pignataro Interamna, Provincia di Frosinone, Regione Lazio)’. Papers of the British School in Rome 83, 299–302.
[9] Ballantyne, R.M. 2013. ‘Charred plant remains and small artefactual debris’, in C. Evans, G. Appleby, S. Lucy and R. Regan (eds.) Process and History. Romano-British Communities at Colne Fen, Earith. Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 391–413. 
[10] Petrie, C.A., Sardari, A., Ballantyne, R., Berberian, M., Lancelotti, C., Mashkour, M., McCall, B., Potts D.T. and Weeks, L. 2013. ‘Mamasani in the fourth millennium BC’, in C.A. Petrie (ed.) Ancient Iran and its Neighbours: Local Developments and Long-Range Interactions in the Fourth Millennium BC (The British Institute of Persian Studies Archaeological Monographs Series III). Oxford: Oxbow Books, 171–94.
[11] Ballantyne, R.M. 2012. ‘Charred environmental remains’, pp.48–9 in A. Pickstone and R. Mortimer. War Ditches, Cherry Hinton: Revisiting an Iron Age Hillfort. Proceedings of Cambridge Antiquarian Society 101, 31–59.
[12] Ballantyne, R.M. 2012. ‘Vegetation survey of the Farmer's House enclosed area’, in J. Tipper (ed.) Experimental Archaeology and Fire: The Investigation of a Burnt Reconstruction at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. (East Anglian Archaeology 146). Bury St Edmunds: Suffolk County Council, 114–20.
[13] Ballantyne, R.M. 2010. ‘Charred and mineralised biota’, in G. Thomas (ed.) The Later Anglo-Saxon Settlement at Bishopstone: A downland manor in the making (CBA Research Report 163), York: Council for British Archaeology, 164–76. 
[14] Ballantyne, R.M. 2010. ‘Plant remains’, in S. Lucy and J. Tipper and A. Dickens The Anglo-Saxon Settlement and Cemetery at Bloodmoor Hill, Carlton Colville, Suffolk. (East Anglian Archaeology 131). Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 305–16.
[15] Ballantyne, R.M. 2010. ‘Summary of hazelnut shell’, p.52–3 in P. Halkon, T.G. Manby, M. Millett and H. Woodhouse. Neolithic settlement evidence from Hayton, East Yorks. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 82, 31–57.
[16] 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 75, 167–87.
[17] Ballantyne, R.M. and Ward, M. 2008. Smeircleit (Tipperton), Western Isles (South Uist parish), assessment survey. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 9, 184–5.
[18] Ballantyne, R. M. 2006. ‘Plant remains’ [multiple sections] in C. Cessford, M. Alexander and A. Dickens Between Broad Street and the Great Ouse: Waterfront archaeology in Ely (East Anglian Archaeology 114). Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit.
[19] Ballantyne, R. M. 2005. ‘Plants and seeds’, in R. W. Mortimer, R. Regan and S. Lucy (eds.) The Saxon and Medieval Settlement at West Fen Road, Ely: The Ashwell site (East Anglian Archaeology 110). Cambridge: Cambridge Archaeological Unit, 100–12.
[20] Ballantyne, R. M. 2004. ‘A cross-disciplinary investigation of Iron Age pit deposition’ in C. French ‘Evaluation survey and excavation at Wandlebury Ringwork, Cambridgeshire, 1994–7.’ Proceedings of Cambridge Antiquarian Society 93, 53–7.
[21] Ballantyne, R. M. 2004. Islands in wilderness: The changing medieval use of the East Anglian peat fens, England. Environmental Archaeology 9(2), 189–98.
[22] Ballantyne, R. M. 2002. 'Plant Remains', pp.98–9 in A. Hall 'A late sixteenth century pit group from Pembroke College Library, Cambridge'. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 91, 89–101.

Job Titles

Teaching Associate in Archaeobotany
Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Palaeoecology
Field Methods
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street
01223 (3)33537


Person keywords: 
Material Culture
Environmental reconstruction
Archaeological Theory
Archaeological Science
Science, Technology and Innovation
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: