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Dr Rachel Ballantyne

Dr Rachel Ballantyne

Research Associate

Teaching Associate in Archaeobotany

Field Archaeologist in Residence 2018/19 - Member of the Must Farm post-excavation team

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3ER
Office Phone: 01223 333537

Research Interests

I am 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.

Current research projects are Catching the Past in collaboration with Dr James Barrett and a team led by Dr Bastiaan Star at the University of Oslo; and environmental coordinator for the Must Farm pile-dwelling settlement led by Mark Knight and the Cambridge Archaeological Unit. Both roles are highly interdisciplinary, drawing upon both my previous research and professional expertise in the practice of archaeological science within field archaeology.

Previous postdoctoral positions are 'Tracking Viking-assisted dispersal of biodiversity using ancient DNA' and 'Ecological Correlates of Viking Age State Formation', funded jointly by the Newton Trust, Cambridge and the Royal Manor Project (Kongsgårdprosjektet Avaldsnes) at the University of Oslo. This latter project included the generation of new archaeobotanical datasets for chiefly trading settlements at the Brough of Deerness (Orkney) and Avaldsnes (Norway).

Other work comprises post-excavation analysis and publication for the Portus Project, Interamna Lirenas and for several excavations by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit.

Key Publications

Ballantyne, R.M., Lightfoot, E., Macheridis, S. and Williams, A. 2018. ‘Biological remains’ in D. Skre (ed.) The Royal Manor Project, Avaldsnes. Berlin: De Gruyter, 455509.

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.

 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.


Other Publications

Ballantyne, R.M. and Doshi, N. 2017. ‘Environment and fuel’, in Ferraby, R., Johnson, P., Millett, M. and Wallace, L. Thwing, Rudston and the Roman-period exploitation of the Yorkshire Wolds. Leeds: Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 181197. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ballantyne, R.M. and Ward, M. 2008. Smeircleit (Tipperton), Western Isles (South Uist parish), assessment survey. Discovery and Excavation in Scotland 9, 184–5.

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.

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.

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.

Ballantyne, R. M. 2004. Islands in wilderness: The changing medieval use of the East Anglian peat fens, England. Environmental Archaeology 9(2), 189–98.

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.