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Department of Archaeology



I am a landscape archaeologist and geoarchaeologist with experience spanning academic research and commercial archaeology.

I began my professional career in 2007 as a field archaeologist with Oxford Archaeology after my undergraduate degree at the University of Winchester. In 2010 I gained an MSc in Geoarchaeology at the University of Reading, and went on to complete my PhD at Reading on human-environment interactions in Irish raised mires in 2015.

My subsequent career has included postdoctoral research at the University of Reading and extensive work in the commercial sector: as a geoarchaeologist for ARCA and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), then as project Manager for MOLA, and more recently as a freelance geoarchaeologist and archaeological consultant, a role I continue outside my current research at the McDonald Institute.

In 2023 I joined the McDonald Institute as a Senior Research Associate to explore the landscape archaeology of the Fenland region.


My primary research interest is in the interaction between Holocene environmental change and patterns of later prehistoric (Neolithic to Iron Age) human activity in shaping the evolution of landscapes, both past and present, in the British Isles. My work has focused on the synthesis of multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental and archaeological datasets and the development of integrated models to visualise past landscape change, both to understand these complex processes at large (landscape) spatial and chronological (e.g. millennial to centennial) scales, and to contextualise archaeological remains at smaller spatial (e.g. site) and chronological scales.

Having previously worked on lowland raised bogs in central Ireland and the former wetlands of the Lower Thames Valley in London, Kent and Essex, my current research focuses on synthesising the landscape archaeology of the Fenland region of Eastern England.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Peer reviewed journal articles
Stastney, P., Scaife, R., Gonzalez Carretero, L., Whittaker, J.E., Cameron, N., Alison, E. (2023) Modelling Prehistoric Topography and Vegetation in the Lower Thames Valley, UK: Palaeoenvironmental Context for Wetland Archaeology and Evidence for Neolithic Landnám from North Woolwich. Environmental Archaeology 28(3), 133-149.

Stastney, P., Scaife, R., Giorgi, J., Whittaker, J.E. (2022) Modelling Vegetation Cover and Wetland Expansion in the Lower Thames Valley, UK: Multi-Proxy Records from Littlebrook Power Station, Kent. Landscapes 22(2), 99-112.

Stastney, P. and Black, S. (2020) Bog microtopography and the climatic sensitivity of testate amoeba communities: implications for transfer function-based water table reconstructions.  Microbial Ecology 80, 309-321.

Stastney, P. (2020) A question of scale? Understanding Irish peatland archaeology in relation to Holocene environmental change. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 120C, 51-81.

Guido, M.A., Molinari, C., Moneta, V., Branch, N., Black, S., Simmonds, M., Stastney, P., Montanari, C. (2020) Climate and vegetation dynamics of the Northern Apennines (Italy) during the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. Quaternary Science Reviews 231.

Stastney, P., Young, D.S. and Branch, N.P. (2018) The identification of Late Holocene bog bursts at Littleton bog, Ireland: ecohydrological changes display complex climatic and non-climatic drivers. The Holocene 28(4), 570-582.

Branch, N., Riddiford, N. and Stastney, P. (2015) Pollen analysis. In Bradley, R., Lewis, J., Mullin, D. and Branch, N. ‘Where water wells up from the earth’: excavations at the findspot of the late Bronze Age hoard from Broadward, Shropshire. The Antiquaries Journal 95, 21-64.

Swindles, G.T., Lawson, I.T., Matthews, I.P., Blaauw, M., Daley, T.J., Charman, D.J., Roland, T.P., Plunkett, G., Schettler, G., Gearey, B.R., Turner, T.E., Rea, H.A., Roe, H.M., Amesbury, M.J., Chambers, F.M., Holmes, J., Mitchell, F.J.G., Blackford, J., Blundell, A., Branch, N., Holmes, J., Langdon, P., McCarroll, J., McDermott, F., Oksanen, P.O., Pritchard, O., Stastney, P., Stefanini, B., Young, D., Wheeler, J., Becker, J. and Armit, I. (2013) Centennial-scale climate change in Ireland during the Holocene. Earth Science Reviews, 126. pp. 300-320. 

Chapters and monograph contributions
Leary, J., Jamieson, E. and Stastney, P. (2022) Afterword: The Round Mounds Project, in Barber, R. (Ed.) The Marlborough Mound: Prehistoric Mound, Medieval Castle, Georgian Garden. Boydell & Brewer, pp. 19-24.

Nicholls, M. with Stastney, P. (2019) Radiocarbon dating, in Howell, I., Blackmore, L, Cotton, J and Henderson, M., A Bronze Age barrow cemetery at Andover Airfield, Penton Mewsey, near Weyhill, Hampshire: Excavations 2007-10. Museum of London Archaeology Studies Series 35, Museum of London Archaeology, London, pp. 77-80.

Stastney, P. with Watson, N. (2019) Geoarchaeological monolith samples, in Barber, A., Hardy, A. and Mudd, A., The Prehistoric Archaeology of the A477 St Clears to red Roses Road Improvement Scheme 2012. Cotswold Archaeology Monograph 12, Cotswold Archaeology, Cirencester, pp.107-8.

Stastney, P. (2013) The late prehistoric ‘Dark Age’ in Ireland and climate fluctuation: buffering strategies and the agency of the environment. In: van der Wilt, E. M. and Martínez Jiménez, J. (eds.) Tough Times: The Archaeology of Crisis and Recovery. BAR Publishing, Oxford, pp. 115-124.

Other articles
Stastney, P., Spurr, G., Scaife, R., Whittaker, J.E., Allison, E. (2020) Reconstructing the Prehistoric Landscapes of Littlebrook Power Station: Holocene sedimentary sequences for the Lower Thames Estuary at Dartford. Archaeologia Cantiana 141, 199-212.

Jamieson, E., Stastney, P. and Leary, J. (2019) Dating Skipsea Mound. Prehistoric Yorkshire 56.

Leary, J., Jamieson, E. and Stastney, P. (2018) Normal for Normans? Exploring the Large Round Mounds of England. Current Archaeology 337, 18-24.

Commissioned research reports
Yendell, V., Stastney, P. and Spurr, G. (2022) Deposit modelling and urban characterisation: past, present, and future of sub-surface deposit modelling in Historic Environment Records. Historic England Report (Discovery, Innovation and Science in the Historic Environment) Series no. 88/2022

Stastney, P. (2022) (Don’t let it) Slip through the net: CITiZAN Investigations of Fish Traps at Sandwich Bay, Kent. Part III: Geoarchaeological Desk Based Assessment. Commissioned by Historic England (project 8453).

Other Professional Activities

Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, 2020-present

Job Titles

Senior Research Associate, The McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research

General Info

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

Contact Details

ps964 [a]
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street


Person keywords: 
Landscape studies
Deposit modelling
Holocene environments
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Iron Age
Other Late Prehistory
Other Prehistory