Geoff Bailey
Anniversary Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology

Profile

Biography

I was born and brought up as a Londoner in Ilford, a featureless suburb which lies on the borderland between the great metropolis and rural Essex, where one was constantly beckoned towards a more exciting world beyond the immediate horizon. It was later renamed Redbridge, a fact that I am reminded of whenever I use the London Underground and look at the map of the Central Line heading East.

When I was 10, my family moved to Bristol, and I spent my teenage years at Bristol Grammar School and came to know a very different part of England, with some of the finest and most varied landscapes in the country on all sides of a great city with a colourful maritime history, and a very fine combination of green spaces, Georgian architecture and Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon Gorge.  

As I prepared to go to University, my family returned to the London area, and I went on a year of travels before going up to Cambridge, where I had been offered a College Scholarship largely on the strength of my ability to translate Latin prose and convert the second leader of the Times editorial into Greek iambic pentameters.

My archaeological interests have a mixed genealogy, an early enthusiasm for solving jigsaw puzzles and making clay models of dinosaurs almost before I could read and write, regular cycling trips during my Bristol years into the surrounding countryside in search of geological oddities, most memorably the Triassic fossils at Aust Cliff on the River Severn, a sixth-form specialisation in Ancient History and Classical languages, which offered an entry into a different universe beyond the seemingly rather claustrophobic confines of the modern world, and a youthful interest in human evolution and the writings of Charles Darwin.  

In 1967, before going up to University, I invited myself onto a Palaeolithic cave excavation in Greece with Eric Higgs, after seeing a television programme 'The Springs of St. George' about his work. This, I thought, would be a good way of hitching a ride to see some of the places I had learned about in my classical education, and also of discovering if archaeology involved anything more than the study of rather dull and dusty objects and holes in the ground – social anthropology was then my first choice of University subject. That experience opened up a new vista of different ideas, peoples, times and places, which has informed my world view, interests and career ever since.

In Cambridge, I stayed for 29 years, as Undergraduate, Research Student, Research Fellow, University Lecturer, College Fellow and Senior Tutor, except for spells of overseas fieldwork including a year in Australia during my PhD research, until I decided it was time to take up a new challenge, moving to the Chair of Archaeology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1996.

Newcastle is a distinctive northern city with its own proud traditions and identity, reminding me of my Bristol days with its unique city-scape and Town Moor, its Tyne bridges marking a famous history of engineering invention associated with the names of Stephenson and Armstrong, and its magnificent countryside on every hand including the hidden gem of the Northumberland coast. Newcastle continues to be my home base.

In 2004 I moved to take up my present position at the University of York as the holder of a new Anniversary Chair created to mark the University's 40th anniversary.     

Career

Appointments

2004 Anniversary Chair of Archaeology, University of York

1996 Chair of Archaeology and Head of Department, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

1990 Senior Tutor, Clare Hall, Cambridge

1981 Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

1976 Assistant Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge

1974 Research Fellow (Early History of Agriculture Project)

Elected Memberships

2014 Member of the Academia Europaea

2010 Corresponding Member of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Römisch-Germanische Kommission

1997 Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne

1989 Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge (Life Member 1996)

1987 Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries

1986 Member of the Institute for Archaeologists

Research Fellowships

2011 Principal Investigator, European Research Council Advanced Grant 

2009 Chairman, European Union Cooperation in Science and Technology Trans-domain Action TD0902 

2001 Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

1992 Sir Robert Menzies Trust Australian Bicentennial Fellowship, ANU

1986 Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship, University of Cambridge (Klithi Project)

1974 British Academy Research Fellowship, University of Cambridge

1973 Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Senior Research Studentship

1971 Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Studentship in Overseas Research, University of Sydney

1970 Major State Studentship for Postgraduate Research, University of Cambridge

1967 Open Scholarship in Classics, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge 

Research Panel Membership

2009 ERC Advanced Grant Panel SH6: The Study of the Human Past: Archaeology, History and Memory

2006 AHRC Convening Panel: Landscape and Environment Strategic Programme

2004 AHRC Peer Review College

2000 AHRB Postgraduate Studentships Panel for Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

1985 SERC Science Based Archaeology Committee (SBAC)

Degrees

1976 PhD (Cantab.) 'The Role of Shell Middens in Prehistoric Economies'

1974 MA (Cantab.)

1970 BA (Cantab.) in Archaeology (1st Class)

 

Departmental roles

Member: Departmental Research Committee 

Research

Overview

I have world-wide interests in all aspects of coastal prehistory, in shell middens as the most durable archaeological expression of past coastal settlement, and in the ways in which coastal environments, marine resources and geologically unstable landscapes more generally have shaped human lives, livelihoods and long-term evolutionary trajectories.

This theme has led me on an intellectual and fieldwork Odyssey from the Mesolithic shell mounds of Europe to those of subtropical Australia, to excavations of Palaeolithic caves in the mountains of northern Greece, to an interest in the role of active tectonics in shaping human landscapes at tectonic plate boundaries in the Mediterranean and the Near East and in the African Rift,  and most recently to explorations of Palaeolithic archaeology, shell mounds and submerged landscapes in SW Arabia, the Farasan Islands and the southern Red Sea.

I have published 16 books and >150 scientific papers on these themes, raised £5 million of external peer-reviewed funding, and coordinated major field projects, in particular the Klithi Project on the Paleolithic landscapes of NW Greece, the Africa-Arabia Connections Project and the Southern Red Sea Project.  I have also engaged in many smaller projects across the world on these and related issues, notably the Howick and Northumberland Rock Art Projects in Northumberland during my time at Newcastle, renewed work on the Weipa shell mounds of the Cape York Peninsula, and laboratory-based projects on the development of stable-isotope and biomolecular methods of analysis.  

These projects have given me considerable experience and insight into the problems of integrating long-term archaeological, geological, palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic records within a spatial and geographical framework, and the challenges of mounting large-scale research programmes that facilitate international and interdisciplinary collaboration, especially across the science-humanities boundary. 

This in its turn has led me into a deeper interest in archaeological theories of time and the influence of time scale, time resolution and time perspective on archaeological data, observations and interpretation, and the relationship between archaeology and other disciplines. 

I am currently PI of the ERC DISPERSE Project, and Chairman of a European network (COST Action TD0902 SPLASHCOS), which has brought together archaeologists, marine geoscientists, heritage managers and industrial interests from across Europe to promote research and training on the submerged landscapes of the continental shelf, their importance in the larger picture of world prehistory, their potential for providing new information about sea-level change and its past and future human impact, and the need to better manage the underwater cultural heritage in the face of rapidly expanding natural and man-made threats to its survival.   

Current projects

For additional details on my recent research projects, publications and activities, click on 'View my profile in the York Research Database' at the top of this page 

  • 2011–2013 Enhancing Cultural Heritage for Mining Operations, directed by Patricia Fanning (Macquarie University) and Simon Holdaway (University of Auckland), and funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects Program and Rio Tinto Alcan Proprietary Limited
  • 2011–2013 Climatic Change and Coastal Settlement in Northern Spain, funded by the Royal Society (Newton Fellowship, with Igor Gutierrez Zugasti)

Previous Major Projects

  • 2008 British Academy: The Southern Red Sea Project (with A. Alsharekh, G. Momber)
  • 2007 Leverhulme Trust: Submerged Landscape Archaeology of the Continental Shelf (with P.Spikins, G. Momber)
  • 2007 AHRC: Underwater Cave Excavation in Gibraltar (with C. Finlayson, J. Rodriguez-Vidal, J. Carrion, G. Momber)
  • 2003 NERC: Africa-Arabia Connections, Coastal Environments, Tectonics and Human Dispersals (with N. Flemming, G.C.P. King, K. Lambeck, C. Vita-Finzi, A. Alsharekh)
  • 2003 British Academy Exchange with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • 2002 AHRB: Northumberland Rock Art, the Beckensall Archive (with C. Waddington, H. Ayestaran, G. Goodrick, A. Mazel)
  • 2002 AHRB: Coastal Shell Middens and Agricultural Origins in Atlantic Europe (with N. Milner and O. Craig)
  • 2000 HLF and English Heritage: Howick Coastal Archaeological Project (with C. Waddington and N. Milner).
  • 1999 Leverhulme Trust: Late Stone Age Hunter-Gatherer Exploitation of Riverine Resources in the Lesotho Highlands (with P. Mitchell).
  • 1995 NERC: Palaeopathology and the Origins and Consequences of Horse Domestication (with L. Jeffcot, M. Levine, K. Whitwell) 
  • 1995 Leverhulme Trust: Aquatic Ecosystems and Complex Societies, the Nile and its Floodplain (with R. Luff)
  • 1993 AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies), Menzies Trust: Geoarchaeological Exploration of the Weipa Shell Mounds (with J. Chappell, R. Cribb)
  • 1992 British Academy, EC Directorate XII (Archaeomedes): Palaeoenvironmental and Landscape Change in NW Greece (with S. van der Leeuw, G. King, C. Turner, M.-F. Sánchez-Goñi)
  • 1992 Leverhulme Trust: Non-Linear Dynamic Modelling of Human Ecology in NW Greece (with N. Winder)   
  • 1983 British Academy, SERC: the Klithi Project, Greece (with C. Gamble, P. Carter, H. Higgs, C. Roubet, G. King, M. Macklin, C. Turner, J. Woodward, K. Willis and 22 others)
  • 1983 SERC: Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Coastal Palaeoconomies (with N.J. Shackleton, R. Switsur and M. Deith)
  • 1979 British Academy: Palaeolithic investigations in northern Greece (with C. Gamble, P. Carter and H. Higgs)
  • 1979 SERC: Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Molluscs (with N.J. Shackleton and M. Deith)
  • 1977 British Academy: Midden Analysis of the Norsminde Shell Midden Denmark
  • 1972 Royal Society and AIAS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies): The Weipa Shell Mounds

 

Research group(s)

The DISPERSE team is a seven-strong group located in York and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, with a wider membership of external specialists and advisors. See the DISPERSE website for full details

The SPLASHCOS network comprises a Management Committee of 58 archaeologists, marine geoscientists and heritage specialists from 25 European States, and a wider participating membership 

Grants

(Since 2000)

Collaborators

Abdullah Alsharekh, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

Saud Al Ghamdi, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia

Oliver Craig, Department of Archaeology, University of York

Patricia Fanning, Macquarie University, Australia

Nicholas Flemming, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Nena Galanidou, University of Crete, Greece

Yvette Hancock, Department of Physics, University of York

Simon Holdaway, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Geoffrey C.P. King, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France

Kurt Lambeck, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

Nicky Milner, Department of Archaeology, University of York

Garry Momber, Maritime Archaeology Trust, Southampton

Eelco Rohling, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University

Dimitris Sakellariou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece

Anthony Sinclair, Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool

Penny Spikins, Department of Archaeology, University of York

Claudio Vita-Finzi, Natural History Museum, London

Supervision

Current PhD students

Teaching

Undergraduate

As I am now on a full-time research contract, I no longer contribute to undergraduate teaching 

Postgraduate

MSc in Coastal and Marine Archaeology 

(Note that this Programme is currently suspended, pending re-organisation)

External activities

Memberships

 

Editorial duties

Membership of Editorial Boards:

Invited talks and conferences

 

International Lectures (by special invitation)

  • 2012  Fu Ssu-nien memorial lectures, Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, Republic of China
  • 2011  Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Athens
  • 2007  Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France. Advanced Seminar.
  • 2004  King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah
  • 2003  Nara Cultural Properties Research Institute, Japan, Universities of Okayama, Sendai and Tokyo
  • 2002  King Saud University, Riyadh

Conference Organisation

  • 2013. Diversity and Dynamics in the Human-Sea Relation. Trondheim, Norway, 2–7 October 2013. Marine Ventures International Symposium, 2013 (Member of Scientific Committee).
  • 2013. Under the Sea: Archaeology and Palaeolandscapes. SPLASHCOS final open conference. University of Szczecin, Poland. (2327 September, co-organiser with Jan Harff, Andrzej Witkowski and others.
  • 2013. Offshore Industry and Archaeology: a Creative Relationship. SPLASHCOS open meeting. University of Southern Denmark and the Offshore Center, Esbjerg, Denmark (1416 March, coorganiser with Thijs Maarleveld).  
  • 2012. SPLASHCOS: Progress Meeting and Workshop on Sea-Level Change. University of Rome 'La Sapienza' (2628 September, coorganiser with Francesco Latino Chiocci)
  • 2012. Geology and Archaeology: Submerged Landscapes of the Continental Shelf. Symposium 3.2 of the 34th International Geological Congress, Brisbane, Australia (5–10 August, coorganiser with Jan Harff and Friedrich Lüth).
  • 2012. SPLASHCOS: Research Funding and Planning, Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, Amersfoort, the Netherlands (24-25 April, coorganiser with Henk Weerts)
  • 2011. SPLASHCOS: Progress Meeting. University of Zadar, Croatia (34 October 2011, coorganiser with Irena Radic Rossi)
  • 2011. SPLASHCOS: Archaeological and Geoscientific Approaches to Submerged Landscapes. Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin (1112 April, coorganiser with Friedrich Lüth), 
  • 2010. SPLASHCOS: Review and Research Planning. Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes, Greece (4–5 October, co-organiser with Dimitris Sakellariou)
  • 2010. SPLASHCOS: Introductory Meeting and Overview. York (10–11 March, organiser) 
  • 2009. SPLASHCOS: Kick-off Meeting. Brussels (4 November)
  • 2008. Shell Energy: Prehistoric Coastal Resource Strategies. International workshop, Dakar, Senegal (coorganiser with Karen Hardy and Abdoulaye Camara)
  • 2006. Coastal Geoarchaeology: the Research of Shell Mounds. UISPP, XV World Congress, Lisbon, Portugal (session coorganiser with Marisa Afonso Coutinho)
  • 2005. Shell Middens and Coastal Resources along the Atlantic Façade. International workshop, York, UK (coorganiser with Nicky Milner and Oliver Craig)
  • 2004. Archaeology of Coastlines and Shell Middens in Europe. European Association of Archaeology Conference, Lyon, France (session coorganiser with Nicky Milner and Oliver Craig)
  • 2001. Archaeological Sciences 2001, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK (coorganiser with Matthew Collins and Rob Shiel)
  • 2001. Host and co-organiser in Newcastle of the annual conference of the Institute of Field Archaeologists, April 2001
  • 1998. Co-organiser of Human Ecodynamics, AEA (Association for Environmental Archaeology) annual conference, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, with Ruth Charles & Nick Winder
  • 1995–96. Joint organiser of Garrod Research Seminars, Cambridge, international and interdisciplinary series on Natural & Social Landscapes, with Sander van der Leeuw.
  • 1994. Co-organiser of First International Conference on the Palaeolithic Archaeology of Greece and Adjacent Areas, Ioannina, Greece, with Eugenia Adam, Eleni Kotzambopoulou, Catherine Perlès, Eleni Panagopoulou & Kostas Zachos
  • 1979. Economic Archaeology Conference, Cambridge, with Alison Sheridan.

Keynote Speaker

  • 2011 UNESCO Scientific Colloquium on Factors Impacting Underwater Cultural Heritage, Brussels.  
  • 2011 International Conference on Archaeology and Predictive Modelling, Centre for Underwater Archaeology, Ahtopol, Bulgaria.
  • 2010 IGCP 521-INQUA 501 Black Sea-Mediterranean Corridor during the Last 30 ky: Sea level Change and Human Adaptation: Sixth plenary meeting, Rhodes, Greece. Plenary speaker
  • 2009  Association of Australian Archaeologists Annual Conference, Adelaide, Australia. Plenary speaker
  • 2009 European Association of Archaeology Annual Conference, Riva del Garda, Italy. Underwater Archaeology and the Future of Submerged European Prehistory. Session keynote 
  • 2008  First International Workshop on Prehistoric Research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • 2007  Society for American Archaeology Annual Conference, Austin, Texas, Archaic and Mesolithic across the Atlantic Divide. Session discussant
  • 2006  Society for American Archaeology Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Shell Mounds in America. Session discussant
  • 2003  Society for American Archaeology Annual Conference, Milwaukee, USA Time Perspectivism and Archaeology. Session discussant
  • 1997 Tectonics and the Ecology of Human Evolution. International Symposium on Flood Basalts, Rifting and Paleoclimates in the Ethiopian Rift and the Afar Depression, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 9th February.
  • 1993. The Weipa Shell Mounds: Cultural or Natural? Guest speaker, Australian Archaeological Association, Annual Conference, Darwin.
  • 1988. British School at Athens Archaeological Science Symposium, guest speaker and discussant, Athens, Greece.

Invited Speaker

  • 2014 Prehistory in the Farasan Islands: Above and Below the Sea. International Conference: European Archaeologists in Arabia: Discovering the Kingdom’s Heritage, National Conference Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 11 May.
  • 2014 Dynamic Coasts, Submerged Landscapes and Arabian Dispersals. Conference on ‘Green Arabia: Human Prehistory at the Crossroads of Continents’.  St. John’s College, Oxford, 4 April
  • 2013 Submerged Coastlines, Archipelagos and the Long-term History of Coastal Dispersal. ‘Marine Ventures Symposium, Trondheim, Norway’, 3 October
  • 2013 Africa-Arabia Connections: Earliest Human Dispersals and Geoarchaeological Exploration of the Continental Shelf of the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia (with Dimitris Sakellariou, et al.). SPLASHCOS final conference, Szczecin, Poland,  ‘Under the Sea: Archaeology and Palaeolandscapes’, 25 September.
  • 2013 Sea Level Change, the Coastal Shelf and Submerged Archaeological Sites in the Context of the Great Human Dispersals. Calpe 2013 conference: Caves as Archives: the Rock of Gibraltar as a Case Study. Gibraltar, 15 September.
  • 2013 Submerged Landscapes and Marine Geosciences: an Archaeological Perspective. ‘All at Sea’ Conference, York, 4 July, 2013.
  • 2013 The Evolution of the Red Sea as a Human Habitat in the Quaternary Period. International Workshop on ‘The Red Sea, its Origin, Structure and Environment’, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia February.
  • 2012 Submerged Prehistory: the Missing Piece in the Puzzle. Wenner-Gren Workshop on ‘Island Archaeology and the Origins of Seafaring in the Eastern Mediterranean’, Reggo Calabria, Italy, October. 
  • 2010, 2011 Annual Meetings of Programme Chairs of COST Domain, Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH), Brussels
  • 2008  Society of Africanist Archaeologists, Symposium on In and Out of Africa, Perspectives on Late Pleistocene Population Dispersals, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.
  • 2008 The Persian Gulf in History and Prehistory, Durham, UK.
  • 2007  International workshop on Climate and Humans, Seneca Foundation, Murcia, Spain
  • 2007  Calpe Conference, Gibraltar, People in the Mediterranean - a History of Interaction
  • 2007  McDonald Institute Conference, The Global Origins of Seafaring, Cambridge, UK
    2006. EFCHED Finale, British Museum, London
  • 2005  Society for American Archaeology Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, session on Human Impact on Past Marine Ecosystems
  • 2005  International workshop on Early Human Impact on Mega-Mollusks (EHIM), Venezuela
  • 2004 International workshop on Continental Rifting, Human Dispersion and Natural Hazards, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Germany
  • 2003  International workshop on North Sea Submarine Prehistory, London, UK
  • 2002  CHAGS 9 (9th International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies), Edinburgh
  • 1986. British School at Athens Centenary Conference.  Invited public lecture, Athens 

Media coverage

Geoff in his office in 2010

Contact details

Prof. Geoff Bailey
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor
York
YO1 7EP

Tel: (44) 1904 323917
Fax: (44) 1904 323902