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I took my undergraduate and postgraduate training in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, specialising in prehistory and bioarchaeology (BA 1970, MA 1974, PhD 1975).
In Cambridge, I stayed on after my PhD as Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University Lecturer and Senior Tutor of my College (Clare Hall) until 1996, when I moved to be Chair and Head of Department of Archaeology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
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.
I am primarily a field archaeologist, with experience in many parts of the world, across Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe, the Far East and SW Asia, and have led major projects in Australia, Greece, Saudi Arabia and the UK, with particular interests in coastal prehistory and the evolution of terrestrial landscapes.
In the past decade I have combined these interests in the exploration of the submerged landscapes of the continental shelf, which made available as much as 20 million square kilometres of new territory during the periods of low sea-level that have persisted for most of human history on this planet, research which is now emerging as a new and pioneer field of archaeological investigation.
I have run field projects on these themes in many parts of the world and have currently active fieldwork interests and engagement in the Arabian Peninsula, Australia, East Africa, and various parts of Europe.
These projects have led me to work across the boundaries between Archaeology and the Life, Earth and Marine Sciences, and to engage in collaborative projects with many specialists across a wide intellectual spectrum both in the field, in the laboratory, and in the development of interpretive models.
See also project websites at:
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), University of Cambridge
2015 President, UISPP Commission on Coastal Prehistory and Submerged Landscapes
2014 Member of the Academia Europaea
2010 Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute (Römisch-Germanische Kommission)
1997 Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
1996 Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge
1989 Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge
1987 Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA)
1986 Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA)
2016 University of Auckland, New Zealand
2012 Institute of History and Philology, Academica Sinica, Taiwan, Republic of China (Fu Ssu-nien Memorial Lectures)
2010 University of Crete, Rethymnon Campus, Greece (Erasmus Exchange)
2009 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
2003 International Center for Japanese Studies, Nichibunken, Kyoto, Japan (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
1993 University of Cape Town, South Africa
1992 Australian National University, Australia
1972 University of Sydney, Australia
2016 Hood Fellow, University of Auckland
2011 Principal Investigator, European Research Council Advanced Grant 269586 DISPERSE
2009 Chairman, European Union Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Trans-domain Action TD0902 SPLASHCOS
2001 Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1992 Sir Robert Menzies Trust Australian Bicentennial Fellow, Australian National University
1986 Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
1974 British Academy Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
1973 Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Senior Research Student
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
Member: Departmental Research Committee
I was born and brought up in London, in the featureless suburb of Ilford, which lies on the eastern 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 Georgian architecture and the Downs and its green spaces overlooking the Avon Gorge and Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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 verse.
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 and archaeological sites – most memorably the Triassic fossils at Aust Cliff on the River Severn, the caves of Cheddar Gorge and the Iron Age hillforts of Somerset – 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 northern Greece with Eric Higgs, after seeing a BBC 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 College 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. In 2004 I moved to take up my present position at the University of York but Newcastle continues to be my home base.
I have world-wide interests in the evolution of terrestrial landscapes and the ways in which geological instabilities resulting from sea-level change and active tectonics at plate margins and in rifts have shaped human lives, livelihoods and long-term evolutionary trajectories.
I have particular interests in coastal prehistory, in mounded shell middens, which occur in their hundreds of thousands around the coastlines of the world as the most durable archaeological expression of past coastal settlement, in the biomolecular analysis of marine mollusc shells and other midden contents for information on palaeodiet and palaeoclimate, in the relationship between coastal archaeology and changes in sea-level and coastal geomorphology, and in the contribution of coastal environments and marine resources to developments in world prehistory.
These interests have led me on an intellectual and fieldwork Odyssey from the Mesolithic shell mounds of NW Europe to those of tropical Australia, to excavation of Palaeolithic caves in the mountains of NW Greece, to an interest in the role of active tectonics in shaping human landscapes in the Mediterranean, the Near East and Africa, 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 21 books and over 200 scientific papers on these themes, raised over £5 million of external peer-reviewed research 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, laboratory-based projects on the development of stable-isotope and biomolecular methods of analysis, most recently in the Coastal Shell Middens and Agricultural Origins Project, and renewed work on the Weipa shell mounds of the Cape York Peninsula.
These projects have given me considerable experience of 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, the nature of the relationship between what we call the 'present' and the 'past', and the relationship between archaeology and other historical and scientific disciplines.
I am currently Principal Investigator 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.
Harff, J., Bailey, G., Lüth, F. (Eds) 2016. Geology and Archaeology: Submerged Landscapes of the Continental Shelf. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 411, v+294 pp.
Alsharekh, A.M., Bailey, G.N. (Eds). 2014. Coastal Prehistory in Southwest Arabia and the Farasan Islands: 2004–2009 Field Investigations. Riyadh: Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (ISBN 978-603-8136-01-0). v+215 pp.
Bailey, G.N., Hardy, K., Camara, A. (Eds) 2013. Shell Energy: Mollusc Shells as Coastal Resources. Oxford: OxBow, x+320 pp.
Bailey, G.N., Spikins, P. (Eds). 2010 (2nd edition, 1st edition 2008). Mesolithic Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, xi+479 pp.
Bailey, G.N. (Ed.) 1997. Klithi: Palaeolithic Settlement and Quaternary Landscapes in Northwest Greece: 2 vols. Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, xxxii+682 pp.
Bailey, G.N., Parkington, J.E. (Eds). 1988 (Re-printed 2009). The Archaeology of Prehistoric Coastlines. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, vi +148 pp.
Bailey, G.N., Devès, M.H., Inglis, R.H., Meredith-Williams, M.G., Momber, G., Sakellariou, D., Sinclair, A.G.M., Rousakis, G., Al Ghamdi, S., Alsharekh, A.M. 2015. Blue Arabia: Palaeolithic and underwater survey in SW Saudi Arabia and the role of coasts in Pleistocene dispersal. Quaternary International 282: 42–57.
Winder, I., King, G.C.P., Devès, M., Bailey, G.N. 2013. Complex topography and human evolution: the missing link. Antiquity 87: 333–49.
Bailey, G.N., Reynolds, S.C, King, G.C.P. 2011. Landscapes of human evolution: models and methods of tectonic geomorphology and the reconstruction of hominin landscapes. Journal of Human Evolution 60 (3): 257–80, 2011.
Bailey, G.N., Galanidou, N. 2009. Caves, palimpsests and dwelling spaces: examples from the Upper Palaeolithic of south-east Europe. World Archaeology 41 (2): 215–24.
Bailey, G.N., Flemming, N. 2008. Archaeology of the continental shelf: marine resources, submerged landscapes and underwater archaeology. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 2153–65.
Bailey, G.N. 2007. Time perspectives, palimpsests and the archaeology of time. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26: 198–223.
Bailey, G.N., Flemming N., King, G.C.P., Lambeck, K., Momber, G., Moran, L., Al-Sharekh, A. & Vita-Finzi, C. 2007. Coastlines, submerged landscapes and human evolution: the Red Sea Basin and the Farasan Islands. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 2 (2): 127–60.
King, G.C.P., Bailey, G.N. 2006. Tectonics and human evolution. Antiquity 80: 265–86. (Winner of the Antiquity prize for best paper).
Milner, N., Craig, O.E., Bailey, G.N., Pedersen, K., Andersen S.H. 2004. Something fishy in the Neolithic? A re-evaluation of stable isotope analysis of Mesolithic and Neolithic coastal populations. Antiquity 78: 9–22.
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
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
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
Igor Gutierrez Zugasti, University of Cantabria, Spain
Yvette Hancock, Department of Physics, University of York
Karen Hardy, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Niklas Hausmann, Foundation for Research Technology, Crete and 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
As I am now on a full-time research contract, I no longer contribute to undergraduate teaching
(Note that this Programme is currently suspended, pending re-organisation)
Membership of Editorial Boards: