Geoff Bailey
Anniversary Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology



I spent the earlier part of my career in the Department of Archaeology in the University of Cambridge, as an undergraduate (BA, 1970), a research student (PhD, 1976), including a one year Royal Society Leverhulme Trust overseas studentship in the Department of Anthropology in the University of Sydney, Australia, and successively as British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1974), Assistant Lecturer (1976) and Lecturer (1981).

In 1990 I was elected as Fellow and Senior Tutor at Clare Hall, a College for Advanced Study in the University of Cambridge with an international community of Graduate Students and Visiting Fellows, and in 1996 as a Life Member.

In 1996 I moved to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as Professor of Archaeology and Head of Department. I took up my present position in York in 2004 as the holder of a new Anniversary Chair created to mark the University's 40th anniversary.

Departmental roles


  • Member: Departmental Research Committee



My principal research interests are in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology, Quaternary landscape history, palaeoeconomy, and the archaeology of prehistoric coastlines. 

I have world-wide interests in shell middens as the most common archaeological expression of past coastal settlement, and the prehistoric use of coastal environments and marine resources, the ways in which human populations interact with the geological instabilities of the physical landscape, and how that engagement has shaped our long-term evolution, expansion and social development.

I have investigated these themes through excavation and fieldwork innovation, development of new laboratory methods, and interpretive theory, conducted fieldwork in Africa, Australia, Britain, Denmark, Gibraltar, Greece, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, and run major field projects in Epirus (Northwest Greece: the Klithi Project), and the Farasan Islands (Saudi Arabia: the Southern Red Sea and DISPERSE Projects).

My current research is focussed on the analysis of human response to tectonically active environments, and the exploration of the submerged landscapes that were exposed on the continental shelf as prime territory for human occupation during the periods of low sea level that have dominated the Pleistocene and early Holocene, effectively most of human existence on this planet.  

A major preoccupation is the integration of long-term archaeological, geological, palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic records within a spatial and geographical framework, and the development of large-scale research programmes that facilitate international and interdisciplinary collaboration.   

Working at the boundaries between many different disciplines has also led me into a deeper interest in archaeological theories of time and the influence of time scale, time resolution and time perspective on archaeological interpretation and the relationship between archaeology and other disciplines.

Current projects

For up-to-date entries on my recent research projects, publications and activities, return to the top of the page and click on 'View my profile in the York Research Database' 



Abdullah Alsharekh, King Saud University

Nicholas Flemming, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

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

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

Garry Momber, Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology

Dimitris Sakellariou, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research

Anthony Sinclair, University of Liverpool

Claudio Vita-Finzi, Natural History Museum, London


Current PhD students




External activities



Editorial duties

Membership of Editorial Boards:

Invited talks and conferences



  • 2012  Geology and Archaeology: Submerged Landscapes of the Continental Shelf. Symposium 3.2 of the 34th International Geological Congress, Brisbane, Australia (August 2012, coorganiser with Jan Harff and Friedrich Lüth).
  • 2010-2012  Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf (SPLASHCOS) . Meetings at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza' (September 2012, coorganiser with Francesco Latino Chiocci), Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, Amersfoort (April 2012, coorganiser with Henk Weerts), University of Zadar (October 2011, coorganiser with Irena Radic Rossi),  Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin (April 2011, coorganiser with Friedrich Lüth), the Hydrobiological Station of Rhodes, Greece (October 2010, coorganiser with Dimitris Sakellariou), and the University of York (organiser, 2010).
  • 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)

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

Invited speaker

  • 2010, 2011  Annual Meeting 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
  • 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
  • 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

Overseas Lectures

  • 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, Paris
  • 2004  King AbdulAziz University, Jeddah
  • 2003  Nara Cultural Properties Research Institute, Japan, Universities of Okayama, Sendai and Tokyo
  • 2002  King Saud University, Riyadh 

Media coverage

Geoff in his office in 2010

Contact details

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

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