Dr Ben Elliott
Post Doctoral Research Associate

Profile

Biography

A Post Doctoral Researcher based between London and York, who is lucky enough to be working on some fantastic projects including SoundTracks at Creswell Crags, POSTGLACIAL at Star Carr and Flixton Island, and Ice Age Island on Jersey. I started out with an interest in the ways people understood and engaged with animals in the Mesolithic, then became interested in the way people use animal materials, then became interested in sounds animals make within a landscape - and this is where it has taken me! 

https://york.academia.edu/BElliott

Career

2006-2008: BA (Hons.) Archaeology, Univeristy of York

2008-2009: MA Mesolithic Archaeology, Univeristy of York

2009-2012: PhD Antlerworking Practices in Mesolithic Britain, University of York

2012-2013: POSTGLACIAL Project Archivist, IfA/HLF Workplace Learning Bursary

2013-2014: Teaching Fellow, University of Leicester

2015-Present: PDRA SoundTracks Project, University of York/British Library

2015-Present: POSTGLACIAL Project Archivist/Osseous Technology Analyst, University of York

Research

Overview

  • Mesolithic Europe
  • People and Animals
  • Sound Archaeology
  • Osseous Techology
  • Experimental Archaeology
  • Digital Archiving

Projects

SoundTracks: Acoustic Landscapes in the Past and Present

What did the past sound like? What can we learn from listening? Sound Tracks explores how sound shaped past human experience in a very distinctive landscape; Creswell Gorge on the Derbyshire /Nottinghamshire border. Using archaeology, palaeoecology, sound recording, text and oral histories it tracks the acoustic history of the area over 50,000 years. Our collaboration with sound artists, the British Library and the Creswell Heritage Trust will create a rich sound archive and site-specific installations, using these for research and as a powerful medium for wider communication. Leverhulme Trust funded Research Project.

POSTGLACIAL: Hunter-gatherer Lifeways After The Ice

A five-year ERC funded research project focussed on the sites of Star Carr and Flixton Island. This project aims to better understand what life was like for hunter gatherers after the end of the Ice Age, c. 10,000-8000 BC. The research will focus on recovering climatic and environmental data from the peat and linking this with evidence for human occupation in Britain, shortly after the end of the last Ice Age.

Materialising Doggerland: North Sea Connections in the Mesolithic

This workshop will examine the Mesolithic archaeology and palaeogeography of the North Sea Basin by bringing together current researchers in this field for the first time, to better understand the dynamic landscape histories of this region. When viewed through the lens of prehistory, the North Sea as an ocean can be seen as a relatively recent development. From Palaeolithic times onwards, this region consisted of a low lying area of land connecting the current continent with the British Isles. From 10,000 BC onwards, rising sea levels triggered a process of profound landscape change. These changes were often gradual, but sometimes played out in dramatic and swift transformations; forming a complex and dynamic system of shrinking islands, archipelagos and lagoons before finally forming the coastlines that we recognise today.

Archaeologically, this period of transition from Doggerland to North Sea falls within the Mesolithic period. The Mesolithic inhabitants of Doggerland’s rich and bountiful landscapes dealt with these changes, adapted to the challenges and opportunities they presented, and eventually were forced to abandon what is now known as Doggerland. Today, the North Sea bed provides archaeologists with the evidence of these past inhabitants and their landscapes. Geoarchaeological research approaches in the English waters as well as in front of the Belgian, Dutch and German coastline have enabled the reconstruction of these past landscape and ecologies, while artefacts and bones brought ashore in fishing nets and through sand suppletion enable us to catch a glimpse of Doggerland’s human inhabitants, their culture and lifeways.

Ice Age Island

The dramatic landscape of Jersey, its coastline and inland landscape of valleys and fields, has been shaped by long time processes of climate change. The island has an exceptional geological record for the Ice Age documenting over a quarter of a million years of successive changes in the planet’s climate, rising and falling sea levels as well as evidence for the humans and animals which were able to survive in northern Europe during this time. Ice Age Island is a three year project to explore Jersey’s deep prehistoric past, from exploration of the island caves, through the archaeological excavation of hunter gather camps preserved in the island’s interior, we aim to discover why this remarkable landmass attracted Neanderthal and modern humans during the deep past.  This project is sponsored by Capco Trust and supported by the Tourism Development Fund.

Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic

The Star Carr: Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic project aims to explore the sound world of Mesolithic Britain, focussing on the famous Star Carr archaeological dig in North Yorkshire. This collaboration between archeologist Ben Elliott and sound artist Jon Hughes aims to build up an archive of sounds relating to life at Star Carr, thorugh experimental repliation of activities documented within the archaeological record, and the sourcing of environmental recordings which correlate to the palaeoenvironmental evidence from the surrounding landscape. This archive will then be used in a range of different ways; for a touring sound installation in the summer of 2013, to provide ambient sound for aa exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum and to inspire new forms of musical composition. This project has been supported by the Yorkshire Museum, York Festival of Ideas, Vale of Pickering Research Trust and British Library.

Ben Elliot fieldwork 218

Contact details

Dr Ben Elliott
Research Associate
Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
York
YO1 7EP