Mike Bamforth
Project Manager, POSTGLACIAL project

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Michael is a specialist in wetland archaeology and prehistoric woodworking and is currently the Project Manager for the POSTGLACIAL project at the University of York, investigating the site and environs of the early Mesolithic site of Star Carr. 

Michael began his career in commercial archaeology in 1998, working primarily in London and the East of England with several units including MoLAS, APS, SAS, and latterly at L – P : Archaeology from 2006 to 2011 as a Project Officer, Environmental Manager and then Fieldwork Manager. Since 2011, Michael has worked as a freelance consultant archaeologist specialising in the excavation and analysis of waterlogged wood, and is currently involved with on-going work at Must Farm, Flag Fen, Star Carr and Shardlow Quarry. He was an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham from 2011 to 2014, and is an accredited Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. 

Alongside his commercial career, he has also been involved in various university-led research projects in the UK and further afield. Other than Star Carr, these include the Iron Age Post Alignment at Beccles (University of Birmingham), Roman Noviodunum in Romania (UCL), the Ntusi Landscape Project in Uganda (UCL), and Marothodi in South Africa (University of Cape Town). He completed a BSc in Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and has worked as a wood specialist since 2005.



Selected publications

  • Bamforth, M. In Prep. The wood. In: B. R. Gearey, H. P. Chapman and A. Howard (eds.) Down By The River: archaeological, palaeoenvironmental and geoarchaeological studies of the river valleys of Suffolk. Oxbow, Oxford. 
  • Bamforth, M. In Prep. The wood. In: K. Krawiec, A. Howard and B. R. Gearey (eds.) The buried landscape of the middle Trent valley: excavations at Shardlow Quarry. Oxbow, Oxford. 
  • Hart, D., Allot, L., Bamforth, M., Bates, M., Jones, S., Marshall, P., Walker, M. and Weisskopf, A. 2015. Early Neolithic trackways in the Thames floodplain at Belmarsh, London Borough of Greenwich. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. doi: 10.1017/ppr.2015.1, published online 20 March 2015. 
  • Chapman, H.P., Gearey, B.R. ,Whitehouse, N., Marshall, P., Taylor, M., Bamforth, M. and Powlesland I. 2013. Archaeological investigations of a Late Neolithic site on Hatfield Moors. In: H. P. Chapman and B. R. Gearey (eds.) Modelling Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments in Wetlands: the hidden landscape archaeology of Hatfield and Thorne Moors. Oxbow, Oxford. Chapter 7: 119-130.
  • Gearey, B. R., Chapman, H. P., Howard, A. J., Krawiec, K., Bamforth, M., Fletcher, W. G., Hill, T. C. B., Marshall, P., Tetlow, E. and Tyers, I. 2011. The Beccles triple post-alignment, Beccles Marshes, Suffolk: excavation and palaeoenvironmental analyses of an Iron Age wetland site. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 77: 231-250. 
  • Krawiec, K., Gearey, B. R., Chapman, H. P., Hopla, E., Bamforth, M., Griffiths, C., Hill, T. C. B.,and Tyers, I. 2011. A late prehistoric timber alignment in the Waveney Valley, Suffolk: excavations at Barsham Marshes. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 10: 46-70. 
  • Bamforth, M. 2010. Aspects of wood, timber and woodworking at Flag Fen, 1995-2005. In: F. M. M. Pryor and M. Bamforth (eds.) Flag Fen, Peterborough, Excavation and Research 1995-2007. Oxbow, Oxford. 
  • Pryor, F. M. M. and Bamforth, M. 2010 (eds.) Flag Fen, Peterborough, Excavation and Research 1995-2007. Oxbow, Oxford. 
  • Bamforth, M., 2008. Wooden artefacts. In: M. Williams and M. Reid (eds.) Salt: life and industry. BAR British Series 456: 165-167.





My primary research interests lie in exploring the development of woodworking technologies in Britain, and the transfer of technical knowledge as expressed through woodworking. I also have a keen interest in landscape division, routeways and trackways, post alignments and bridges. 

My early years working in archaeology were strongly influenced by my time at Flag Fen, where I established an on-going collaborative relationship with Maisie Taylor, and developed my interests and expertise in wetland archaeology and the analysis of waterlogged wood. 

My principal regional focus is East Anglia, though I have worked extensively throughout the United Kingdom and in Northern Ireland. On a day-to-day basis, my work incorporates on- and off-site recording and sub-sampling of waterlogged wooden remains, and post-excavation assessment and analysis with a focus on species utilisation, woodworking technology, woodworking debris and tool mark analysis.



Must Farm: Cambridge Archaeological Unit have been excavating at Must Farm since 2006. During this time, substantial wooden remains have been encountered. These have included an assemblage of nine dug out boats from within a Bronze Age Palaeo-channel and an enigmatic pallisaded settlement site that came to an end in a catastrophic fire.


Flag Fen: I have been involved with Flag Fen since my first summer digging at the site in 1996. Sine then, I've overseen several seasons of research excavations on site and co-edited the most recent monograph alongside Francis Pryor. In 2011 I returned to the site as a Co Director with Dig Ventures to help deliver Europe's first crowd funded, crowd sourced archaeological excavation. 


Star Carr: I've been working on the ERC funded POSTGLACIAL project at Star Carr, under Prof. Nicky Milner since 2013. This has been a fantastic opportunity to be part of a team investigating a site with some of the earliest evidence for carpentry seen in the UK. 




Michael is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. 

Michael sits on the Flag Fen Archaeology Advisory Group.

Contact details

Mr Mike Bamforth
Project Manager, POSTGLACIAL project
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 323984