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Personal profile

Research Interests

Mesolithic Ireland

Niche Construction Theory




Dating and Chronological Methods



Research Statement

PROJECT TITLE: Niche Construction and Plant Use in the Mesolithic

My research project focuses on examining the land-use and plant-use of Ireland’s first Mesolithic (8000BC-4000BC) settlers within a broader European context. Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental evidence has recently been used to suggest that some Mesolithic “hunter-gatherers” in Europe actively managed woodlands but this has never been tested in Ireland. My research seeks to redress this situation by combining extant archaeobotanical data with new, high-resolution archaeobotanical and palynological analyses. The results will be interpreted using niche construction theory to explore the nature, impact and timing of Ireland’s first people’s palaeoenvironmental interactions, substantially improving our understanding of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer settlement patterns and subsistence strategies.



2016 AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship

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Research Output

  • 1 Chapter
  • 1 Other chapter contribution

The Mesolithic of the River Bann

Basell, L., Perkins, J. & Small, J., 2019, (Accepted) Late Quaternary Landscape Evolution, Palaeoenvironments and Human Occupation in the North of Ireland. INQUA 2019 Field Guide ed. Quaternary Research Association, (QRA Field Guides).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

  • A pollen study of a Late-Mesolithic/Early Neolithic 'platform' on Derragh Island, County Longford

    Perkins, J., 2018, The Quaternary of the Irish Midlands. McGlynn, G., Stuijts, I. & Stefanini, B. (eds.). Dublin: Irish Quaternary Association, p. 161-169 (Irish Quaternary Association Field Guide).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    • 2 Participation in Festival/Exhibition
    • 1 Hosting a school group or open day
    • 1 Oral presentation

    NI Science Festival 2019

    Jonathan Small (Organiser), Robert Barratt (Organiser), Marie-Therese Barrett (Organiser), Michael O'Mahony (Organiser), Emma Hannah (Organiser), Clare Privilege (Organiser), James Perkins (Organiser), Georgia Vince (Participant), Adam Purvis (Participant), Kirsten Cottey (Participant), Lauren Carberry O'Neill (Participant), Barrie Hartwell (Contributor), Siobhán McDermott (Contributor)
    23 Feb 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in Festival/Exhibition

    Niche construction in Mesolithic Ireland

    James Perkins (Speaker), Laura Basell (Contributor), Gill Plunkett (Contributor)
    08 Sep 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

    A Taste of Prehistory

    Laura Basell (Organiser), James Perkins (Contributor), Jonathan Small (Contributor), Georgia Vince (Participant)
    23 Feb 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in Festival/Exhibition

    Archaeology for All: Event 2 at The Giant's Ring

    Laura Basell (Organiser), Michael O'Mahony (Organiser), Jonathan Small (Organiser), Kirsten Cottey (Organiser), Lauren Carberry O'Neill (Organiser), Adam Purvis (Organiser), Georgia Vince (Organiser), Dan Clarke (Host), James Perkins (Contributor), Alastair Ruffell (Contributor), Stine Carlsson (Contributor), Barrie Hartwell (Contributor), Tomasz Ciesielski (Presenter)
    19 May 2018

    Activity: Other activity typesHosting a school group or open day