Dr Scott Timpany


Job Title/Role

Programme Leader for Undergraduate Archaeology

Scott completed his undergraduate degree in Geography at Coventry University in 1999 and followed this with an MSc by research in Quaternary Studies, also at Coventry University in 2001. Here he investigated the presence and human-environmental interactions of Early Mesolithic people on the Mizen Peninsula, Co. Cork, through palynological study. Scott went on to complete a PhD in Archaeology at The University of Reading in 2005 on the palaeoecological reconstruction of submerged forests along the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. This involved the excavation of these relict forests, which dated from the Mesolithic through to the Bronze Age, and the study of the intertidal peats within which they are buried through studies of pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs, wood identification, dendrochronology and waterlogged plant remains.

Whilst finishing his PhD, Scott went to work in the commercial sector for Headland Archaeology Ltd from 2004-2012. Here he worked on a large number of developer-funded commercial projects across the UK and Ireland, ranging from single sites to road schemes and wind farm developments containing multiple sites. Using developer-funding Scott was able to instigate research projects such as the Burnt Mound study from sites along the A4/A5 in Northern Ireland (publication in preparation – see below). Here a multi-disciplinary study, including pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs, waterlogged plant remains, wood and macroscopic charcoal, together with microscopic charcoal and insects, was undertaken in order to investigate the use of the burnt mounds and the impact of their use on the environment. This study has led to the potential identification of wood management in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age in order to maintain the wood fuel resource for burnt mound activity.

Scott has recently started at Orkney College where he will be developing his new role of Environmental Geoarchaeologist for ORCA Marine as part of the Marine Historic Environment Project and also hopes to contribute his skills in Geoarchaeology and Palaeoecology to the Archaeology Department.

Research Interests

  • The palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of submerged and buried landscapes.
  • Palynological studies and the use of non-pollen palynomorphs in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.
  • Medieval kiln charred plant assemblages and their relation to past farming practices, woodland resource and reconstruction together with being records of biodiversity.
  • The environmental impact of burnt mound technology and its links to prehistoric woodland management.
  • Holocene environmental change

Current/Recent Projects

  • Metal Links Project (2012 – present) – looking at palynological and geochemical evidence for historic metal working on the Copper Coast and Wicklow Mountains and the impact this had on the local environment; both in terms of environmental change and pollution. This is a joint project with Dr Tim Mighall at the University of Aberdeen.
  • Isle of Bute (2010 – present) – reconstructing the palaeoenvironmental history over the past 11,000 years for an area on the north of the Isle of Bute. This represents the first full Holocene pollen study for the island and was funded by the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme.
  • Burnt Mounds from the A4/A5 road scheme (2008 – present) – developer funded investigating the use and environmental impact of burnt mounds from sites on the A4/A5 in Northern Ireland.
  • Newrath, Co. Kilkenny (2008 – present) – developer funded study reconstructing Holocene environmental change and RSL sea-level change at Newrath, Co. Kilkenny with particular emphasis on human-environmental interaction and the impact large-scale environmental change had on prehistoric peoples.

Academic Responsibilities

Scott will be developing his academic roles and responsibilities as he settles into his post. He hopes to develop various contributions to degree and post graduate courses, especially to the Modules in Archaeological Method and Theory and Environmental Sciences.

External Responsibilities and Memberships

  • Publication Officer for the Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee
  • Member of the Association for Environmental Archaeology
  • Member of the Irish Archaeobotany Discussion Group
  • Member of the Irish Wood Discussion Group
  • Member of the ScARF panel on Science in Archaeology
  • Scott is hoping to become a Nautical Archaeological Society tutor for the NAS Introduction and Part 1 Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.

Recent Publications

Brown TG, Davis SR, Hatton J, O’Brien C, Reilly F, Taylor K, Dennehy E, Birmingham N, Timpany S, Mighall TM, Wheeler J, O’Donnell L and Wynne S in prep ‘The Environmental context and function of Burnt-Mounds: Palaeoenvironmental studies of Irish Fulacht Fiadh’ for Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.

Wheeler J, Scott L, Timpany S and Mighall TM in prep ‘Palaeoenvironmental investigation of two early Bronze Age burnt mound sites in Northern Ireland'.

Timpany S and MacLeod R. forthcoming ‘The environment and setting of the scheme’ National Roads Scheme Monographs, National Roads Authority Dublin.

Timpany S forthcoming ‘Environmental Change in Prehistoric Carlow’ National Roads Scheme Monographs, National Roads Authority Dublin.

Timpany S and Mynett A forthcoming ‘A medieval stud farm, Economy, Trade and Agriculture’ National Roads Scheme Monographs, National Roads Authority Dublin.

Bolger T and Timpany S forthcoming ‘Setting and Landscape’ National Roads Scheme Monographs, National Roads Authority Dublin.

Dingwall K, Lochrie J & Timpany S forthcoming ‘Mount or motte? Recent excavations at Montfode, Ardrossan’ accepted for Scottish Archaeological Journal.

Wheeler J, Timpany S and Long P forthcoming ‘Palaeoenvironmental evidence for local human-environment impacts and abandonment at Landscape, Co. Waterford’ accepted for publication in Journal of Irish Archaeology.

Timpany S and Wheeler J 2012 ‘An 11,000 year Palaeoenvironmental History for the Isle of Bute’, Chapter 2 Understanding Bute’s Past Landscapes, in P Duffy (ed.) One Island Many Voices, Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Monograph 19-30.

Stuijts I, Timpany S, Bunce A, Dillon M, Johnston P, Lyons S, Moore C, O’Carroll E, O’Donnell L and Stefanini B. 2011 ‘Environmental landscapes of Kilkenny’, in Ledwidge D, Eogan J and Ó Drisceoil C (eds.) Kilkenny Monuments, Memory and Maps: Discovering Kilkenny’s Archaeological Landscapes National Roads Authority, Dublin 56-71.

Timpany S, Monk M and Power O 2011 ‘Agricultural boom and bust in medieval Ireland: plant macrofossil evidence from kiln sites along the N9/N10 road scheme’, in Conran S, Danaher E and Stanley M (eds.) Past times, changing fortunes National Roads Authority Monograph Series No. 8 National Roads Authority Dublin, 73-84.

Timpany S 2011 ‘The changing landscape of the lower Suir Valley: evidence for seven thousand years of people’s interaction with the environment’ in Eogan J. and Twohig E. (eds.) Cois tSuire - nine thousand years of human activity in the Lower Suir Valley. National Roads Scheme Monographs 8, National Roads Authority Dublin 187-198.

Timpany S and Haston SJ 2011 ‘The plant macrofossils’ in Jones, E ‘Through the Cowgate: life in 15th century Edinburgh as revealed by excavations at St Patrick’s Church’ Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports.

Robertson A., Lochrie J. and Timpany S. 2010 ‘Neolithic tool manufacture on the Antrim coast: excavations at West Division, Greenisland’. Ulster Journal of Archaeology 69 27-45.

Timpany S contributions to Murray HK, Murray JC and Fraser SM. 2009 A tale of the unknown unknowns: a Mesolithic pit alignment and a Neolithic timber hall at Warren Field, Crathes, Aberdeenshire Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Timpany S 2009 ‘Geoarchaeological regional review of marine deposits along the coastline of southern England’. English Heritage Research Department Report Series No. 4.

Timpany S 2008 ‘The palaeoenvironmental potential of waterlogged deposits and their contribution to archaeological investigations.’ Roads, Resolution and Research, Archaeology and the National Roads Authority Monograph Series No. 5, 13-23.

Mighall T, Timpany S, Blackford J, Innes JB, O’Brien C, O’Brien WF and Harrison S 2008 ‘Vegetation changes during the Mesolithic and Neolithic in Co. Cork, southwest Ireland’. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 17 617-628.

Timpany S 2007 ‘Plant Communities of the Upper Submerged Forest’, in Bell M.G. (ed.) Prehistoric Coastal Communities: the archaeology of Western Britain 6000-3000 Cal. BC CBA Research Report 149 188-200.

Recent Conference Papers

Timpany S. 2012 ‘The palaeoenvironmental history of the Isle of Bute’ The Discover Bute Landscape Partnership, Archaeology of Bute Conference.

Timpany S. 2011 ‘Archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations of a multi-period wetland site at Newrath, Co. Kilkenny’ Science in Archaeology, IAI Spring Conference.

Timpany S. 2011 ‘Rediscovering the past: environmental archaeological investigations of peoples interactions with the wetland from a multi-period site at Newrath, Co. Kilkenny’ Awards for the Presentation of Heritage Research 2011.

Timpany S., Monk M. and Power O. 2010 ‘Agricultural boom and bust in medieval Ireland: plant macrofossil evidence from kiln sites along the N9/N10 road scheme’ Past times, Changing Fortunes, National Roads Authority Archaeology Seminar.

Wheeler J., Mighall T. and Timpany S. 2010 ‘Burnt Mounds: A Palaeoenvironmental Perspective. Roughan and Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland’ Archaeology of the North Association for Environmental Archaeology.

Timpany S. 2010 ‘Peat bog cutting in the Early-Middle Bronze Age, evidence from Kilbraur, Scotland’ Archaeology of the North Association for Environmental Archaeology.

Timpany S. 2010 ‘Charred plant remains (charcoal and macrofossils) from medieval kilns and industrial deposits – using examples from Ireland and the UK’ CPD course in Archaeobotanical samples - how, where, what and when to sample on a range of archaeological sites Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland.

Timpany S., Masser P. and Bailey E. 2010 ‘A multi-proxy palaeoecological investigation of a multi-period burnt mound complex, Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone’ Wetland Archaeology in Ireland and Beyond University College Dublin

Wheeler J., Mighall T. and Timpany S. 2009 ‘Cross-site palaeoenvironmental investigations along the A4/A5 corridor between Dungannon and Ballygawley, County Down, Northern Ireland: A case study for positive developer-funded environmental archaeology’ AEA 30th Anniversary Meeting: Environmental Archaeology in a Changing World Association for Environmental Archaeology.

Timpany S. 2009 ‘Environmental Archaeology – the commercial factor’ AEA 30th Anniversary Meeting: Environmental Archaeology in a Changing World Association for Environmental Archaeology.

Timpany S. 2008 ‘Palaeoenvironmental study of a wetland site, Newrath’ Archaeology in the Severn Estuary Severn Estuary Levels Research Committee one day conference.

Timpany S. 2008 ‘A multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental investigation of a burnt mound complex at Ballygawley, Co. Tyrone’. Hot Rocks: heated stone technologies and archaeology World Archaeological Congress 6.


Email: scott.timpany@uhi.ac.uk