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Matthew Jacobson – University of Reading

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  • Archaeology Postgraduate Students

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Matthew Jacobson

Climate change and socio-economic transformations in the Late Antiquity of the Middle East.

 My project aims to investigate Late Antique (3rd-7th century CE) climate change in the Middle East by producing speleothem-based palaeoclimate records from three case-study regions - SW Turkey, Oman and N Iraq. Stalagmite samples are extracted from caves, documented and drilled to collect powder used for stable-isotope analysis and trace-element detection. The records will be combined with previously-published datasets to recreate past climatic variability in the region and discussed in conjunction with archaeology/historical sources to assess societal response to climate fluctuations.

This is a joint project with the University of Southampton, funded by the AHRC SWW DTP. Analysis has been completed within the University of Reading, as well as at the British Geological Society (BGS), the University of Cambridge, the University of Minnesota (USA), Xi'an Jaiotong University (China) and the University of Basel (Switzerland).


About Me:

I hold a First-Class BSc in Archaeological Science and an MSc (with Distinction) in environmental archaeology from the University of Reading. Both my undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations were focused on climate change in the Middle East impacting a particular society or time-period, this is a passion I developed during my undergraduate from enthusiastic lecturers. Throughout my life I have also been fascinated with the many factors influencing beliefs and worldview (esp. religion). My PhD topic combines these two passions by focusing on a time-period (and location) where many religions were formed, changing and in conflict with one-another.

Research Interests:

  • Holocene climate variability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
  • Environmental Isotopes.
  • Late Antique Archaeology/History.
  • Human-environment interactions.

Research Groups:

Landscape, Climate and the Lived Environment 
Centre for Past Climate Change
Climate Change and History Research Initiative (CCHRI, Princeton University)



      Matt J 


102 Wager Building 


Dr Stuart Black (University of Reading)

Dr Alison Gascoigne (University of Southampton)

Professor Dominik Fleitmann (University of Basel)

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