staff profile: dr rob batchelor
Director, Quaternary Scientific (Quest), School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading
Rob is Director of Quaternary Scientific (Quest) and is responsible for project delivery, programming and all staff within the team. Rob obtained a BSc in Geography and Geology from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2003 and subsequently undertook a PhD in the Geography Department of same institution, graduating in 2009. His PhD research investigated the changing environments of the Lower Thames Valley during the Middle Holocene (ca. 7000 to 3000 cal BP), with particular emphasis on the history of yew woodland. During the course of his research, Rob carried out high-resolution, multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental analysis on a number of sequences between central London and Tilbury, from both commercial archaeological sites (e.g. Golfers' Driving Range) and land owned by both English Heritage (Tilbury Fort) and the RSPB (Aveley Marshes).
During the course of his PhD, Rob started work as an Environmental Archaeologist for ArchaeoScape at Royal Holloway in 2006 before becoming the Biostratigraphy and Geochronology Manager for the same unit the following year. In 2008 Rob joined Quest as a Project Manager, before being promoted to Senior Projects Manager in 2010, and four years later became Director. During the course of his employment, Rob has managed and worked on an extensive range and number of commercial archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sites, largely in London, but across the UK and north-western Europe. This work has been undertaken for government organisations (e.g. Historic England, Environment Agency), consultants (e.g. RPS, CgMs Consulting, WPS, Ramboll) and contractors (e.g. AOC Archaeology, Pre-Construct Archaeology, Archaeology South East), and has included undertaking geoarchaeological borehole investigations, deposit modelling and palaeoenvironmental analysis on sequences from the London Cable Car site, Greenwich Peninsula, the Olympic site, and multiple sites within the Battersea Channel Project Area.
Rob's research interests focus on the reconstruction of prehistoric wetland and dryland environments, particularly that of the Lower Thames Valley, where he focuses on the following areas: (1) mapping the palaeotopography; (2) the vegetation history (specifically that of yew and elm woodland), (3) detecting evidence of human activity, and (4) investigating potential palaeoclimatic proxies. Rob also has a growing research interest in the palaeoenvironmental history of North Devon, and has contributed to a number of research projects within the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Reading, including, 'the Mesolithic of the wetland edge in the Somerset Levels' (led by Professor Martin Bell), 'the Central Zagros Research Project' (led by Professor Roger Matthews), 'the Ecology of Crusading' (led by Dr Aleks Pluskowski) and 'the Vale of Pewsey Project' (led by Dr Jim Leary & Professor Martin Bell). Rob has also developed a strong teaching portfolio at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and manages placement opportunities within the unit. He is a Member of the CIFA and co-editor of the 'Association for Environmental Archaeology' newsletter.
- Quality Management – including ILM endorsed qualification in First Line Management, with direct experience of: (1) managing a wide range of field- and laboratory-based projects; (2) direct line management of internal staff; (3) management of external specialist staff; (4) liaising with archaeological contractors, archaeological consultants and government organisations.
- Fieldwork – extensive experience of visiting and working on over 200 archaeological, demolition, construction and green-field sites across England, Wales, Ireland, France, Estonia, Latvia and Iraq including: (1) undertaking continuous and gouge coring; (2) monitoring cable percussion and window sampling; (3) monolith, column, bulk, kubiena and soil sampling; (3) advising archaeological clients on sampling strategies.
- Laboratory work – extensive experience of undertaking: (1) a variety of lithostratigraphic analyses (sediment descriptions, humification, organic matter content, calcium carbonate and magnetic susceptibility); (2) creation of detailed laboratory sampling strategies; (3) pollen extraction, preparation and analysis; (4) sub-sampling and wet sieving of bulk samples for waterlogged remains; (5) extraction and submission of samples for radiocarbon dating; (6) attendance of wood and charcoal anatomy course at Kew Gardens (2010).
- Computer software – sound knowledge of the following programmes: (1) Microsoft Windows and Office; (2) Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Reader; (3) Tilia palaeoecological software; (4) OxCal age-modelling software; (5) Rockworks sediment deposit modelling software; (6) basic knowledge of ArcGIS.
- Report writing – extensive experience of writing, compiling and editing of over 500 project documents: (1) written schemes of investigation (WSIs); (2) method statements; (3) risk assessments; (4) assessment reports; (5) analysis reports; (6) publication documents.
- Teaching – experience of carrying out Undergraduate and Postgraduate teaching including: (1) lectures; (2) seminars; (3) placement provision.
- Research – involvement in a range of research projects including: (1) investigating the palaeotopography of the Lower Thames Valley; (2) the vegetation history of the Lower Thames Valley (specifically that of yew and elm woodland); (3) the Mesolithic of the wetland edge in the Somerset Levels; (4) the Central Zagros Research Project; (5) the Ecology of Crusading project; (6) the Vale of Pewsey project; (7) palaeoenvironmental investigations in North Devon.
- Society Memberships and Responsibilities – (1) Member of the Chartered Institute of Field Archaeologists (MCIFA); (2) Association for Environmental Archaeology (Committee Member & Newsletter Co-Editor); (3) Devon Archaeological Society (Member)
- Green, C. P., Batchelor, C. R., Austin, P. J., Brown, A. D., Cameron, N. G. and Young, D. S. (2014)Holocene alluvial environments at Barking, Lower Thames Valley (London, UK). Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 125 (3). pp. 279-295. ISSN 0016-7878 doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2014.05.001
- Batchelor, C. R., Branch, N. P., Allison, E. A., Austin, P. A., Bishop, B., Brown, A. D., Elias, S. A.,Green, C. P. and Young, D. (2014) The timing and causes of the Neolithic elm decline: new evidence from the Lower Thames Valley (London, UK). Environmental Archaeology: the Journal of Human Palaeoecology, 19 (3). pp. 263-290. ISSN 1461-4103 doi:10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000031
- Batchelor, R., Giorgi, J., Warman, S. and Watts, M. (2013) Economy, diet and health. In:Ridgeway, V. and Watts, M. (eds.) Friars, Quakers, Industry and Urbanisation: The Archaeology of the Broadmead Expansion Project Cabot Circus, Bristol 2005-2008. Cotswold Archaeology Monograph / Pre-Construct Archaeology Monograph (5 / 16). Cotswold Archaeology, Oxford, pp. 381-386. ISBN 9780956305480
- Soler, L. , Save, S., Dupont, C., Roque, C., Batchelor, C., Green, C., Young, D., Brown, A., Marini, N., Athersuch, J. and Cameron, N. (2013) Le fief des quatre Chevaliers. Etude paléo-environnementale aux abords d'une enceinte néolithique sur le littoral atlantique à Périgny (Charente-Maritime, France). In: Daire, M.-Y., Dupont, C., Baudry, A., Billard, C., Large, J.-M.,Lespez, L., Normand, E. and Scarre, C. (eds.) Ancient Maritime Communities and the Relationship between People and Environment along the European Atlantic Coasts. BAR International Series (2570). British Archaeological Report , Oxford, pp. 635-646. ISBN 9781407311913
- Branch, N., Batchelor, C. R., Cameron, N. G., Coope, G. R., Densem, R., Gale, R., Green, C. P. andWilliams, A. N. (2012) Holocene environmental changes in the lower Thames Valley, London, UK: implications for our understanding of the history of Taxus woodland. The Holocene, 22 (10). 1143-1158 . ISSN 0959-6836 doi: 10.1177/0959683612441805
- Save, S., Buffat, L., Batchelor, C.R., Vannieuwenhuyse, D., Bois, M. and Durand, B. (2012) Fleeing from a little bit of water: A very 'Un-Roman' response to changing environmental constraints. A case study from Monteux, Southern France. eTopoi Journal for Ancient Studies, 3. pp. 113-117. ISSN 2192-2608
- Jarrett, C., Bishop, B. J., Branch, N., Allison, E., Batchelor, R., Green, C. and Pickard, C. (2010)Flints and frying pans: excavations at 11-13 Point Pleasant and the Morganite Works, Wandsworth. Surrey Archaeological Collections, 95. pp. 139-167.
- Branch, N., Green, C., Batchelor, R., Young, D., Elias, S., Cameron, N. and Athersuch, J. (2010) A tale of two power stations: environmental archaeological investigations at Battersea and Lots Road power stations. London Archaeologist, 12. pp. 267-273.
- Carew, T., Meddens, F., Batchelor, R., Branch, N., Elias, S., Goodburn, D., Vaughan-Williams, A.,Webster, L. and Yeomans, L. (2009) Human-environment interactions at the wetland edge in East London: trackways, platforms and Bronze Age responses to environmental change.London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Transactions, 60. pp. 1-34.
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