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Dr Rob Batchelor

An image of Rob Batchelor


Tel (work):

+44 (0) 118 378 8941

Tel (mobile):

+44 (0) 7734 530 438

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.

Key skills

  • 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)


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