Dr Barry Taylor

Senior Lecturer in Archaeology


BA (Durham), MA (Durham), PhD (Manchester)


I am an archaeologist and palaeoecologist specialising in the relationship between humans and their environment. Before joining the University of Chester in 2013, I was a post-doctoral research associate on the ERC funded ‘Postglacial’ project at the University of York, investigating the response of humans and animals to the period of rapid environmental change that followed the end of the last Ice Age. Prior to this I undertook my doctoral research at the University of Manchester (2007-12), looking at the relationship between Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and the changing wetland environments of eastern Vale of Pickering.


I lead the following undergraduate modules:

  • Introduction to the Archaeology of the British Isles
  • The Archaeology of Material Culture
  • Introduction to Palaeoecology & Environmental Archaeology
  • The Archaeology of Seafaring & the Sea in Britain and Ireland
  • Landscape Archaeology

 And I contribute to the teaching of the following undergraduate modules:

  • Introduction to Archaeological Practice
  • Advanced Practical Skills in Archaeology
  • From Foragers to Farmers: The Mesolithic and early Neolithic

I also contribute to the following postgraduate modules:

  • Investigating the Past
  • Research Skills in Archaeology


Like many archaeologists, I am interested in the relationship between humans and their environment. However, as well as looking at the economic aspects of this relationship, I am also interested in the way people perceived their environment and how cultural attitudes to plants and animals would have been bound in practices such as hunting, gathering, and plant-use. In studying this I tend to focus on the communities of early prehistoric hunter-gatherers who inhabited northern Europe from the latter stages of the last Ice Age to the introduction of farming. However, I am also interested in the ways that contemporary hunter-gatherers perceive and understand their environment.

As well as the environment, I am also interested in the archaeology of sea-faring, islands and coastal communities from prehistory to the present day. In part, this has developed from a habit of drunkenly singing sea-shanties and playing the tin whistle (very badly).

My main research interests are:

  • Archaeological theory, perceptions of the environment, and the archaeology of natural places.
  • Cultural aspects of plant collection, use and consumption in early prehistory.
  • Early prehistoric Europe: settlement patterns, landscape, mobility, and chronologies.
  • Quaternary palaeoecology, plant macrofossil analysis, and environmental reconstruction. 
  • The archaeology of ships and sea-faring

I currently co-direct the excavations at the Terminal Palaeolithic/early Mesolithic site of Flixton Island, the early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, and the early-late Mesolithic site of Flixton School House Farm, all in the eastern Vale of Pickering (North Yorkshire, UK).

Published work


Milner, N., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. and Schadla-Hall, T. (2013) Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age. Council for British Archaeology

Peer reviewed journal articles

Robson, H. K., Little, A., Jones, A. K., Blockley, S., Candy, I., Matthews, I., Palmer, A. P., Schreve, D., Tong, E., Pomstra, D., Fletcher, L., Hausmann, N., Taylor, B., Conneller, C., & Milner, N. (In Press). Scales of analysis: evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science

Milner, N., Bamforth, M., Beale, G., Carty, J. C., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Conneller, C., Elliott, B., Fitton, L. C., Knight, B., Kroger, R., Little, A., Needham, A., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. C. A. & Taylor, B. (In Press). A unique engraved shale pendant from the site of Star Carr: the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain. Internet Archaeology 

Candy, I, Farry, A, Darvill, CM, Palmer, A, Blockley, SPE, Matthews, IP, MacLeod, A, Deeprose, L, Farley, N, Kearney, R, Conneller, C, Taylor, B & Milner, N 2015. The evolution of Palaeolake Flixton and the environmental context of Star Carr: an oxygen and carbon isotopic record of environmental change for the early Holocene' Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 126:1, 60-71

Palmer, AP, Matthews, IP, Candy, I, Blockley, SPE, Macleod, A, Darvill, CM, Milner, N, Conneller, C & Taylor, B 2015. The evolution of Palaeolake Flixton and the environmental context of Star Carr, NE. Yorkshire: stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) lacustrine sequences. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. 126:1, 50-59

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Taylor, B. & Taylor, M. (2012) Substantial settlement in the European early Mesolithic: new research at Star Carr. Antiquity 86:334, 1004-1020 (REF)

Taylor, B. (2012) Early Mesolithic activity in the wetlands of the Lake Flixton Basin. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 11:1, 63-84

Milner, N., Lane, P., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. & Schadla-Hall, T. (2012) Star Carr in a Postglacial Lakescape: 60 years of research. Journal of Wetland Archaeology 11:1, 1-17

Milner, N., Conneller, C., Taylor, B., Koon, H., Penkman, K., Elliott, B., Panter, I. & Taylor, M. (2011) From Riches to Rags: Organic Deterioration at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:10, 2818-2832

Boreham, S., Conneller, C., Milner, N,. Taylor, B., Needham, A., Boreham, J. & Rolfe, C. (2011) Geochemical Indicators of Preservation Status and Site Deterioration at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science 38:10, 2833-2857

Hadley, P., Hall, A., Taylor, M., Needham, A., Taylor, B., Conneller, C., and Milner, N. (2010) To Block Lift or not to Block Lift? An Experiment at the Early Mesolithic Site of Star Carr, North-East Yorkshire, UK. Internet Archaeology 28

Book contributions

Taylor, B. (in press) Environmental archaeology at Star Carr. In Smith, C. (ed). The Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology. Springer

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Schadla-Hall, T. & Taylor, B. (2009) Star Carr in the New Millennium. In Finlay, N., McCartan, S., Milner, N., and Wickham-Jones, C. (eds) From Bann flakes to Bushmills. Papers in honour of Peter Woodman. Prehistoric Society Research Paper 1, 78-100. Oxford: Oxbow books

Conneller, C., Milner, N., Schadla-Hall, T .&  Taylor, B. (2009) The temporality of the Mesolithic landscape: New work at Star Carr. In Crombe, P., Van Strydonck, M., Sergant, J., Boudin, M. & Bats, M. (eds) Chronology and evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe. Cambridge: Scholars' Press

Non-peer reviewed publications

Taylor, B., Conneller, C. & Milner, N. (2010) Little house by the shore. British Archaeology 115

Conneller, C., Milner, N. & Taylor, B. (2010) New Finds at Star Carr. British Academy Review 16

Taylor, B. & Gray Jones, A. (2009) Definitely a pit, possibly a house? Recent excavations at Flixton School House Farm in the Vale of Pickering. Mesolithic Miscellany 20 (2) 21-26

Taylor, B. (2009) Recent (and not so recent) excavations in the eastern Vale of Pickering. PAST 63

Taylor, B. (2007) Recent excavations at Star Carr, North Yorkshire Mesolithic Miscellany 18 (2) 12-17