Research Fellow, University of Exeter
Hi, I’m Matt. I work as a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and have been involved in the world of boggy research since 2004. It all began for me in Exeter, when I did my Masters degree in wetland archaeology. Part of the course looked at how peat bogs, as well as preserving an extraordinary range of archaeological information, including whole preserved human bodies, can also be used to reconstruct past environmental changes. Of all the fascinating subjects I studied in my Masters, this was the one that hooked me in the most. For my thesis, I went up to nearby Dartmoor and took a core to study whether there was any potential climatic link to the time, in the Bronze Age, when the reaves, moor wide land boundaries, were abandoned after only a few hundred years. This research was later published in the Journal of Archaeological Science and all of a sudden I was hooked into the academic process!
From Exeter, I moved to Southampton to undertake a PhD, also looking at peat bogs and past climate change, but this time asking a methodological question about the time resolution of the record. Essentially, if we space our samples really closely together, does that mean we can get information on past climate at higher and higher time resolutions? Or do other issues such as how we date the bogs or how the bog accumulates get in the way? I still don’t have all the answers to these questions, but hey, that’s science right?!
So I’m now back in Exeter working on a number of different research projects, including in Canada, New Zealand and Antarctica (yes, there is moss there!). While these projects are all different in their own ways, the over-arching theme of using peatlands to study the past remains. You can find out more about these projects by following the links on my University of Exeter staff page.