The History and Archaeology Department is based in a modern purpose-built building at the heart of the University's main Chester Campus. The Department of History and Archaeology has very good links with heritage, museum and archive agencies within the city of Chester, from which students are able to benefit during the course of their studies. The Department is also one of the leading research units within the University. The research interests and specialisms of the Department are diverse, ranging over the medieval, early modern and modern periods, and over local, British, European, American and international history.

Recent Submissions

  • Early Holocene wetland succession at Lake Flixton (UK) and its implications for Mesolithic settlement

    Taylor, Barry; University of Chester (Springer Verlag, 2019)
    This paper reports on new research into the timing and nature of post-glacial environmental change at Lake Flixton (North Yorkshire, UK). Previous investigations indicate a succession of wetland environments during the early Holocene, ultimately infilling the basin by ca 7,000 cal BP. The expansion of wetland environments, along with early Holocene woodland development, has been linked to changes in the human occupation of this landscape during the Mesolithic (ca 11,300-6,000 cal BP). However, our understanding of the timing and nature of environmental change within the palaeolake is poor, making it difficult to correlate to known patterns of Mesolithic activity. This paper provides a new record for both the chronology and character of environmental change within Lake Flixton, and discusses the implications for the Mesolithic occupation of the surrounding landscape.
  • Star Carr, Volume 1: a persistent place in a changing world

    Milner, N; Conneller, C; Taylor, B; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    This first volume of the Star Carr work provides an interpretation of the Star Carr site, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe. Discovered in the late 1940s, the site is famous in the archaeological world for the wealth of rare organic remains uncovered. The 2003-2015 excavations directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor aimed to answer questions about how the site was used. Much larger and more complex than ever imagined, the Star Carr site was in use for around 800 years. The excavations show that Mesolithic groups were highly invested in this place and continued to occupy the site despite changes in climate over this period. The findings include the oldest evidence for ‘houses’ in Britain, three large wooden platforms along the edge of the lake, antler headdresses and a unique, engraved shale pendant which represents the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain. The artefactual material provides new insights into Mesolithic life. Significant wooden artefacts were found which greatly enhances our understanding of how important wood (a material rarely recovered) was for Mesolithic people. In the analysis of other findings it is possible to see evidence for activity areas, such as crafts and tool repair associated with structures, an axe factory, as well as a number of caches. New finds of antler frontlets have increased our understanding of the diversity of human interactions with animals. Overall, despite the degradation, these excavations have provided a new understanding of life in the Early Mesolithic that challenges many of the preconceived views of this period in terms of the character and scale of activity and the degree of investment in a particular place in the landscape.
  • Star Carr, Volume 2: studies in technology, subsistence and environment

    Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The second volume of Star Carr provides detail on specific areas of research around the Star Carr site, one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe. Discovered in the late 1940s, the site is famous in the archaeological world for the wealth of rare organic remains uncovered. The 2003-2015 excavations directed by Conneller, Milner and Taylor aimed to answer questions about how the site was used. Much larger and more complex than ever imagined, the Star Carr site was in use for around 800 years. The excavations show that Mesolithic groups were highly invested in this place and continued to occupy the site despite changes in climate over this period. The findings include the oldest evidence for ‘houses’ in Britain, three large wooden platforms along the edge of the lake, antler headdresses and a unique, engraved shale pendant which represents the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain. This volume looks in detail at focused areas of research, including wooden artefacts, the antler headdresses, structures, environmental and climate change data, plant and animal remains found at the site, and sediment data.
  • Landscapes of Internment: British Prisoner of War Camps and the Memory of the First World War

    Grady, Tim; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
    During the First World War, all the belligerent powers interned both civilian and military prisoners. In Britain alone, over 100,000 people were held behind barbed wire. Despite the scale of this enterprise, interment barely features in Britain's First World War memory culture. By exploring the place of prisoner of war camps within the "militarized environment" of the home front, this article demonstrates the centrality of internment to local wartime experiences. Being forced to share the same environment meant that both British civilians and German prisoners clashed over access to resources, roads and the surrounding landscape. As the article contends, it was only when the British started to employ the prisoners on environmental improvement measures, such as land drainage or river clearance projects, that relations gradually improved. With the end of the war and closure of the camps, however, these deep entanglements were quickly forgotten. Instead of commemorating the complexities of the conflict, Britain's memory culture focused on more comfortable narratives; British military "sacrifice" on the Western Front quickly replaced any discussion of the internment of the "enemy" at home.
  • Conclusions

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Conclusions arising from the Star Carr project
  • Sediments and stratigraphy

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Boreham, Steve; Rowley, Charlie; French, Charlie; Williams, Helen; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, Independent, University of York, University of Cambridge, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The sedimentary and stratigraphic record
  • Palaeoenvironmental Investigations

    Taylor, Barry; Allison, Enid; University of Chester, Canterbury Archaeological Trust (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The results of the palaeoenvironmental analyses
  • Dating the Archaeology and Environment of the Star Carr Embayment

    Bayliss, Alex; Taylor, Barry; Bronk Ramsey, Christopher; Dunbar, Elaine; Kromer, Bernd; Bamforth, Mike; Conneller, Chantal; Elliott, Ben; Knight, Becky; Milner, Nicky; Historic England, University of Chester, University of Oxford, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, University of Heidelberg, University of York, University of Manchester, University of York, University of York, University of York, (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-16)
    Radiocarbon dating the Star Carr archaeological and palaeoenvironmental record
  • Methods, Aims and Objectives

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Allen, Steve; Bamforth, Mike; Conneller, Chantal; Croft, Shannon; French, Charlie; Hadley, Patrick; Knight, Becky; Little, Aimee; Panter, Ian; Rackham, James; Radini, Anita; Rowley, Charlie; Taylor, Maisie; Tong, Emma; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, University of York, University of York, University of Manchester, University of Manchester, University of Cambridge, Independent, University of York, University of York, York Archaeological Trust, Independent, University of York, University of York, University of York, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The aims, objects and methods of the Star Carr project
  • Human Lifeways

    Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Elliott, Ben; Little, Aimee; Knight, Becky; Bamforth, Mike; University of Chester, University of Manchester, University of York, University of York, University of York, University of York, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Forms of human practice at Star Carr
  • Interpretative narrative of the history of occupation

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Bayliss, Alex; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, Historic England (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-16)
    A chronological narrative of the early Mesolithic occupation at Star Carr
  • Assembling Animals

    Knight, Becky; Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Elliott, Ben; Conneller, Chantal; O'Connor, Terry; University of York, University of York, University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester, University of York, (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Spatial analysis of the Star Carr faunal assemblage
  • The Wooden Structures

    Bamforth, Mike; Taylor, Maisie; Taylor, Barry; Robson, Harry; Radini, Anita; Milner, Nicky; University of York, University of York, University of Chester, University of York, University of York, University of York, (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The wooden structures at Star Carr
  • Dryland Structures

    Taylor, Barry; Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    The dryland structures
  • Climate, Environment and Lake Flixton

    Taylor, Barry; Blockley, Simon; Candy, Ian; Langdon, Pete; Palmer, Ian; Bayliss, Alex; Milner, Nicky; University of Chester, Royal Holloway (University of London), Royal Holloway (University of London), University of Southampton, Royal Holloway (University of London), Historic England, University of York (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Climatic and Environmental history of Lake Flixton
  • Fieldwork

    Taylor, Barry; Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Schadla-Hall, Tim; University of Chester, University of York, University of Manchester, University College London (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Chapter 2, a summary of the fieldwork carried out 2006-2015
  • A History of the Site

    Milner, Nicky; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Schadla-Hall, Tim; University of York, University of Chester, University of Manchester, University College London (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Chapter 2, a history of fieldwork at Star Carr
  • Introduction

    Milner, Nicky; Conneller, Chantal; Taylor, Barry; University of York, University of Manchester, University of Chester (White Rose University Press, 2018-04-12)
    Introduction to Star Carr Vol 1
  • ‘Proud to be British; and proud to be Jewish’: The Holocaust and British values in the twenty-first century

    Critchell, Kara; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-10-05)
    As we approach the post-witness era this paper investigates the changing role of the Holocaust and Holocaust survivors in twenty-first century British politics and culture. In the first part, the article discusses the ways in which, through their role in educational initiatives and commemorative culture, survivors have acquired an increased visibility in British understandings of the Holocaust. For a significant period of time, this process was characterized by a tendency to abstract survivors from their Jewish identities to ensure that they could more easily act as mediators of a universalized, yet highly domesticated, Holocaust narrative with meanings for contemporary British society. However, in the second part the article will argue that, starting from the second decade of the twenty-first century, it is also possible to discern an increasing acknowledgement of British Holocaust survivors’ ‘difference.’ It will be suggested that British politicians have attempted to mobilize survivors, the Anglo-Jewish community they are seen to represent, and the Holocaust more in general, in Britain’s domestic battle against Islamic extremism and in the pursuit of the rather elusive concept of ‘British values.’
  • Degradation of the wetland sediment archive at Star Carr: an assessment of current palynological preservation

    Albert, Bruce; Innes, Jim; Blackford, Jeff; Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Milner, Nicky; Czech Life Sciences University; Durham University; University of Hull; University of Chester; University of Manchester; University of York (Elsevier, 2016-03-28)
    This paper presents the results of an investigation into the preservation status of pollen and other microfossils in the organic sediments at the wetland Mesolithic site of Star Carr. This study assesses the degradation of the pollen record in a profile at the edge of the archaeological site, adjacent to previous pollen work carried out from 1989 to 1991 and using it as a benchmark for comparison. There has been a severe degradation of pollen grains since the earlier work, with the upper peat devoid of pollen and the lower part of the organic profile badly affected. Only the very basal sediments retain well preserved pollen. Comparisons with hydrological and geo-chemical data obtained by other workers during the assessment of the Star Carr site suggest that oxidation caused by drainage and dessication of the organic sediments, perhaps originating in fissures in the drying peat, is a primary cause of the observed severe deterioration of the pollen record. Non-pollen palynomorphs (primarily fungal and algal spores) appear to be better preserved than pollen in the present bio-stratigraphic record, showing little surface degeneration, but are not recorded in the earlier work. The pollen archive in organic sediments at the Star Carr site is now badly damaged. Any further pollen work there should be undertaken urgently but is probably not justifiable.

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