1975 …2023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Expertise

Geoff Bailey is a world authority on coastal archaeology and submerged landscapes, and on the archaeology of time.

He took his early training at the University of Cambridge and stayed on as Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University Lecturer and Senior Tutor of Clare Hall. In 1996 he was appointed as Chair and HoD at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and in 2004 to a newly created Anniversary Chair at the University of York.

He has field experience in many parts of the world, and has led major projects in Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, Africa and Australia, most recently the EU COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Trans-Domain research network SPLASHCOS (Submerged Prehistoric Archaeology and Landscapes of the Continental Shelf) and the ERC-Funded DISPERSE Project (Dynamic Landscapes, Coastal Environments and Human Dispersals).

These projects have led to work across the boundaries between Archaeology and many other scientific disciplines and to engagement in multi-national collaborative projects across a wide intellectual spectrum in the field, in the laboratory, and in the development of interpretive models.

He has published over 200 scientific papers and 20 books, most recently The Archaeology of Europe's Drowned Landscapes, co-edited with Nena Galanidou, Hans Peeters, Hauke Joens and Moritz Mennenga (Springer 2020).

Research Interests

World-wide interests include the evolution of terrestrial landscapes and the ways in which geological instabilities resulting from sea-level change and active tectonics at plate margins and in rifts have shaped human lives, livelihoods and long-term evolutionary trajectories. Specific interests include:

  • Survey and excavation of mounded shell middens, which occur in their hundreds of thousands around the coastlines of the world as the most visible archaeological expression of past coastal settlement
  • Development of microscopic and biomolecular methods of analysing marine mollusc shells and other midden contents for information on palaeodiet and palaeoclimate
  • Analysis of the relationship between coastal archaeology and changes in sea-level and coastal geomorphology
  • Underwater exploration of the continental shelf for surviving traces of now-submerged landscape features and archaeology
  • The contribution of tectonically active landscapes, coastal environments and marine resources to developments in world prehistory.
  • Archaeological theories of time and the influence of time scale, time resolution and time perspective on archaeological data, observations and interpretation

Major field projects include

  • Mesolithic shell mounds of NW Europe and those of northern Australia
  • Palaeolithic cave excavations and landscape reconstructions in NW Greece
  • Analysis of active tectonics in shaping human landscapes in the Mediterranean, the Near East and Africa,
  • Explorations of Palaeolithic archaeology, shell mounds and submerged landscapes in SW Arabia and the southern Red Sea
  • Shell mounds and submerged landscapes in the Cape York Peninsula and Western Australia

Recent fieldwork engagement includes the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia and Qatar), Australia (Cape York Peninsula and the Pilbara coast), Africa (Kenyan Rift and Senegal) and Europe (Denmark, Spain and Greece).

These interests have been supported by over AUS$8 million of external peer-reviewed research funding and resulted in 20 books and over 200 scientific papers


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