Dr Katie Head

Dr Katie Head

Technical Specialist

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Technical Specialist (Palaeoecology)



PhD Early Holocene Cooling in the British Isles Queen's University, Belfast. Supervisors: Prof. Chris Turney, Prof. Jon Pilcher, and Dr Jonathan Palmer

MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy, University of Sheffield

BA (Hons) Environment and Archaeology, University of Wales, Lampeter

Professional membership

Quaternary Research Association

European Association of Archaeologists

British Ecological Society

Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy

Teaching interests


I teach a variety analytical skills in palaeoecology. These are primarily pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, tephra analysis but also diatoms, testate amoebae, charcoal, plant macrofossils, molluscs, foraminifera, sediment analysis (LOI, bulk density, humification), and microscopy. I also teach a number of field techniques including coring, and geophysical techniques such as ground penetrating radar and magnetic susceptibility.

I teach 1st year undergraduates pollen analysis and archaeological landscape interpretation; 2nd years Quaternary Environments and also palaeoecology themes within the Dissertation Workshops; 3rd years Long term Ecology. I am also involved with the 1st year residential field trip to Bath and the Somerset Levels.

Research interests

Short-term Holocene climatic change in the terrestrial record (pollen, diatoms, plant macrofossils)


Environmental archaeology

Ground penetrating radar

Member of the Quaternary Environments Research Group


Grants & contracts

Seasonal Pollen Monitoring 2018, Met Office

Celtic Connections and Crannogs: A new study of lake settlements across the Irish Sea (AHRC)

Seasonal Pollen Monitoring 2017, Met Office

Reconstructing the Late Glacial-Holocene transition at Hawks Tor, Bodmin Moor in South West Cornwall using beetle remains as an environmental/climatic proxy, School of Geography Research Pump Priming Fund 2008

Key publications are highlighted

Fyfe RM, Ombashi H, Davies HJ & Head K 2017 'Quantified moorland vegetation and assessment of the role of burning over the past five millennia' Journal of Vegetation Science 29, 393-403 , DOI PEARL
Khwarahm NR, Dash J, Skjøth CA, Newnham RM, Adams-Groom B, Head K, Caulton E & Atkinson PM 2017 'Mapping the birch and grass pollen seasons in the UK using satellite sensor time-series' Science of The Total Environment 578, 586-600 , DOI
Hurst D, Daffern N, Griffin L, Head K, Mann A, Pearson E & Warman S 2016 'A Roman Pond at Wyre Piddle, Worcestershire, with a Brief Survey of Ponds in Roman Britain' Britannia 47, 169-191 , DOI
Khwarahm N, Dash J, Atkinson PM, Newnham RM, Skjoth CA, Adams-Groom B, Caulton E & Head K 2014 'Exploring the spatio-temporal relationship between two key aeroallergens and meteorological variables in the United Kingdom' INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOMETEOROLOGY 58, (4) 529-545 Author Site , DOI
Newnham RM, Sparks TH, Skjøth CA, Head K, Adams-Groom B & Smith M 2013 'Pollen season and climate: is the timing of birch pollen release in the UK approaching its limit?' Int J Biometeorol 57, (3) 391-400 Author Site , DOI
Smith DN, Fletcher M, Head K, Smith W & Howard AJ 2010 'Environmental reconstruction of a later prehistoric palaeochannel record from Burrs Countryside Park, Bury, Greater Manchester' Environmental Archaeology 15, (1) 16-31 , DOI
Head K, Turney CSM, Pilcher JR, Palmer JG & Baillie MGL 2006 'Problems with identifying the ‘8200-year cold event’ in terrestrial records of the Atlantic seaboard: a case study from Dooagh, Achill Island, Ireland' Journal of Quaternary Science 22, (1) 65-75 , DOI
Jackson R & Mann A 2018 Clifton Quarry, Worcestershire Pits, Posts and Cereals: Archaeological Investigations 2006-2009. Oxbow Books Limited
Davenport P 2015 Excavations at Newport Street, Worcester.
Ridgeway V, Watts MA & Martin Watts D 2013 Friars, Quakers, Industry and Urbanisation The Archaeology of the Broadmead Expansion Project, Cabot Circus, Bristol, 2005-2008. Cotswold Archeology