Dr Katie Head

Dr Katie Head

Technical Specialist

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science & 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

Association for Environmental Archaeology

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

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

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


Hal Dalwood, Simon Griffin, Katie Head, Derek Hurst, Andy Mann and Simon Woodiwiss (2008) Longbridge before Austin. Archaeological investigations at Longbridge, King’s Norton, Birmingham, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, Vol. 112

Ralph M. Fyfe, H Ombashi, H.J Davies and K Head accepted 2017 Quantified moorland vegetation and assessment of the role of burning over the past five millennia, Journal of Vegetation Science

Goad, J, Head, K, Pearson, E and Woodiwiss, S, The excavation of a former watercourse and mill leat on the Bourn Brook, Selly Oak, Birmingham, in 2004, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society

Head, K, Turney, C.S.M., Pilcher, J.R, Palmer, J.G, and Baillie, M.G.L, (2007) Problems with identifying the ‘8,200 year event’ in terrestrial records of the Atlantic seaboard: a case study from Dooagh, Achill Island, Ireland. Journal of Quaternary Science, Vol. 21

Head, K, (2005) Pollen analysis in an urban archaeological context. The Archaeologist, No. 57: 45-46

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,  pp 169 – 191

Khwarahm N, 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, pp 586–600

Khwarahm N, Dash J, Atkinson PM, Newnham RM, Skjøth 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), pp 529 - 545 

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?' International Journal of Biometeorology  57  (3),  pp 391 - 400 

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),  pp 16 - 31 

Book contributions

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 Archaeology 

Selected internal/external reports:

Head, K, forthcoming Pollen remains from an excavation at Clifton Quarry, Severn Stoke, Worcestershire, Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service

Head, K and Mann, A, 2005 Environmental remains from West Street, Bristol, Avon Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, Worcestershire County Council external report, 1322

Head, K and Wilkinson, K, 2005 Palaeoenvironmental study at Coventry Transport Museum, Hales Street, Coventry, Warwickshire, Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, external report

Head, K, Mann, A, and Terra Nova Ltd, 2005 Environmental remains from Flaxley Valley, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, Worcestershire County Council external report, 1323

Head, K, 2004 Environmental remains from Brent Knoll, Somerset, Somerset and Avon Historic Environment and Archaeology Service, Worcestershire County Council external report, 1297

Poster presentations

Katie Head, Chris S. M. Turney, Jon R. Pilcher, J. G. Palmer, M. G. L. Baillie 2005 Problems With Identifying the `8,200 Year Event' in Terrestrial Records of the Atlantic Seaboard: a Case Study From Dooagh, Achill Island, Ireland. Poster presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, USA 

Papers presented

6-7th Sept 2016: Indicators of human impact in the pollen record from a crannog in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Head, K., Brown, A.G., Van Hardenbroek, M., Davies, K.L., Whitehouse, N.J.,. QRA Short Discussion Meeting: Palaeoecology - New approaches, new insights on the Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, Cardiff.