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Dr Rowan McLaughlin

Rowan McLaughlin joined the FRAGSUS project in February 2015. He is a specialist in the application of information technologies in archaeology and palaeoecology, with particular interest in chronology, palaeoeconomy and demographics. He was educated at Queen’s, his PhD (awarded 2008) concerned dietary reconstruction of Mesolithic and Neolithic communities in Portugal, France, Britain and Denmark using dental wear as a proxy for the different food groups eaten by hunter-gatherers and early farmers – a project that involved much data gathering and analysis. This work led to a ‘big data’ approach to the past: meta-analysis of archaeological datasets, and the development of techniques for mining useful information from complex, biased and incomplete archives. As a full-time Research Fellow working on the FRAGSUS project, Rowan has been collating and organising the various spatial and temporal information pertinent to the project. This includes analysing the landscape context of prehistoric sites in Malta, modelling Maltese landscape dynamics, maintaining a radiocarbon database for the islands of the Central Mediterranean and developing a dating strategy for the archaeological sites excavated as part of the project. This includes helping to supervise the excavation of the sites themselves and bring the excavations to publication. 

Other interests include survey of historical landscapes (in Ireland) and tacking thorny issues of the relationships between past demographic changes and archaeological data. His publications are listed below.



McLaughlin, Rowan and Lyttleton, James. 2016. In press. An archaeology of Northern Ireland, 1600–1650. Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (NI).


Peer-reviewed journal articles

McLaughlin, T.R., Whitehouse, N.J., Schulting, R.J., McClatchie, M., Barratt, P., and Bogaard, A. Accepted, 2016. A time and a place for everything: integrating settlement and burial records from Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Ireland. Journal of World Prehistory

McClatchie M., Bogaard A., Colledge S., Whitehouse N.J., Schulting R.J., Barratt P., McLaughlin T.R. In press, 2016. Farming and foraging in Neolithic Ireland: an archaeobotanical perspective. Antiquity 90, issue 350.

Whitehouse, N.J., Schulting, R.J., McClatchie, M., Barratt, P., McLaughlin, T.R., Bogaard, A., Colledge, S., Marchant, R., Gaffrey, J., Reimer, P and Bunting, J. 2014  agriculture on the western fringes of Europe: a multi-disciplinary approach to the boom and bust of early farming in Ireland. Journal of Archaeological Science 51, 181-205.

McClatchie, M., Bogaard, A., Colledge, S., Whitehouse, N.J., Schulting, R.J., Barratt, P. and McLaughlin, T.R. 2014  Neolithic farming in north-western Europe: archaeobotanical evidence from Ireland . Journal of Archaeological Science  51, 206–215.

Schulting, R., Fibiger, L. Macphail, R., McLaughlin, R., Murray, E., Price, C. and Walker, E.A. 2013. Mesolithic and Neolithic human remains from Foxhole Cave, Gower, South Wales. The Antiquaries Journal  93, 1–24.  

McLaughlin, T.R. 2007. Diet in Mesolithic Europe: New evidence from dental microwear. Internet Archaeology  22. 

McLaughlin, R. 2005. Dental microwear. In Schulting, R.J. ‘...pursuing a rabbit in Burrington Combe’: New research on the Early Mesolithic burial cave of Aveline’s Hole. Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society 23, 213–219 


Chapters in edited books 

Malone, C., McCormick, F., McLaughlin, R. and Stoddart, S. Megaliths, people and palaeoeconomics in Neolithic Malta. In Muller, J. and Hinz, M. (eds.) Megaliths, Societies, Landscapes: Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation in Neolithic Europe. Keil..

Malone, C., Brogan, C., McLaughlin, R. and Stoddart, S. In press, 2016. Small Island Sustainability and a case study for Malta. In Cazzella, A., Guidi, A. and Nomi, F. (eds.) ATTI della Convegno: “Ubi Minor”. Rome: Rivista Scienze dell’Antichità

McLaughlin, T.R. 2009. Reconstructing Mesolithic palaeodiet using dental microwear analysis. In Mesolithic Horizons: Proceedings of the 7th international conference on the Mesolithic in Europe. Oxford: Oxbow, 888-9.


Popular science pieces

McLaughlin, T.R., Stoddart, S. and Malone, C. 2015. Archaeologists return to Santa Verna after 106 years. Wirt Gawdex newsletter 4/15.

Stoddart, S., McLaughlin, T.R., and Malone, C.  2015. The Gozo Plateau – a focal point in Gozo’s past. Festa di Santa Maria, Revista, 42–45.

McLaughlin, T.R. 2012 Lessons in a lost landscape. Irish Archaeological Research Magazine 2

McLaughlin, T.R. 2011 A vernacular apocalypse now. Irish Archaeological Research Magazine 1, 25-31.

Whitehouse, N.J., McClatchie, M., Barratt, P., Schulting, R., McLaughlin, R. and Bogaard, A. 2010. INSTAR–-Cultivating Societies. Archaeology Ireland 24(2), 16-19.

Murphy, E. and McLaughlin, R. 2005. New cases of ‘‘pipe-smoker’s clench’’ from Post-Medieval Ireland. Irish Section News of the Palaeopathology Association 8, 9-13.