Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr J. Edward Schofield

Research interests:

Reconstructing past environments (specialising in palynology)

Viking settlement across the North Atlantic islands, with an emphasis on the Norse colonisation of Greenland

Human-environment relationships through prehistory and into the late Medieval period

Vegetation history and plant succession in British wetlands


Career history:

2007-present: Lecturer in Geography, Department of Geography & Environment, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen; 2015-present, Adjunct Lecturer in Archaeology within the same School

2004-07: PDRF, Department of Geography & Environment, University of Aberdeen

2002-04: PDRA, School of Earth Sciences and Geography, Kingston University

2002: RA, Wetland Archaeology and Environments Research Centre (WAERC), University of Hull

1996-2001: PhD Vegetation Succession in the Humber Wetlands

Active research projects:

I am currently pursuing interests that connect directly with the University of Aberdeen’s strategic theme of The North. In this respect, my core research activities continue to focus upon the impacts of Norse settlement on the vegetation and landscapes of southwest Greenland. The colonisation (landnám) of Greenland by people of Scandinavian origin – the Norse, or ‘Vikings’ of popular culture – took place around AD 985 following the arrival of settlers from Iceland led by Erik the Red. Settlement continued for a period of around 400 years before the colonies collapsed for various economic, social and climatic reasons which are still being debated. My research in this field is centred upon the characterisation of signatures for Norse activity in palaeoecological records from Greenland using pollen analysis and associated proxies (such as microscopic charcoal, fungal spores, radiocarbon dating, and peat geochemistry).

Recent publications:

Ledger, PM., Edwards, KJ. & Schofield, JE. (2016). ‘The biogeographical status of Alnus crispa (Ait.) Pursch in sub-Arctic southern Greenland: do pollen records indicate local populations during the past 1500 years?’. Polar Biology, vol 39, no. 3, pp. 433-441.

Ledger, PM., Edwards, KJ. & Schofield, JE. (2015). ‘Taphonomy or signal sensitivity in palaeoecological investigations of Norse landnám in Vatnahverfi, southern Greenland?’. Boreas, vol 44, no. 1, pp. 197-215.

Blockley, SPE., Edwards, KJ., Schofield, JE., Pyne-O’Donnell, SDF., Jensen, BJL., Matthews, IP., Cook, GT., Wallace, KL. & Froese, D. (2015). ‘First evidence of cryptotephra in palaeoenvironmental records associated with Norse occupation sites in Greenland’. Quaternary Geochronology, vol 27, pp. 145-157.

Golding, KA., Simpson, IA., Wilson, CA., Lowe, EC., Schofield, JE. & Edwards, KJ. (2015). ‘Europeanization of sub-arctic environments: perspectives from Norse Greenland’s outer fjords’. Human Ecology, vol 43, no. 1, pp. 61-77.

Edwards, KJ., Fyfe, RM., Hunt, CO. & Schofield, JE. (2015). ‘Moving forwards? Palynology and the human dimension’. Journal of Archaeological Science, vol 56, pp. 117-132.

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