Michael Charles

Dr Michael Charles

Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Archaeology

Institute of Archaeology
36 Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PG

Tel: +44 (0)1865 278243

Fax: +44 (0) 1865 278254

E-mail: michael.charles@arch.ox.ac.uk

Research Interests

  • Archaeobotany, archaeopalynology, plant functional ecology, stable isotopes, DNA analysis and ethnoarchaeology;
  • Farming societies of Western Asia and Europe from 15,000BC. Origins and spread of agriculture, plant domestication, the role of plants in prehistory.

Interactions between humans and the environment in Western Asia and Europe since the last glaciation.

Primary Geographic Areas

Western Asia & Europe

Current grants

2011-2015 ERC Research Grant

Evolutionary origins of agriculture – co-investigator with Prof. G. Jones, Dr. C. Osborne Prof. M. Rees, Dr. N. Fieller and Dr. E. Stillman (Sheffield), Prof. T.A. Brown (Manchester). http://www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/research/evolutionary-origins

2010-2013 NERC Research Grant

Origins of Agriculture: an ecological perspective on crop domestication. Co-investigator with Profs G. Jones & M Rees & Dr C Osborne. http://www.shef.ac.uk/archaeology/research/origins-of-agriculture

2007- National Science Foundation (USA)

Research Grant. Economic integration and cultural survival at neolithic Çatalhöyük Turkey. Co-investigator with Dr. K Twiss, SUNY, USA and Dr A Bogaard, (Oxford).

Current projects

Çatalhöyük Neolithic excavations and landscape, director Prof. Ian Hodder (Stanford University).
Central Zagros Archaeological Project; Pre Pottery Neolithic; directors Prof. Roger Matthews and Dr Wendy Matthews (University of Reading).
Tell Brak, Syria; Bronze Age; director Dr Augusta McMahon (University of Cambridge).

Selected Publications

Jones, G., Charles, M., Jones, M., Colledge, S., Leigh, F., Lister, D., Smith, L., Powell, W., Brown, T.A. and Jones, H. 2013. DNA evidence for multiple introductions of barley into Europe following dispersed domestications in W. Asia. Antiquity.

Charles, M. 2011. Interpretation of Scirpus from early farming sites in western Asia and Europe: the cutting sedge of archaeobotanical research. In Hadjikoumis A., Robinson E. & Viner S. (eds.)  The dynamics of neolithisation in Europe: studies in honour of Andrew Sherratt. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 115-131.

Cunniff, J., Charles, M. Osborne, C., & Jones, G. 2010. Was low atmospheric CO2 a limiting factor in the origin of agriculture? Journal of Environmental Archaeology15.2, 113-123.

Charles, M., Pessin, H. & Hald, M. M. 2010. Tolerating change at Late Chalcolithic Tell Brak: responses of an early urban society to an uncertain climate. Journal of Environmental Archaeology 15.2, 183-98

Charles, M. and Bogaard, A. 2010.  Charred plant macro‑remains from Jeitun: implications for early cultivation and herding practices in western Central Asia. In Harris, D.R. (ed.) Origins of Agriculture in western Central Asia: archaeological and environmental investigations in southern Turkmenistan.  London: UCL Press, 150-65.

Jones, G., Charles, M., Bogaard, A & Hodgson, J. 2010. Crops and Weeds: the role of weed functional ecology in the identification of crop husbandry methods. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 70-77.

Integrated Archaeobotanical Research (IAR)


Current & recently completed Research  Students

Katherine French (2013-) Ecology, traditional ecological Knowledge, and the economic value Of wild plants In Britain, ca. 450-1000AD.

Laura Green (2013-) Assessing the nature of Early Neolithic farming in South-West Asia:  a functional ecological approach to emerging arable weeds

Elizabeth Stroud (2012-)

Jade Whitlam (2011-)

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