Victoria Smith

Dr Victoria Smith

Research Fellow (Head of Tephrochronology Group)

School of Archaeology
1 South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3TG

Tel: +44 (0)1865 285202


Research interests

Tephrochronology, geochronology, volcanology and igneous petrology
I am a senior research fellow in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the history of Art. Prior to moving to Oxford in 2009, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol. I obtained my PhD in Geology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
My research focuses on the composition of the volcanic deposits (tephra) from large explosive eruptions. The composition of the tephra (glass and minerals) provides a chemical fingerprint that allows these layers to be correlated to other deposits of the same eruption. These layers are ideal for providing absolute (dated using radiocarbon or Ar/Ar methods) and relative chronology for archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records. I also use the composition of the eruption deposits to further understand magmatic processes.


MSc Archaeological Science course coordinator. 

Primary Geographic Area

Japan, Italy (Campi Flegrei volcano), Mexico City, Patagonia (Chile).


Journal Articles & Conference Proceedings

Adler, D. S., Wilkinson, K. N., Blockley, S., Mark, D.F., Pinhasi, R., Schmidt-Magee, B.A., Nahapetyan, S., Mallol, C., Berna, F., Glauberman, P.J., Raczynski-Henk, Y., Wales, N., Frahm, E., Jöris, O., MacLeod, A., Smith, V.C., Cullen, V.L., Gasparian, B. , (2014), Early Levallois technology and the Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Southern Caucasus, Science, 345,1609-1613. doi:10.1126/science.1256484
Costa, A., Smith, V.C., Macedonio, G., Matthews, N. , (2014), The magnitude and impact of the Youngest Toba Tuff super-eruption. Frontiers in Earth, Science, 2,1-8. doi:10.3389/feart.2014.00016
Cross, J.K., Tomlinson, E.L., Giordano, G., Smith, V.C., De Benedetti, A.A., Roberge, J., Manning, C., Wulf, S., Menzies, M.A., (2014), High level triggers for explosive mafic volcanism: Albano Maar, Italy, Lithos, ,, 190-191,137-153. doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2013.11.001
Lane, C.S., Cullen, V.L., White, D., Bramham-Law, C.C.W.F., Smith, V.C., (2014), Cryptotephra as a dating and correlation tool in archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, ,42, 42-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.10.033
Mark, D.F., Petraglia, M., Smith, V.C., Morgan, L.E., Barfod, D.N., Ellis, B.S., Pearce, N.J., Pal, J.N., Korisettar, R., (2014), A high-precision 40Ar/39Ar age for the Young Toba Tuff and dating of ultra-distal tephra: forcing of Quaternary climate and implications for hominin occupation of India, Quaternary Geochronology, 21,90-103. doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2012.12.004
Smith, V.C, C.N. Waters, J.A., Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M.A. Ellis & A.N. Snelling (Eds). , (2014), Volcanic markers for dating the onset of the Anthropocene. In: A Stratigraphical Basis for the Anthropocene, Geological Society of London Special Publications, 395,283-299. doi:10.1144/SP395.11
Albert, P. G., Tomlinson, E.L., Lane, C.S., Wulf, S., Smith, V.C., Coltelli, M., Keller, J., Lo Castro, D., Manning, C.J., Muller, W., Menzies, M.A. , (2013), Late glacial explosive activity on Mount Etna: Implications for proximal-distal tephra correlations and the synchronisation of Mediterranean archives, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, , 265, 9-26. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.07.010
Amigo, Á., Lara, L.E., and Smith, V.C. , (2013), Holocene record of large explosive eruptions from Chaitén and Michinmahuida volcanoes, Chile, Andean Geology, 40,227-248. doi: 10.5027/andgeoV40n2-a03
Berlo, K., Tuffen, H., Smith, V.C., Castro, J., Pyle, D.M., Mather, T. A., Geraki, T. , (2013), Element variations in rhyolitic magma resulting from gas transport, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 121,436-451. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2013.07.032
Domínguez-Rodrigo, M., Pickering, T.R., Baquedano, E., Mabulla, A., Mark, D.F., Musiba, C., Bunn, H.T., Uribelarrea, D., Smith, V., Diez-Martin, F., Pérez-González, A., Sánchez, P., Santonja, M., Barboni, D., Gidna, A., Ashley, G., Yravedra, J., Heaton, J.L., Arriaza, M.C., (2013), First Partial Skeleton of a 1.34-million-year-old Paranthropus boisei from Bed II, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, PLOS ONE , 8 ,80347. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080347
Shane, P., and Smith, V.C, (2013), Using amphibole crystals to reconstruct magma storage temperatures and pressures for the post-caldera collapse volcanism at Okataina volcano., Lithos, 156-159,159-170 DOI: 10.1016/J.LITHOS.2012.11.008
Smith, V.C., Staff, R.A., Blockley, S.P.E., Bronk Ramsey, C., Nakagawa, T., Mark, D.F., Takemura, K., Danhara, T., (2013), Identification and correlation of visible tephras in the Lake Suigetsu SG06 sedimentary archive, Japan: Chronostratigraphic markers for synchronising of east Asian/west Pacific Pacific palaeoclimatic records for 150ka, Quaternary Science Reviews, 61,121-137
Staff, R.A., Nakagawa, T., Schlolaut, G., Marshall, M.H., Brauer, A., Lamb, H.F., Bronk Ramsey, C., Bryant, C.L., Brock, F., Kitagawa, H., van der Plicht, J. Payne, R.L., Smith, V.C., Mark, D.F., MacLeod, A., Blockley, S.,P.E., Schwenninger, J., Tarasov, P.E., Haraguchi, T., Gotanda, K., Yonenobu, H., Yokoyama, Y & Suigetsu 2006 project members., (2013), The multiple chronological techniques applied to the Lake Suigetsu (SG06) sediment core, Boreas, 42 (2),259-266
Matthews, N.E., Pyle, D.M., Smith, V.C., Wilson, C.J.N., Huber, C & van Hinsberg, V, (2012), Quartz zoning and the pre-eruptive evolution of the ~340 ka Whakamaru magma systems, New Zealand, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 163,87-107
Albert, P. G., Tomlinson, E.L., Smith, V. C., Di Roberto, A., Todman, A., Rosi, M.,Marani, M., Muller, W. & Menzies, M.A, (2012), Continental-marine tephra correlations: volcanic glass geochemistry from the Aeolian Islands, Italy, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. , 229-230,74-94 doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.03.009
Costa, A., Folch, A., Macedonio, G., Giaccio, B., Isaia, R., & Smith, V.C. , (2012), Transport and impact of volcanic ash from the Campanian Ignimbrite super-eruption, Geophysical Research Letters, 39,L10310. doi:10.1029/2012GL051605 (GRL Editor Highlight)
Haslam M., Clarkson C., Roberts R.G., Bora J., Korisettar R., Ditchfield P., Chivas A.R., Harris C., Smith V., Oh A., Eksambekar S., Boivin N. & Petraglia M. , (2012), A southern Indian Middle Palaeolithic occupation surface sealed by the 74 ka Toba eruption: Further evidence from Jwalapuram Locality 22, Quaternary International, 258,148-164
Lane, C.S., Blockley, S.P.E., Mangerud, J., Smith, V.C., Lohne, Ø.S., Tomlinson, E.L., Matthews, I.P. and Lotter, A.F. , (2012), Was the 12.1 ka Icelandic Vedde Ash one of a kind?, Quaternary Science Reviews, 33,87-99
Lowe, J., Barton, N., Blockley, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Cullen, V.L., Davis, W., Gamble, C., Grant, K., Hardiman, M., Housley, R., Lane, C.S., Lee, S., Lewis, M., MacLeod, A., Menzies, M., Muller, W., Pollard, M., Price, C., Roberts, A.P., Rohling, E.J., Satow, C., Smith, V.C., Stringer, C.B., Tomlinson, E.L., White, D. Albert, P., Arienzo, I., Barker, G., Boric, D., Carandente, A., Civetta, L., Ferrier, C., Gaudelli, J., Karkanas, P., Koumouzelis,, (2012), Volcanic ash layers illuminate the resilience of Neanderthals and early modern humans to natural hazards, PNAS, 34,13532-13537 (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1204579109)
Matthews, N.E., Huber, C., Pyle, D.M., & Smith, V.C. , (2012), Timescales of magma recharge and reactivation of large silicic systems from Ti diffusion in quartz. , Journal of Petrology, 53,1385-1416 doi:10.1093/petrology/egs020
Matthews, N.E., Smith, V.C., Costa, A., Durant, A.J., Pyle, D.M. and Pearce, N.J.G. , (2012), Ultra-distal tephra deposits from super-eruptions: examples from Toba, Indonesia and the Taupo Volcani Zone, New Zealand. , Quaternary International (Toba special volume), 258,54-79
Tomlinson, E.L., Arienzo, I., Wulf, S., Smith, V.C., Carandente, A., Civetta, L., Hardiman, M., Lane, C.S., Orsi, G., Rosi, M., Thirlwall, M., Muller, W., and Menzies, M.A., (2012), Geochemistry of the Plegraean Fields (Italy) proximal Campi Flegrei sources for major Mediterranean tephras (C-1, C-2, Y-3 & Y- 5) Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 93,102-128
Tomlinson, E.L., Kinvig, H.S., Smith, V.C., Blundy, J.D., Gottsmann, J., Muller, W. & Menzies, M.A., (2012), The Upper and Lower Nisyros Pumpices: Revisions to the Mediterranean tephrostratigraphic record using mircon-beam glass geochemistry, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 243-244,69-80 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.07.004
Tomlinson, E.L., Thordarson, T., Lane. C.S., Manning, C.J., Smith, V.C., Müller, M, and Menzies, M.A, (2012), Petrogenesis of the Sólheimar Ignimbrite (Katla, Iceland): implications for tephrostratigraphy, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 86,318-337 doi:10.1016/j.gca.2012.03.012
Lane, C.S., Haslam, M., Petraglia, M., Ditchfield, P., Smith, V.C. & Korisettar, R., (2011), Cryptotephra from the 74 kyr BP Toba super-eruption in the Billa Surgam caves, southern India, Quaternary Science Reviews, 30: 1819-1824
Smith, V.C., Isaia, R., & Pearce, N.J.G, (2011), Tephrostratigraphy and glass compositions of post-15 kyr Campi Flegrei eruptions: implications for eruption history and chronostratigraphic markers, Quaternary Science Reviews, 30,3638-3660
Smith, V.C., Mark, D.F., Staff, R.A., Blockley, S.P.E., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Bryant, C.L., Nakagawa, T., Han, K.K., Weh, A., Takemura, K., Danhara, T. & Suigetsu 2006 Project Members, (2011), Toward establishing precise Ar/Ar chronologies for Late Pleistocene palaeoclimate archives: an example from the Lake Suigetsu (Japan) sedimentary record, Quaternary Science Reviews, 30,2845-2850
Smith, V.C., Pearce, N.J.G., Matthews, N.E., Westgate, J.A., Petraglia, M.D., Haslam, M., Lane, C.S., Korisettar, R. & Pal, N.J. , (2011), Geochemical fingerprinting the widespread Toba tephra using biotite compositions., Quaternary International, 246,doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.05.012
Smith, V.C., Shane, P., Nairn, I.A. , (2010), Insights into silicic melt generation using plagioclase, quartz and melt inclusions from the caldera-forming Rotoiti eruption, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 160,951-971
Smith, V.C., Blundy, J.D. & Arce, J.L., (2009), A temporal record of magma accumulation and evolution beneath Nevado de Toluca, Mexico, preserved in plagioclase phenocrysts, Journal of Petrology, 50,405-426
Shane, P., Nairn, I.A., Smith, V.C., Darragh, M., Beggs, K. & Cole, J.W., (2008), Silicic recharge of multiple rhyolite magmas by basalt intrusion during the 22.6 ka Okareka Eruption Episode, New Zealand, Lithos, 103,527-569
Shane, P., Smith, V.C. & Nairn, I.A., (2008), Millennial timescale resolution of rhyolite magma recharge at Tarawera Volcano: insights from quartz chemistry and melt inclusions, Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 156,397-411
Shane, P.A., Narin, I.A., Martin, S.B. & Smith, V.C., (2008), Compositional heterogeneity in tephra deposits resulting from the eruption of multiple magma bodies: implications for tephrochronology, Quaternary International, 178,44-53
Smith, V.C., Shane, P.A. & Nairn, I.A., (2008), Using quartz and plagioclase to gain insight into chemical and thermal evolution of the Rotoiti magma prior to the caldera-forming eruption ±55 ka, New Zealand, IOP Conf. Series, : Proceedings of Collapse Calderas Workshop, Quertaro, Mexico, October 19-25, 2008
Shane, P.A., Martin, S.B., Smith, V.C., Beggs, K.F., Darragh, M.B., Cole, J.W. & Nairn, I.A., (2007), Multiple rhyolite magmas and basalt injection in the 17.7 ka Rerewhakaaitu eruption episode from Tarawera volcanic complex, New Zealand, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 164,1-26
Smith, V.C., Shane, P.A., Nairn, I.A, & Williams, C.M., (2006), Geochemistry and magmatic properties of eruption episodes from Haroharo Linear Vent Zone, Okataina Volcanic Centre, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand during the last 10 kyr, Bulletin of Volcanology, 69,57-88
Kobayashi, T., Nairn, I., Smith, V. & Shane, P., (2005), Proximal stratigraphy and event sequence of the ~5.5 ka Whakatane rhyolite eruption episode from Haroharo volcano, Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 48,471-490
Shane, P., Nairn, I.A. & Smith, V.C., (2005), Magma mingling in the ~50 ka Rotoiti eruption from Okataina Volcanic Centre: implications for geochemical diversity and chronology of large volume rhyolites, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 139,295-313
Shane, P., Smith, V.C., & Nairn, I.A., (2005), High temperature rhyodacites of the 36 ka Hauparu pyroclastic eruption, Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand: change in a silicic magmatic system following caldera collapse, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 147,357-376
Smith, V.C., Shane, P. & Nairn, I.A., (2005), Trends in rhyolite geochemistry, mineralogy, and magma storage during the last 50 kyr at Okataina and Taupo volcanic centres, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 148,372-406
Smith, V.C., Shane, P.A., & Nairn, I.A., (2004), Reactivation of a Rhyolitic Magma Body by new Rhyolitic Intrusion before the 15.8 ka Rotorua Eruptive Episode: Implications for Magma Storage in the Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand, Journal of the Geological Society, London, 161,757-773
Shane, P., Smith, V., and Nairn, I. , (2003), Biotite composition as a tool for the identification of Quaternary tephra beds, Quaternary Research, 59,261-270
Shane, P., Smith, V.C., Lowe, D. & Nairn, I.A., (2003), Re-identification of c. 15 700 cal. Yr BP tephra bed at Kaipo Bog, eastern North Island: implications for dispersal of Rotorua and Puketarata tephra beds, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 46,591-596
Smith, V.C., and Shane, P.A., (2002), Geochemical characteristics of the widespread Tahuna tephra, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45,103-107
Smith, V.C., Shane, P.A., and Smith, I.E.M.., (2002), Tephrostratigraphy and geochemical fingerprinting of the Mangaone Subgroup tephra beds, Okataina Volcanic Centre, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45,207-219
School of Archaeology > People > RLAHA : Victoria Smith