Dr Victoria C. Smith

Research Profile

Research Activities

I am an Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow in tephrochronology in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art in the School for Archaeology. I obtained my PhD in Geology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol from 2006 until 2009.

My research focuses on large explosive eruptions and in particular their age, composition, and magnitude. I use this information to gain understanding on the tempo of explosive eruptions and establish their impact. The glass and mineral compositions of the volcanic deposits (tephra) serve as chemical fingerprints of specific eruptions that allow us to correlate and synchronise records that contain the volcanic ash even if it can only be identified with a microscope. These correlations allow us to map the full extent of the tephra dispersal, refine age models and constrain the eruption ages, and precisely link palaeoclimate and/or archaeological records. This allows us to identify temporal and spatial variations in eruptions, climate and/or culture.


  • A revised AMS and tephra chronology for the Late Middle to Early Upper Paleolithic occupations of Ortvale Klde, Republic of Georgia.

    Cullen, VL, Smith, VC, Tushabramishvili, N, Mallol, C, Dee, M, Wilkinson, KN, Adler, DS
  • Microanalysis of Cl, Br and I in apatite, scapolite and silicate glass by LA-ICP-MS

    Caulfield, JT, Tomlinson, EL, Chew, DM, Marks, MAW, McKenna, CA, Ubide, T, Smith, VC
  • Frequent activity on Vulcano (Italy) spanning the last 80 ky: New insights from the chemo-stratigraphy of the Brown Tuffs

    Meschiari, S, Albert, P, Lucchi, F, Sulpizio, R, Smith, V, Kearney, R, Tranne, C
  • Evidence for a large-magnitude Holocene eruption of Mount Rittmann (Antarctica): A volcanological reconstruction using the marine tephra record

    Di Roberto, A, Albert, PG, Colizza, E, Del Carlo, P, Di Vincenzo, G, Gallerani, A, Giglio, F, Kuhn, G, Macrì, P, Manning, CJ, Melis, R, Miserocchi, S
    et al
  • The magnitude and impact of the 431 CE Tierra Blanca Joven eruption of Ilopango, El Salvador

    Smith, VC, Costa, A, Aguirre-Díaz, G, Pedrazzi, D, Scifo, A, Plunkett, G, Poret, M, Tournigand, P-Y, Miles, D, Dee, MW, McConnell, JR, Sunyé-Puchol, I
    et al

Postgraduate teaching

Course convenor and lecturer for the MSc/MSt in Archaeological Science.