Institute of Archaeology


Mark Nesbitt - Honorary Senior Lecturer

Mark Nesbitt
  • Email: m.nesbitt@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Mark is Curator of the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He collaborates with UCL staff and students in conservation, museum studies and archaeobotany, resulting in a wide range of postgraduate student projects, placements and dissertations. Originally trained as an archaeobotanist at the Institute of Archaeology (MSc Bioarchaeology 1984, PhD 1997), under Gordon Hillman, Mark worked for many years in Turkey and maintains an interest in Near Eastern agriculture and domestication. His main research now is at the intersection of nineteenth century empire, botany and museums.

'Ancient Grains' - personal website

Research Interests

  • History, curation and future of economic botany/ethnobotany museums
  • Plant fibres (including paper and barkcloth), materia medica and other commodities in the British Empire
  • The role of object conservation in ethnographic/natural history collections
  • Near Eastern archaeobotany
  • Taxonomy, evolution and domestication of cereals, especially wheat
  • Ethnobotany. Joint-coordinator of the Kew/University of Kent MSc in Ethnobotany

Selected recent publications

  • Cabalzar, A., Stern da Fonseca Kruel, V., Martins, L., Milliken, W. & Nesbitt, M. (eds) (2017). Manual de Etnobotânica: Plantas, artefatos e Conhecimentos Indígenas. Instituto Socioambiental, São Paulo.
  • Brand, E., Leon, C., Nesbitt, M., Guo, P., Huang, R., Chen, H., Liang, L. and Zhao, Z. (2017). Economic botany collections: A source of material evidence for exploring historical changes in Chinese medicinal materials. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 200: 209-227
  • Nesbitt, M., Bates, J., Hillman, G. & Mitchell, S. (2017). The Archaeobotany of Aşvan: Environment & Cultivation in Eastern Anatolia from the Chalcolithic to the Medieval Period. London: British Institute at Ankara, Monograph 33.
  • Nesbitt, M. & C. Cornish. (2016). Seeds of industry and empire: economic botany collections between nature and culture. Journal of Museum Ethnography 29: 53-70.
  • Salick, J., Konchar, K. & Nesbitt, M. (2014). Curating biocultural collections: a handbook. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Nagata, T., A. DuVal, H. W. Lack, G. Loudon, M. Nesbitt, M. Schmull, and P. R. Crane. (2013). An unusual xylotheque with plant illustrations from early Meiji Japan. Economic Botany 67: 87-97.
  • D Goyder, P Griggs, M Nesbitt, L Parker, K Ross-Jones. (2012). Sir Joseph Hooker's collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 29: 66-85.
  • Nesbitt, M., R. Prosser and I. Williams. (2010). Rice-paper plant - Tetrapanax papyrifer: the Gauze of the Gods and its products. Curtis's Botanical Magazine 27(1): 71-92.
  • Nesbitt, M., McBurney, R.P.H., Broin, M., Beentje, H.J. (2010). Linking biodiversity, food and nutrition: The importance of plant identification and nomenclature. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 23: 486-498.
  • Nesbitt, M., Simpson, S. J. and Svanberg, I. (2010) History of rice in Western and Central Asia. In S. D. Sharma (ed.) Rice: origin, antiquity and history, 308-340, 535-541. Enfield, NH, Science Publishers.
  • Mason, S. and M. Nesbitt. (2009). Acorns as food in southeast Turkey: implications for past subsistence in Southwest Asia, in From foragers to farmers: papers in honour of Gordon C. Hillman. Edited by A.S. Fairbairn and E. Weiss, pp. 71-85.
  • Nesbitt, M. (2006). Identification guide for Near Eastern grass seeds. London: Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
  • M. Savard, M. Nesbitt, M.K. Jones. (2006). The role of wild grasses in subsistence and sedentism: new evidence from the northern Fertile Crescent. World Archaeology 38(2): 179-196.
  • Prance, G., and M. Nesbitt. Editors. (2005). The cultural history of plants. New York: Routledge.
  • Nesbitt, M., S. Colledge, and M. A. Murray. (2003). Organisation and management of seed reference collections. Environmental Archaeology 8:77-84.