Institute of Archaeology


Meriel McClatchie - Honorary Senior Research Associate

Meriel McClatchie

Meriel McClatchie's research is focused on archaeological science, with a particular interest in archaeobotany - the study of past societies and landscapes through analysis of non-wood plant macro-remains such as cereal grains, cereal chaff, remains of other crops, weed seeds, fruit stones and nut shell. She undertakes research into plant use by farming and non-farming societies, including the social implications of these activities.

Meriel McClatchie completed her PhD research at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2009; the PhD research focused on agriculture in Bronze Age Ireland. Recent research projects include INSTAR-funded "Cultivating societies" (Queen's University Belfast, UK) on agriculture in Neolithic Ireland (http://www.chrono.qub.ac.uk/instar/), an NUI-funded post-doctoral research fellowship (University College Dublin, Ireland) on agriculture in early medieval Ireland. She was recently a member of the INSTAR-funded team at University College Cork, Ireland investigating landscapes and settlement in Bronze Age and Iron Age Ireland (https://www.ucc.ie/en/archaeology/research/projects/seeingbeyondthesite/)

In 2016, she was appointed to a permanent Lecturer (Above the Bar) post at UCD School of Archaeology, where she continues to develop her teaching and research into prehistoric and early medieval Europe, agricultural systems and food. 

Research Interests

  • Archaeobotany
  • Food
  • Agriculture
  • Archaeology of north-west Europe


UCL Projects

  • Visiting Research Fellow, Comparative Pathways to Agriculture: this ERC-funded project is based at UCL Institute of Archaeology and directed by Dorian Fuller (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/directory/compag-fuller). Meriel joined the team in autumn 2015 to provide expertise on secondary crop domestications in Bronze Age to Iron Age Europe.
  • Affiliated Researcher, Early Medieval Atlas: this project is based at UCL Institute of Archaeology and directed by Andrew Reynolds (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/early-medieval-atlas). Meriel is working with Andrew Reynolds and Stuart Brookes to develop research projects on landscapes in Anglo-Saxon Europe.
  • Researcher, Late prehistoric farming in southern Britain: a comparative study of archaeobotanical data from five Iron Age sites: Meriel is undertaking this project with Sue College and Gordon Hillman at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. They are investigating agricultural remains from five Iron Age excavations in Britain. The project is funded by the Association for Environmental Archaeology Research Fund.

Selected recent publications

  • McClatchie M, Bogaard A, Colledge S, Whitehouse N, Schulting R, Barratt P, McLaughlin R (2016) Farming and foraging in Neolithic Ireland: an archaeobotanical perspective. Antiquity 350 :302-318.
  • McClatchie M, McCormick F, Kerr T, O'Sullivan A (2015) Early medieval farming and food production: a review of the archaeobotanical evidence from archaeological excavations in Ireland. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 24: 179-186.
  • McClatchie M (2015) Archaeobotany and past landscapes. In (eds): Chavarría Arnau A, Reynolds A, Detecting and understanding historic landscapes, pp. 297-324. Mantova, SAP Società Archeologica.
  • Eogan J, Becker K, McClatchie M, Armit I, Nagle C, Gearey B (2015) The prehistory of the southeast. In (eds): McGlynn G, Stefanini B, The quaternary of southeast Ireland: field guide, pp. 35-43. Dublin, Quaternary Research Association and Irish Quaternary Association.
  • McCormick F, Kerr T, McClatchie M, O'Sullivan A (2014) Early medieval agriculture, livestock and cereal production in Ireland, AD 400-1100. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2647. Oxford, Archaeopress.
  • McClatchie M (2014) Food production in the Bronze Age: analysis of plant macro-remains from Haughey's Fort, Co. Armagh. Emania 22: 33-48.
  • McClatchie M, Bogaard A, Colledge S, Whitehouse N, Schulting R, Barratt P, McLaughlin R (2014) Neolithic farming in north-western Europe: archaeobotanical evidence from Ireland. Journal of Archaeological Science 51: 206-215.
  • Whitehouse NJ, Schulting RJ, McClatchie M, Barratt P, McLaughlin TR, Bogaard A, Colledge S, Marchant R, Gaffrey J, Bunting MJ (2014) Neolithic agriculture on the European western frontier: the boom and bust of early farming in Ireland. Journal of Archaeological Science 51: 181-205.
  • Warren G, Davis S, McClatchie M, Sands R (2014) The potential role of humans in structuring the wooded landscapes of Mesolithic Ireland: a review of data and discussion of approaches. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 23(5): 629-646
  • McClatchie M, Fuller DQ (2014) Leaving a lasting impression: arable economies and cereal impressions in Africa and Europe. In (eds): Stevens CJ, Nixon S, Murray MA, Fuller DQ, Archaeology of African plant use, pp. 259-265. Walnut Creek, Left Coast Press.
  • Fuller DQ, Stevens CJ, McClatchie M (2014) Routine activities, tertiary refuse and labor organization: social inferences from everyday archaeobotany. In (eds): Madella M, Lancelotti C, Savard M, Ancient plants and people: contemporary trends in archaeobotany, pp. 174-217. Tuscon, University of Arizona Press.
  • McClatchie M (2014) Archaeobotany of agricultural intensification in environmental archaeology. In (ed.): Smith C, Encyclopedia of global archaeology, pp.310-318. New York, Springer.
  • McClatchie M (2014) Association for Environmental Archaeology. In (ed.): Smith C, Encyclopedia of global archaeology, pp. 555-556. New York, Springer.