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Dr Gill Plunkett

<p>Gill Plunkett</p>

Gill Plunkett


BA 1992 (University College Dublin) Archaeology, Psychology
MSc 1996 (QUB) Archaeology & Palaeoecology
PhD 1999 (QUB)

Senior lecturer



Room 01034, Palaeoecology Centre
School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology,
Queen’s University Belfast,
Belfast BT7 1NN,
Northern Ireland


+44 (0)28 90973184 (Internal: extn 3184)

Current Teaching:

Modules 2015-2016

GAP1002 Environmental Change: Past, Present and Future

GAP2041 Flints, Farmers and Forts: Ireland in Prehistory (Module Co-Ordinator)

GAP2051 Palaeoenvironmental Techniques

GAP3080 Volcanoes: Environmental and Societal Impacts (Module Co-Ordinator)

Current Administrative Roles:

  • Programme Co-Ordinator BSc Archaeology-Palaeoecology
  • Level 1 Year Co-Ordinator
  • Palaeo Lab co-ordinator
  • Postgraduate Research Committee
  • Health & Saftey Committee
  • Swan Committee
  • Green Champion

Current Research:

Environmental Change

Palaeoclimatic and landuse reconstructions at Slievanorra, Co. Antrim (with Dr Graeme Swindles, University of Leeds)

Holocene tephras from the Greenland ice cores (with Dr Sarah Coulter, Prof. Jonathan Pilcher, Prof. Valerie Hall, Prof. Mike Baillie, the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, and the Desert Research Institute, Reno)

Holocene cryptotephras in mid-western and NE USA (with Dr Britta Jensen)

Environment as Agent and Actor in Iron Age, Medieval, and Early Modern Ulster (with Dr Tina Thurston, University of Buffalo)

Research students

Carla Ferreira (primary supervisor)

Catriona Brogan (primary supervisor)

Cormac McSparron

David Bell

Recently completed

Lisa Coyle (primary supervisor)

Vicky Ginn (primary supervisor)


Recent publications

Torbenson, M.C.A, Plunkett, G., Brown, D.M., Pilcher, J.R. & Leuschner, H.H. 2015 Asynchrony in key Holocene chronologies: evidence from Irish bog pines. Geology 43, 799-802, doi: 10.1130/G36914.1

Sigl, M., Winstrup, M., McConnell, J.R., Welten, K.C., Plunkett, G., Ludlow, F., Büntgen, U.,  Caffee, M., Chellman, N., Dahl-Jensen, D., Fischer, H., Kipfstuhl, S., Kostick, C., Maselli, O.J., Mekhaldi, F., Mulvaney, R., Muscheler, R., Pasteris, D.R., Pilcher, J.R., Salzer, M., Schüpbach, S., Steffensen, J.P., Vinther, B.M. & Woodruff, T.E. 2015 Timing and climate forcing of volcanic eruptions for the past 2,500 years. Nature 523, 543-549, doi: 10.1038/nature14565

Plunkett, G., Coulter, S.E., Ponomareva, V.V., Blaauw, M., Klimaschewski, A. & Hammarlund, D. 2015 Distal tephrochronology in volcanic regions: Challenges and insights from Kamchatkan lake sediments. Global and Planetary Change (in press), doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2015.04.006

Armit, I., Swindles, G.T., Becker, K., Plunkett, G. & Blaauw, M., 2014. Rapid climate change did not cause population collapse at the end of the European Bronze Age. PNAS 111, 17045-17049, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1408028111

Jensen, B.J.L., Pyne-O’Donnell, S., Plunkett, G., Froese, D.G., Hughes, P.D.M, Sigl, M., McConnell, J.R., Amesbury, M., Blackwell, P.G., van den Bogaard, C., Buck, C., Charman, D.J., Clague, J.J., Hall, V.A., Koch, J., Mackay, H., Mallon, G., McColl, L. & Pilcher, J.R. (2014) Transatlantic correlation of the Alaskan White River Ash. Geology 42, 875-878, doi: 10.1130/G35945.1

Sun, C., Plunkett, G., Liu, J., Zhao, H., Sigl, M., McConnell, J.R., Pilcher, J.R., Vinther, B.M., Steffensen, J.P. & Hall, V.A. 2014 Ash from Changbaishan Millennium eruption recorded in Greenland ice: implications for determining the eruption's timing and impact. Geophysical Research Letters 41, 694-701, doi: 10.1002/2013GL058642

Swindles, G.T., Lawson, I.T., Matthews, I.P., Blaauw, M., Daley, T.J., Charman, D.J., Roland, T.P., Plunkett, G., Schettler, G., Gearey, B.R., Turner, T.E., Rea, H.A., Roe, H.M., Amesbury, M.J., Chambers, F.M., Holmes, J., Mitchell, F.J.G., Blackford, J., Blundell, A., Branch, N., Holmes, J., Langdon, P., McCarroll, J., McDermott, F., Oksanen, P.O., Pritchard, O., Stastney, O., Stefanini, B., Young, D., Wheeler, J., Becker, K., Armit, I. 2013 Centennial-scale climate change in Ireland during the Holocene. Earth Science Reviews 126, 300-320, doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.08.012.

Plunkett, G., McDermott, C., Swindles, G.T. & Brown, D.M. 2013 Environmental indifference? A critique of environmentally deterministic theories of peatland archaeological site construction in Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews 61, 16-31, doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.11.002

Thurston, T. & Plunkett, G. 2012 A dynamic human socioecology of prehistoric and protohistoric Ulster. In L. Giosan, D.Q. Fuller, K. Nicoll, R.K. Flad & P.D. Clift (eds), Climates, Landscapes, and Civilizations, Geophysical Monograph Series 198, American Geophysical Union, Washington D.C., 177–191, doi: 10.1029/2012GM001227

Coulter, S.E., Pilcher, J.R., Plunkett, G., Baillie, M.G.L., Hall, V.A., Steffensen, J.P., Vinther, B.M., Clausen, H.B. & Johnsen, S.J. 2012 Holocene tephras highlight complexity of volcanic signals in Greenland ice cores. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres 117, D21303, doi: 10.1029/2012JD017698

Lawson, I.T., Swindles, G.T., Plunkett, G. & Greenberg, D. 2012 The spatial distribution of Holocene cryptotephras in north-west Europe since 7 ka: implications for understanding ash fall events from Icelandic eruptions. Quaternary Science Reviews 41, 57-66.

Swindles, G.T., Morris, P.J., Baird, A.J., Blaauw, M. & Plunkett, G. 2012 Ecohydrological feedbacks confound peat-based climate reconstructions. Geophysical Research Letters 39, L11401.

Swindles, G.T., Lawson, I.T., Savov, I.P., Connor, C.B. & Plunkett, G. 2011 A 7000-year perspective on volcanic ash clouds affecting Northern Europe. Geology 39, 887-890.


View all publications

External Grant Funding:

  • Royal Irish Academy, Research Grant 2006: An assessment of the potential for palynological study at Rathgall hillfort, County Wicklow.
  • Heritage Council Grant, 2006: The Millin Bay mortuary monument in its landscape context (R. Schulting, B. Hartwell & G. Plunkett).
  • National Museum of Ireland, 2005: The Clonearl Bog Body, Co. Offaly: palaeo-environmental research (G. Plunkett, V. Hall & N. Whitehouse).
  • British Academy, 2004: Settlement and ecodynamics in a north Irish prehistoric landscape (N. Whitehouse & G. Plunkett).

Additional Information:

Royal Irish Academy (Member Historical Studies Committee)

Discovery Programme (Member, Council)