Activities Participate

PhD Studentship: Human impacts on soil health in upland managed and rough grazing land

Another funded PhD Studentship opportunity!

Human impacts on soil health in upland managed and rough grazing land: Exploring variability emerging from human-soil interactions at the Finzean Estate (Scotland).

This project will investigate the ongoing impacts of past human actions which physically reshaped the land’s surface on soil health. The project will use the upland grazing areas of the Finzean Estate in Deeside as a study area, working in partnership with the landowners and estate managers. To investigate spatial and temporal scales and the combined impacts of human activities past and present in this landscape type, the project will combine archaeological information, providing insights into broad patterns of past human activities over 1000s of years, with agricultural data, providing essential information on recent management, and with field-based data to characterise local topography, vegetation and soils. Its results will help to build new models of how landscapes and healthy soils are formed, informing innovative approaches to farmland management in response to contemporary environmental and climate crises.

The project is supervised by an interdisciplinary team of experts in soil science (Matt Aitkenhead and Malcolm Coull, James Hutton Institute), archaeological remote sensing (Rachel Opitz, University of Glasgow) and geotechnical engineering (Ehsan Jorat, Abertay University), in partnership with the Finzean Estate.

Application Deadline: 12 June 2023.

See all the details on the project and how to apply at:

#phd #opportunity #sustainableagriculture #agritech #archaeology #heritage #sustainability #geoscience

Activities Participate

ipaast – linked PhD studentship opportunity

Past in present soils: Leveraging development-led archaeological data to generate insights into urban soil development and soil health

The University of Glasgow and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) are pleased to announce a fully funded doctoral studentship from October 2023 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

Supervisors: Rachel Opitz and John MacDonald (Glasgow), Pete Smith (Aberdeen), Eduardo Machicado Murillo and Diego Rodrigo Maganto (MOLA)

Start date: 01 October 2023

Application Deadline: 5 May 2023

Interview dates to be scheduled with candidates for May 2023

Full details are at:


ipaast @ LAC 2021

Session 24: The Archaeology of rural landscapes and Agri-Tech: synergies and challenges

Thursday 10 June 2021, 7:30-10:30 UK

Details at:

Photo Credit: Victorino Mayoral-Herrera

The ipaast team is organising a virtual session at the Landscape Archaeology Conference on the morning of the 10th June 2021. In this session we’ll be hearing papers from researchers working to develop and deploy innovative methods for archaeological prospection to study the past in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary agricultural landscape. The session will conclude with a roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities of integrating archaeological and precision agricultural uses of remote and near surface sensing to approaches to study the past and present of agricultural landscapes.

Session Abstract

Modern archaeological prospection, which generates the data that underpins much of our archaeological understanding of past rural landscapes, emerged over the 20th century, with aerial photography becoming increasingly common from the 1940s and a range of geophysical methods together with more sophisticated techniques for spatial analysis and systematic fieldwalking developing from the 1970s-1990s. The 2000s-present have been marked by the emergence of large-area geophysics, increased spatial detail across many sensors, and improvements in the use of positioning systems and GIS. The progressive development of survey methods emerged in parallel with the development and spread of highly mechanized agriculture, particularly from the 1940s-1980s. Since the 2000s, growing concerns over environmental impacts of long term mechanized agriculture, together with improvements in geospatial technologies and sensors have led to the emergence of Precision Agriculture. Due to the continually expanding application of high resolution sensing technologies (including geochemical, geophysical and spectral observations), Precision Agriculture is positioned to fundamentally change the way in which rural landscapes are managed.

Resulting data, collected at various spatial and temporal scales, represent an opportunity and a challenge for archaeologists on two fronts. First, much of the data collected is potentially of interest to archaeologists studying past land use, but is significantly different in character from current archaeological prospection data and may require new approaches to its analysis and interpretation. Second,  developing data sharing schemes with farmers and other parties working with PA presents an opportunity to develop new relationships and to promote a positive shared agenda, but also presents significant social and policy challenges.

This session therefore explores opportunities and challenges for archaeological prospection presented by changes in agricultural practice in farmed landscapes. We welcome invites contributions that explore the relationships between changing agricultural practices, particularly precision agriculture, and possibilities for and constraints on archaeological prospection. It asks: How might changes in agricultural practices influence the character and legibility of archaeologically relevant proxies? How can archaeological prospection be adapted in response to contemporary agricultural practices? What opportunities are presented by changing policies and attitudes around agriculture, natural conservation, and rural communities to develop mutually advantageous connections between archaeological and agricultural communities, based on shared interests in the past and contemporary character of farmed landscapes?

Photo Credit: Victorino Mayoral-Herrera
Roundtable Discussion

In this roundtable discussion we will consider how we might adapt our archaeological survey practices in response to significant changes in rural land management, new and emergent agricultural practices, technological advances, and increasing emphasis, especially across Europe and the UK, on providing public benefits and taking action to address key societal challenges, notably around environment, climate and sustainability of rural communities. 


Experimentation in multichannel GPR surveys in archaeological sites with tree crops: the cases of Arva and Libisosa. – Lázaro Lagóstena-Barrios, Domingo Martín-Mochales, Jenny Pérez-Marrero, Isabel Rondán-Sevilla, Manuel Ruiz Barroso

Non-invasive research of the roman Gades aqueduct route in agricultural use contexts: methodology and problematics. – Jenny Crisal Pérez-Marrero, José Antonio Ruiz Gil, Isabel
Rondán Sevilla, Domingo Martín Mochales, Francisco, Javier Catalán González

Bringing together Archaeology and Precision Agriculture: challenges and opportunities in data sharing and community building. – Rachel Opitz and Victorino Mayoral Herrera  

Is a synergy between precision agriculture and the preservation of archaeological heritage really possible? Some reflections and experiences from the Spanish-Portuguese border – Victorino Mayoral Herrera and Jose María Terrón López 

Some ideas on the potential of new multitemporal multisource remote sensing data for the development of synergistic approaches between archaeology and precision agriculture – Hector A. Orengo, Arnau Garcia-Molsosa, Cameron A. Petrie

Three case studies integrating archaeology and precision agriculture in the UK – Henry Webber