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Department / group: Centre for Environmental History and Policy
Google Scholar URL: Not available

Research interests:

My research examines the sustainability of societies in marginal environments and considers the exploitation of natural resources by such societies for agricultural production, for construction of domestic dwellings, and for early industrial activities.

Present research activities include examination of past landscapes in semi-arid Africa with collaborative projects in Ethiopia funded by the US National Science Foundation, in Benin funded by European Research Council and in Niger as part of a series of National Geographic Society expeditions.

On-going research funded by Historic Scotland examines the sustainability of earth-built vernacular architectures and how changes in climate are affecting historical and archaeological buildings.

A NESTA awardee in 2004, a long-standing collaboration with Dr Michael Young at Goldsmiths, London investigates new ways of expressing the outputs from scientific studies involving the interaction of people and their environment through periods of environmental change and delivering this to new or wider audiences

Career history:

18/08/2009 – present

Lecturer in Biological and Environmental Sciences

I studied at the University of Wales, Bangor and was previously research officer for major ODA/DfID projects in Nigeria. After holding a prestigious RCUK Academic Fellowship in Stirling I now lecture on soils-related topics, environmental hazards such as drought and desertification, and landscape-scale heritage issues in the School of Natural Sciences and on environemental history topics as part of cross-School masters’ level courses.

Active research projects:

Crossroads of Empire (

Recent publications:

Mills C, Simpson I & Adderley WP (2014) The lead legacy: The relationship between historical mining, pollution and the post-mining landscape, Landscape History, 35 (1), pp. 47-72.

Gilliland K, Simpson I, Adderley WP, Burbidge CI, Cresswell AJ, Sanderson D, Coningham R, Gunawardhana P, Adikari G, Manuel M, Strickland K, Young R, Namalgamuwa H, Rammungoda UR & Senanayake J (2013) Environment and Water Management. In: Coningham R, Gunawardhana P (ed.). Anuradhapura Volume III: The Hinterland. BAR International Series, 2568, Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 191-227.

Wilson C, Adderley WP, Tyler A & Dale P (2013) Characterising the morphological properties and surface composition of radium contaminated particles: a means of interpreting origin and deposition, Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts, 15 (10), pp. 1921-1929.

Terwilliger VJ, Eshetu Z, Disnar J, Jacob J, Adderley WP, Huang Y, Alexandre M & Fogel ML (2013) Environmental changes and the rise and fall of civilizations in the northern Horn of Africa: An approach combining deltaD analyses of land-plant derived fatty acids with multiple proxies in soil, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 111, pp. 140-161.

Gilliland K, Simpson I, Adderley WP, Burbidge CI, Cresswell AJ, Sanderson DCW, Coningham R, Manuel M, Strickland K, Gunawardhana P & Adikari G (2013) The dry tank: development and disuse of water management infrastructure in the Anuradhapura hinterland, Sri Lanka, Journal of Archaeological Science, 40 (2), pp. 1012-1028.