|Member of the Department of Archaeology|
In 2016, I graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a First Class Honours in MA Archaeology and have since completed an MSc with Distinction in Archaeology of the North at the same university. My previous research topics have included the evaluation of sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) from ancient and historic reindeer herding sites, and the contextualisation of a previously undocumented cave site in north-east Scotland.
My current research consists of a collaborative IAPETUS Doctoral Training Partnership between Durham University and the University of Stirling, alongside a CASE partnership with Historic Environment Scotland. My research is kindly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and supervised by Dr Karen Milek (Department of Archaeology, Durham University), Dr Paul Adderley (Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling) and Dr Lisa Brown (Historic Environment Scotland). Additional collaboration outwith IAPETUS includes Dr Gordon Noble (Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen) and David Strachan (Director at the Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust).
Current Research Topic
Geoarchaeological Approaches to Pictish Settlement Sites: Assessing Heritage at Risk
Due to the poor preservation of Pictish Period buildings and the occupation deposits within them, very little is known of daily life in medieval Scotland. In lowland and coastal areas, Pictish buildings are generally truncated by deep ploughing (e.g. Rhynie, Clarkly Hill), coastal erosion (e.g. Dunnicaer) or urban development (e.g. Burghead), while those uncovered in upland areas seem to have no preserved floor deposits for reasons that are yet to be understood (e.g. Lair in Glenshee). Geoarchaeological techniques clarify site formation processes and are a powerful research tool for identifying floor deposits, distinguishing their composition and linking this to daily activities, however such techniques have not yet been applied to Pictish Period dwellings.
This study will therefore employ an innovative suite of geoarchaeological techniques to evaluate the preservation of Pictish Period buildings and the potential that fragmentary buildings have to reconstruct daily life in early medieval Scotland. This will follow a format already proven to be highly effective on Viking Age sites, as well as ethnographic case studies in Scotland and Iceland. Over 300 sediment samples will be subjected to integrated soil micromorphology, x-ray fluorescence, magnetic susceptibility, loss-on-ignition, pH and micro-refuse analysis, with the potential for further techniques such as lipid biomarker analysis. A six-month placement with Historic Environment Scotland will dovetail the project, providing an opportunity to work with stakeholders and channel results directly into cultural heritage management and conservation problems.
- NERC IAPETUS Doctoral Studentship (covering tuition fees and full maintenance for 3.5 years)
- NERC IAPETUS Research Training Support Grant (£10,900)
- Historic Environment Scotland (£3000 = £1000 per year)
- Jane Thom Bequest (£250 towards sample collection)
- Geoarchaeology, including soil survey, soil micromorphology and geochemistry
- Early medieval period, in particular the Pictish period in north-east Scotland
- Settlement, the use of space and the social archaeology of houses and farmsteads
- National soil datasets and their application within archaeology
- Cave archaeology and assemblages
- 2022: Contributor to the Perth and Kinross Archaeological Research Framework (PKARF): From 2019-2022, Vanessa has provided geoarchaeological and early medieval contributions for the Perth and Kinross Archaeological Research Framework (PKARF) - a regional document designed to complement the ;Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF).
- 2021: Student Representative (IAPETUS DTP): From 2019-2021, Vanessa served as student representative for the NERC IAPETUS and IAPETUS2 Doctoral Training Partnerships
- 2021: Student Representative (Society for Medieval Archaeology): From 2020-2021, Vanessa served as the student representative for the Society of Medieval Archaeology and organised their annual student colloquium in 2020 on the theme of 'Research and Fieldwork in the Face of Adversity'.
- 2020: Winner of the John Hurst Memorial Prize (Medieval Settlement Research Group): Vanessa was awarded the John Hurst Memorial Prize for Students 2020 by the Medieval Settlement Research Group for her research presentation examining the preservation of early medieval settlement in Scotland.
- 2019: Winner of the BAR-sponsored poster prize (EMASS 2019): Vanessa won ;the BAR-sponsored poster prize at the ;Early Medieval Archaeology Student Symposium ;in 2019.
- Reid, V & Milek, K (2022), Integrated geoarchaeological methods for the analysis of Pictish settlement structures, UK Archaeological Sciences Conference 2022 (UKAS2022). Aberdeen, Scotland.
- Reid, V (2022), Planning for change: understanding the threat to buried heritage now and in the future – a case study from Scotland, Lessons from the Past: Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Online.
- (2020), Losing sites and losing time: researching early medieval settlement in Scotland and the impact of Covid-19, Research and Fieldwork in the Face of Adversity: The Society for Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium 2020. Online.
- Reid, Vanessa (2021). A process of elimination? Reviewing the fragmented settlement record of eastern Pictland and its implications for future research. Medieval Settlement Research 36: 49-60.
- Reid, Vanessa & Milek, Karen (2021). Risk and resources: an evaluation of the ability of national soil datasets to predict post-depositional processes in archaeological sites and heritage at risk. Heritage 4(2): 725-758.
- Rees, V (2016). Combing the archives: a report on the features and interpretations of a Viking Age metal comb-shaped pendant from Mareham-on-the-Hill, Lincolnshire. The Elphinstone Review 2: 103-121.