Dr. Karen Milek

I completed my BA in Anthropology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto in 1995, and completed an MPhil in World Archaeology (First Millennium AD) and later a PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. Since 2007 I have been a Lecturer and subsequently Senior Lecturer in Archaeology in the School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen.

I first began to study archaeological soil micromorphology as an MPhil student under the supervision of Professor Charles French, and as a PhD began to integrate a range of geoarchaeological methods into the study of Viking-age rural settlement sites in Iceland. From 2006-2013 I directed excavations at the Viking-age farmstead of Vatnsfjörður, in northwest Iceland, and my primary research area continues to be Viking-age settlement archaeology. However, since 2000 I have also been contributing geoarchaeological data to the interpretation of farmsteads, towns, shieling sites, coastal landing sites, trading sites, and pastoral nomad campsites in Iceland, Scotland, Fennoscandia and northern Siberia dating from the early medieval period to the early modern period.

My research interests include the development of new geoarchaeological methods, or innovative combinations of tried-and-tested methods, that can enhance archaeological research on settlement sites of any period. My research touches on many themes, which cross-cut regional and period specialisms, including: human-environment-animal interactions; archaeological site formation processes and the interpretation of activity areas; social archaeology of houses, farmsteads, and transhumant/nomadic pastoralist sites; migrations and invasions and relationships between incomers and indigenous peoples; the impacts of culture contact on material culture, especially residential architecture and objects used in everyday life; gender archaeology, especially gendered work and activity areas; ethno and ethno-historic archaeology, especially to help develop new methodologies for the interpretation of activity areas; and experimental archaeology, especially reconstructed houses.