Dr Simon Parkin

PhD Research Student

Fully funded through Historic Scotland and the University of Stirling

MRes Environmental History - University of Stirling (2010) - Fully funded through AHRC Research Preparation Masters Award
BA (Hons) History (First Class) - University of Stirling (2009) - Gordon Donaldson Award for the best final year student in History 2009, Merchant Guildry of Stirling Annual History Prize for best dissertation 2009

Supervisors: Dr W Paul Adderley, , Prof Ian Simpson (both University of Stirling) and Dr Craig Kennedy (Heriot-Watt University)

Start Date: 1st November 2010

4B182, Cottrell Building
Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 467
fax: +(44) 1786 467843
email: s.j.parkin@stir.ac.uk

Research Project

‘The Past Ubiquity, Present Invisibility and Future Vulnerability of Scotland’s Earth-Built Heritage’

Scotland has a long tradition of earth building, with clay-rich subsoils and turf having been employed for millennia in the walls, floors and roofs of structures across the architectural spectrum. The study of Scotland’s earth-built heritage has, however, been the reserve of a limited body of scholars from the second half of the twentieth century onwards. Furthermore, technical considerations relating to processes of degradation have received less attention than surveying and recording of surviving examples. Reliance on anecdotal evidence has resulted in a rather ad hoc approach to the management of Scotland’s remaining earth buildings.

My interdisciplinary research has sought to marry historical appraisals of Scotland’s lost and hidden stock of vernacular earth buildings with novel scientific approaches to understanding climate-related processes of degradation in walling materials. Of particular interest has been massed earth construction traditions (mudwall, claywall, Auchenhalrig Work), with documentary evidence used to emphasise the past proliferation of vernacular mudwall buildings and assess how perceptions of such structures developed over time and related to their demise. Scientific investigations have aimed to complement current efforts within the heritage community to mitigate for the potentially deleterious effects of future climate on the built heritage. An investigative programme utilising laboratory-based experimentation and non-intrusive in-situ sampling at extant structures has been followed in accordance with this aim. Complimentary techniques including X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, microwave moisture meter analysis, optical micromorphological assessment and three-dimensional X-ray computed tomography have been utilised in the characterisation of materials and assessment of processes within them from the macro-scale to the micro-scale.

Conferences, workshops and publications

3rd International Historic Mortars Conference, University of West Scotland (11-14 September 2013)

Stakeholder Engagement on Historic Scotland and RCAHMS Merger and Historic Environment Policy Development, Edinburgh Castle (20 June 2013)

Historic Scotland Research Workshop on Earth-built Heritage, University of Stirling (12 June 2013)
Co-operated in the conception, organisation and running of the meeting.

Landscapes of Conflict – public conference, University of Stirling (7-8 June 2013)
Chaired session on ‘Military Spaces’.

PARNASSUS: Ensuring Integrity, Preserving Significance – international workshop, UCL (17 May 2013)

Earth Conservation Approaches in Practice, University of Bath (26 November 2012)

Terra 2012: XIth International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Lima (22-27 April 2012)
Full award of British Society of Soil Science Student Conference grant of £500 to attend conference.

Historic Scotland Research Showcase, Longmore House, Edinburgh (12 March 2012)

British Society of Soil Science Postgraduate Conference, University of York (23-24 March 2011)

SJ Parkin and WP Adderley, ‘Hidden Heritage: the past ubiquity, environment, and perceptions of Scotland’s lost earth buildings from the medieval period to the era of Improvement’, submitted to Human Ecology for review

SJ Parkin, WP Adderley, ME Young and CJ Kennedy, ‘Near infrared spectroscopy: a new means of assessing multiphase earth-built heritage’, Analytical Methods 18:5 (2013) 4574-4579

SJ Parkin, WP Adderley and CJ Kennedy, ‘Scotland’s mudwall heritage: interdisciplinary research linking historical appraisals with novel scientific analyses of degradation’, Proceedings of the 3rd Historic Mortars Conference (2013)

WP Adderley, SJ Parkin, D McLaughlin and CJ Kennedy, ‘Novel micro-scale techniques to establish a life-cycle analysis of earth-built structures in Scotland’, Proceedings of Terra 2012 (2012)

SJ Parkin, S Morrison and IA Simpson, ‘Preliminary Geoarchaeological Report on Fuel Resource Utilisation at Vatnsfjörður Based on Thin Section Micromorphology of Farm Mound Sediments’, Vatnsfjörður 2008: Framvinduskýrslur/Interim Report (Fornleifastofnun Íslands: Reykjavík, 2009)

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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