A conservation stonemason by training, I attained a PDD with distinction in Buildings Conservation on John Ashurst’s Diploma course at West Dean College (2009), and an MA with distinction in Buildings Archaeology from the University of York (2011). I recently completed a PhD (2016) at the University of Edinburgh, supervised within the schools of Archaeology, History and Geosciences.
My research focus is the built environment, and is concerned with investigating how relationships between various people have been mediated by buildings and building materials in different cultural and physical environments. My work has a strong material focus at a number of scales; employing landscape survey, building survey, experimentation and microscopic analysis to inform interpretations of changing craft traditions, historic material sources and palaeoenvironmental potential. My PhD research investigated the archaeology of masonry mortars across North Atlantic Europe. The resultant thesis included the first comprehensive investigation of building lime mortars made from marine shells, the first programme of dating medieval buildings in Scotland through radiocarbon analysis of relict mortar fuel, and microstructural analysis of a large range of North Atlantic medieval mortars from Norway to the Isle of Man. Ultimately, the material sources and techniques evident in over 250 upstanding medieval and later masonry buildings were mapped and related to other buildings evidence, to illustrate the contrasting character and chronology of lordship construction across the province.
I am currently Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History at Stirling University, and PI of the Scottish Medieval Castles & Chapels C-14 Project (SMCCCP).
Thacker M (2013) Making lime at the edge of the world: a mortar archaeology at the medieval chapel of St. Ronain’s, North Rona, Scotland In: Proceedings of the 3rd Historic Mortars Conference HMC13, Glasgow: University of the West of Scotland. 3rd Historic Mortars Conference HMC13, 11.9.2013 - 14.9.2013, Glasgow.
Thacker M (2013) The Late Norse 'coral' or maerl-limes of Orkney - an on-site mortar archaeology of Cubbie Roo's castle and chapel In: Proceedings of the 3rd Historic Mortars Conference HMC13, Glasgow: University of the West of Scotland. 3rd Historic Mortars Conference HMC13, 11.9.2013 - 13.9.2013, Glasgow.
Thacker M Fossilised Environments Above The Ground - an interdisciplinary approach to the ecology of medieval castle construction. Grand Challenge Agendas in Environmental Archaeology: Association for Environmental Archaeology Autumn Conference, Edinburgh 2017, 1.12.2017 - 3.12.2017, Edinburgh.