Mr David McCaughie

PhD Researcher

Biological and Environmental Sciences Room 3A124B Cottrell Building University of Stirling FK9 4LA

Mr David McCaughie

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About me

I graduated in June 2017 with a BsC hons degree in Environmental Science from the University of Stirling. My final year dissertation was focused on the geoarchaeology of soils and sediments associated with collapsed monuments and temples within the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site in Nepal, in wake of the devastating 2015 Gorkha earthquake which struck the country. My project included a 2 week field visit to Kathmandu, thin sections were manufactured from samples obtained and analysis was conducted through micromorphology and scanning electron microscope with emission dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). Through these techniques I was able to identify and quantify changes in micro-structure throughout stratigraphies associated with the cultural significant monuments. Under the microscope I was able to identify 'anthropic indicators' namely charcoal, black particulate material and clay fragments, by plotting the abundance of these with progression through each stratigraphy I could develop an understanding on how urbanisation was manifested at different locations within the World Heritage Site. Additionally, OSL dates were obtained for each stratigraphy allowing a chronology to be built up, relating to the occurrence of urbanisation throughout the Kathmandu Valley. In May 2017 I completed my dissertation, entitled "A Geoarchaeological Approach to Characterise and Compare Urbanisation at The Kasthamandap, Hanuman Dhoka and The Vatsala Temple, Bhaktapur. Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, Nepal."

In October 2017, I began my PhD research at the University of Stirling, concerned with the effects of climate change on sandstone heritage in Scotland. While it is acknowledged that sandstone is particularly susceptible to chemical weathering, the way in which this will be manifested in culturally significant structures is yet to be understood. Therefore, the key aim of my research project is to understand how culturally significant sandstone will be weathered in decades to come, with long-term changes in temperature and precipitation anticipated. This will be achieved through exposing differing culturally significant sandstones to systematic accelerations of climate change parameters together with their seasonal and annual cycles. Once these experiments are complete micromorphological and micro-chemical analyses will be undertaken at the Micromorphology Laboratory, University of Stirling. The stone material will be manufactured as thin sections and changing micro-stratigraphic architecture quantitatively assessed by image analyses. Associated chemical weathering patterns expressed in changes in elemental and compound composition will be assessed through SEM-EDX. This programme of research is a key part of Stirling University’s Environment, Heritage and Sustainable Futures research theme. The programme is in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the lead public body with responsibility for the management and conservation of the historic environment in Scotland.

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