A headshot of Professor Nigel Nayling.

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Professor Nigel Nayling BA, MA, MCIfA, FSA

Chair in Archaeology

Tel: +44 (0) 1570 424904
E-mail: n.nayling@uwtsd.ac.uk

  • Supervision of research students (PhD)

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor/Professor at Lampeter since 1998

Field archaeologist since 1976 working throughout the United Kingdom and Latin America for a wide range of organisations including archaeological units and trusts, museums and heritage organisations.

During the 1990s worked for the Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust focusing on wetland and intertidal excavations in the Severn Estuary including Bronze Age, Roman and Medieval boat finds.

  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (MCIfA)
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA)

My academic interests centre on maritime/nautical archaeology, scientific dating, and heritage management within the Atlantic zone.

Research Degree Supervision

I supervise students at PhD level and will consider supervising students at MRes, MPhil and PhD levels particularly in the areas of maritime/nautical archaeology, and applied archaeology

Current Research Projects:

Digital Recording and Hull Modelling of Archaeological Ships. British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship 2018-20 NAFR1180264. 

The research programme involves the use of digital methods of three-dimensional recording and analysis to document ship timbers excavated in the former Theodosian harbour at Yenikapi, Istanbul where 37 medieval ships were excavated during modern development. These archaeological ship finds are of international importance in understanding the development of medieval shipbuilding in the Mediterranean. The project will also provide training in hypothetical digital ship reconstruction and performance analysis. The project offers an opportunity for training and knowledge transfer between world leading experts at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the Newport Ship Medieval Ship Centre in the United Kingdom and a postdoctoral research fellow and members of his research group at Istanbul University.

ForSEADiscovery: Forest Resources for Iberian Empires: Ecology and Globalization in the Age of Discovery

Marie Curie Initial Training Network (2014-2018). PITN-GA-2013-607545. N Nayling leading on researcher training and nautical archaeology work packages.

A Training Network for researchers, the project will generously support twelve fully funded PhD Fellows (Early Stage Researchers) and three Established Researchers at post-doctoral level. The project involves universities and businesses in Wales, England, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, France, Denmark and Sweden. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.

The overall research objective is to compile historic literature and archival information about timber for nautical use in shipbuilding in Atlantic Iberia in the 16th – 17th centuries (such as contemporary shipbuilding treatises), to compare this information with archaeological data from previously excavated and researched Iberian shipwrecks, to collect samples and/or data from relevant, accessible ship timber assemblages held in storage, and with selected in situ shipwrecks which will be subjected to survey and analysis, to test the range of scientific approaches to timber characterisation, dating and provenancing being pursued in related work packages.

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Newport Medieval Ship Project

This ongoing research project is characterised by co-production between Nigel Nayling at UWTSD and Toby Jones as curator of the ship for Newport Museum and Heritage Service. This fifteenth-century, clinker-built ship, discovered in 2002 during development in Newport, south-east Wales, is the most substantial medieval ship excavated in Britain in the modern era. The ship was dismantled and recovered for detailed digital recording and conservation which continues today.

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Shipwrecks and Dendrochronology Research Projects

Combining expertise in tree-ring dating and nautical archaeology, this research theme is being delivered through collaboration with international research projects offering opportunities for student engagement and learning, and research outputs suitable for REF submissions.

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Funded Research Projects:

Digital Recording and Hull Modelling of Archaeological Ships. British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship 2018-20 NAFR1180264. September 2018- September 2020

ForSEAdiscovery  (FP7  -  Marie Curie Initial Training Network):  Multidisciplinary EU member state based research training programme focused on timber supply and exploitation for shipbuilding in the Iberian Peninsula during the Age of Exploration. February 2014 - February 2018 

The Newport Medieval Ship: Publication, Representation and Dissemination. AHRC Fellowship Completion and deposition of digital archive for the Newport Ship Project with the Archaeological Data Service. October 2012 - July 2013

Digitally reconstructing the Newport Medieval Ship: 3D designs and dynamic visualisations for recreating the original hull form and sailing characteristics. Newport Museum and Heritage Service (Nayling as specialist advisor). CyMAL: Museum Archives and Libraries Wales, Innovation and Development Grant. May 2012 - March 2013

Tackling ethical issues and dilemmas in community-based participatory research: a practical resource. (Co-investigator in project led by Durham University) AHRC, Research Grant, Follow on Fund, AH/J006645/1. March 2012 - September 2012

Ancient Maritime Pitch and Tar: a multi-disciplinary study of sources, technology and preservation. (In collaboration with British Museum, University of Cardiff and NCC). Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship. October 2010-October 2012

Intellectual Property and Informed Consent: Partnerships and Participation.(Co-investigator in project led by Newcastle University)AHRC Museums, Libraries and Archives Follow-on Funding Scheme. February 2011 - September 2011

ShipShape 3D Communities. (UWTSD with Birmingham University and NCC). Principal Investigator, AHRC Museums, Libraries and Archives Follow-on Funding Scheme, AH/J500794/1. March 2011 - March 2012

ShipShape: solid modelling and visualisation of the Newport Medieval Ship from 3D digital record. Arts and Humanities Research Council funded (Research Grants - Museums, Archives and Libraries), October 2008-March 2011 

Filling in the blanks in European dendrochronology: building a multidisciplinary research network to assess Iberian wooden cultural heritage worldwide. Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) funded, September 2009 – March 2011

The Newport Ship Recording Project. Newport City Council (Archaeological consultant). The Heritage Lottery Fund, HG-05-00350. January 2006 - March 2008

I have worked as a nautical archaeologist and dendrochronologist in the Severn Estuary region since 1991, including the excavation, post-excavation analysis and publication of a thirteenth-century clinker built boat, the Magor Pill medieval wreck (excavated 1998, published 2000, conserved timbers in store of National Museum Wales), and a late Romano-Celtic boat from Barland's Farm (excavated 1994, published 2004, conserved timbers in store at Newport Ship Centre).

Recognition of this expertise led to my involvement in the Newport Ship excavations as a nautical specialist able to advise on the significance of the find (including providing tree-ring dating) and oversee the ship's recording, dismantling and recovery in 2002/3 for  the Newport Museums and Heritage Service. Between 2004 and 2008 the digital recording of all the ship's timbers was carried out by a team including Nayling as consultant and dendrochronologist, providing oversight on the quality of the data being generated.

My research and collaboration with Newport Museums and Heritage Service has generated new methods to meet the very significant challenges of excavating internationally important ship and boat finds, contributing to the definition of best practice by professional bodies and associations in the international field of maritime conservation practices, not only within the academic field, but also with heritage agencies and museums.

The lack of appropriate standards for responding to archaeological discoveries of ship-remains at the time of the ship's discovery made excavation of the Newport Ship problematic and was a major driver in the production of the Institute of Archaeologist’s The standard and guidance for nautical archaeological recording and reconstruction.

I was able to use my research experience on the ship project to deliver significant input in delivery of this standard which wasformally adopted as Institute for Archaeology approved practice at the Annual General Meeting of the Institute held on 15 October 2008. As an invited member of the Medieval Working Group, I have also contributed towards delivery of the Maritime and Marine Historic Environment Research Framework for England.

My work continues to promote best practice in digital approaches in nautical archaeology, extending his contributions to changes in professional standards, guidelines and training. I am a founding member of the Faro Rhino Archaeological User Group (FRAUG) which has been developing innovative digital approaches to archaeological ship documentation, analysis and dissemination. Meetings of this group have taken place at the Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark; the Vasa Museum, Stockholm, Sweden; the University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg; Newport Ship Centre and the Kogge Project, Antwerp, Belgium.

The 6th Annual meeting and workshop of the network was held at the Newport Ship Centre in 2012 offering workshops and training throughout the week in advance of the formal meeting . Members include practitioners from a wide range of organisations, such as state heritage agencies (e.g. the National Service for Cultural Heritage, RCE Lelystad in the Netherlands), national maritime museums (e.g. Norwegian Maritime Museum, Oslo), universities (e.g. University of Connecticut, USA) and ship project groups (e.g. Yenikapa, Istanbul, Turkey).

The next meeting of the group will be hosted by the Traditional Boats of Ireland Project in Baltimore, Ireland (May 2014) with workshops on boatbuilding, traditional sailing, laser scanning and hull form reconstruction. Training opportunities for members are aimed at developing their practice, and subsequent deployment of these methods have been seen at numerous ship projects in the museum sector including the Bremen Cog, the Barcode Project, Norway; Aber Wrac'h, France; and Roman Barges of the Rhine, Netherlands.

Recent Reports

Research contracts and consultancy work undertaken through the Archaeological Services division. Historic England commissioned studies published as research reports are included in Publications.

2015 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. Tree ring dating of timbers retrieved from the Thames during the London Gateway development

2015 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. Tree-ring Analysis of Oak Timbers from the Old Rectory, Lower Brailes, Warwickshire

2014 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. Tree-ring Analysis of Selected Timbers from The Wheelwrights Shop, Chatham Historic Dockyard

2014 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. A post medieval timber assemblage from Mill Leat, Bute Park, Cardiff

2014 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. Tree-ring Analysis of Selected Timbers from HMS Victory

2014 Nayling, N. and Bale, R. Tree-ring dating potential of dendrochronology samples from Town Mill, Hanbury Street, Droitwich, Worcestershire - assessment report

2014 Nayling, N. A Desk Based Assessment in Advance of Proposed Works in the Vicinity of Newport Wetlands Reserve

2011 Nayling, N. The Mystery Wreck Hampshire: Tree-Ring Analysis and Wood Identification of Ship Timbers. English Heritage Research Report Department Series 10/2011

2009 Nayling, N. Dendrochronological Spot Date Report: Disarticulated Framing Timber, Studland Bay

2009 Nayling, N. Nant Farm (G2010) Prehistoric Burnt Mound, Porth Neigwl, Llanengan, Gwynedd: Wood Assemblage Assessment

2009 Nayling, N. Tree-Ring Analysis and Wood Identification of Samples from The 'Mystery Wreck' off Horsetail Sands, Eastern Solent, England

2009 Nayling, N., Bates, M. and Crowther, J.  Feasibility Study of the Commercial Potential of Research into Estuarine/Coastal/Shallow-Marine (Ecs-M) Environments And Heritage. Project: HE 08 FSP 1001

2009 Dendrochronological Spot Date Report: Disarticulated Framing Timber, Studland Bay

2009 Nant Farm (G2010) Prehistoric Burnt Mound, Porth Neigwl, Llanengan, Gwynedd: Wood Assemblage Assessment

2009 Tree-Ring Analysis and Wood Identification of Samples from The 'Mystery Wreck' off Horsetail Sands, Eastern Solent, England

2008 The Norman's Bay Wreck, East Sussex: Tree-ring Analysis of Ship Timbers. English Heritage Research Report Department Series 25-2008

2008 Tree-ring Analysis of Timbers from Llancynfelin Trackway, Borth Bog, Ceredigion

2019 Nayling, N. Upper Quay Street Gloucester Gloucestershire Tree-Ring Analysis of Oak Timbers. Historic England Research Report Series 16-2018

2019 Nayling, N., Hamilton, D., Reimer, P. and Marshall, P.Bouldnor Cliff, Isle of Wight: Tree-Ring Analysis and Radiocarbon Wiggle-Matching of Subfossil Oaks. Historic England Research Report Series 73-2015

2018 Rich, S., Nayling, N., Momber, G. and Crespo Solana, A. Shipwrecks and provenance : in-situ timber sampling protocols with a focus on wrecks of the Iberian shipbuilding tradition. Archaeopress, Oxford.

2017 Domínguez-Delmás, M., Trapaga-Monchet, K., Nayling, N. and García-González, I. Natural hazards and building history: Roof structures of Segovia cathedral (Spain) reveal its history through tree-ring research, Dendrochronologia, 46, 1-13

2017 Martins, A., Castro, F. and Nayling, N. Belinho 1: Registo e Analise Provisoria as Madeiras do Navio, in  Varela Gomes, R. and Trapaga Monchet, K. (eds) Arvores, Barcos e Homens na Peninsula Iberica (Seculos XVI-XVIII).  Portico Librerias, Zaragoza. pp: 181-192

2016 Nayling, N. Quotation of Tree-ring Dates, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 45.1, 3-5

2014 Auer, J. and Nayling,N. The Ship in Auer, J. and Maarleveld, T. (eds) The Gresham Ship Project. A 16th-Century Merchantman Wrecked in the Princes Channel, Thames Estuary. Volume I: Excavation and Hull Studies. Archaeopress, Oxford. pp: 19-46

2013 Nayling, N. and Jones, T. The Newport Medieval Ship Archive. Archaeology Data Service Archive arch-1563-1. doi: 10.5284/1020898

2013 Nayling, N. and Jones, T. The Newport Medieval Ship, Wales, United Kingdom, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

2013 Nayling, N. and Susperregi, J., 2013, Iberian Dendrochronology and the Newport Medieval Ship, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.

2013 Banks, S., Armstrong, A., Carter, K., Graham, H., Hayward, P., Henry, A., Holland, T., Holmes, C., Lee, A., McNulty, A., Moore, N., Nayling, N., Stokoe, A. & Strachan, A. Everyday ethics in community-based participatory research, Contemporary Social Science, 8.3, 263-277. Open Access DOI:10.1080/21582041.2013.769618

2013 Bates, M.R., Nayling, N., Bates, R., Dawson, S., Huws, D. & Wickham-Jones, C. A Multi-disciplinary Approach to the Archaeological Investigation of a Bedrock-Dominated Shallow-Marine Landscape: an example from the Bay of Firth, Orkney, UK, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 42.1, 24-43.

2013 Domínguez-Delmás, M., Nayling, N., Wazny, T., Loureiro, V. & Lavier, C. Dendrochronological Dating and Provenancing of Timbers from the Arade 1 Shipwreck, Portugal, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 42.1, 118-136.

2012 Nayling, N. and Jones, T. Three-Dimensional Recording and Hull Form Modelling of the Newport (Wales) Medieval Ship, in N. Gunsenin (ed.), Between Continents. Proceedings of the Twelfth Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology Istanbul 2009, 319-24. Istanbul.

2012 Soe, S. P., Eyers, D. R., Jones, T. and Nayling, N. Additive manufacturing for archaeological reconstruction of a medieval ship, Rapid Prototyping Journal, 18.6, 443-50.

2012 Graham, H., Mason, R. and Nayling, N. Earning Legitimacy: Participation, Intellectual Property and Informed Consent. http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/74491/4/EarningLegIPICJuly2012.pdf

2012 Young G.H.F., Loader N.J., Mccarroll D., Bale R.J., Nayling N.,Vousden N. Central England temperature since ad 1850: The potential of stable carbon isotopes in British oak trees to reconstruct past summer temperatures, Journal of Quaternary Science, 27.6, 606-14.

2011 Jones, T. N. and Nayling, N., ShipShape: Creating a 3D Solid Model of the Newport Medieval Ship, in F. Castro and L. Thomas (eds.), Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology Underwater Archaeology Proceedings 2011, 54-60.

2011 Nayling, N. Dendrochronology, in Momber, G et al (eds) Mesolithic Occupation at Bouldnor Cliff and the Submerged Prehistoric Landscapes of the Solent, CBA Research Report 164

2010 Nayling, N. A Possible Mill on the River Mersey, Ashton Upon Mersey, Greater Manchester: Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers. English Heritage Research Report Department Series 73/2010

2010 Nayling, N. The Swash Channel Wreck, Dorset: Tree-ring Analysis of Ship Timbers. English Heritage Research Report Department Series 106/2010

2009 Bell, M., Manning, S. and Nayling, N. Dating the Coastal Mesolithic of Western Britain: a Test of Some Evolutionary Assumptions in Crombé, P. et al (eds) Chronology and Evolution of the Mesolithic in North West Europe. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 615-634

2009 Nayling, N. The Application of Dendrochronology to Underwater Archaeology, in Tsang, C. International Symposium on Underwater Archaeology, Taiwan, 2008

2007 Nayling, N., and Manning, S. Dating the submerged forests: dendrochronology and radiocarbon ‘wiggle-match’ dating, in Bell, M. (ed) Prehistoric coastal communities: the archaeology of Western Britain 6000–3000 cal BC. CBA Research Report 149, 90-102

2007 Nayling, N.  Dendrochronology, in Van de Noort, R., Chapman, H.P., and Collis, J.R. (eds) Sutton Common: The Excavation of an Iron Age 'Marsh Fort', CBA Research Report 154

2006 Brown, M., Bell, M., Timpany, S., and Nayling, N. Mesolithic to Neolithic and medieval coastal environmental change: intertidal survey at Woolaston, Gloucestershire, Archaeology in the Severn Estuary, 15, 67-83

2004 Bell, M., Allen, J. R. L., Buckley, S., Dark, P. and Nayling, N. Mesolithic to Neolithic coastal environmental change: excavations at Goldcliff East, 2003 and research at Redwick Archaeology in the Severn Estuary, 14, 1-26

2004 Nayling, N. and McGrail, S. The Barland's Farm Romano-Celtic Boat CBA Research Report 138

Collaborative arrangements and networks

Faro-Arm and Rhino Archaeological User Group

Membership of Research Council or other committees / advisory panels

  • Member of the Advisory Board of Atlantic World Marine Archeology Research Institute (AMARI).
  • Member of the Association pour l’étudé ét la Valorisation dés Epavés ét Navirés Anciéns

Organisation of conferences etc

  • Chair/organiser session on digital approaches to nautical archaeology at Society for Historical Archaeology 2013 conference, January 2013
  • Chair / Co-organiser FRAUG workshop at Newport Ship, 2012

Refereeing publications and proposals

  • Grant Proposal referee/evaluation –AHRC, EPSRC, NWO Dutch research council, Research Executive Agency H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN), Irish Research Council, Portuguese Research Council
  • Peer review of publications: International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Dendrochronologia, Tree Ring Bulletin, Relicta, British Archaeology magazine

Scholarly awards or fellowships

Newport Ship AHRC Fellowship October 2012 -July 2013

External Examiner

  • University of Bournemouth 2006-10
  • University of Southampton 2014-2017