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Mike Baillie, Queen's University, Belfast.


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I am currently Emeritus Professor of Palaeoecology, in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University, Belfast. My original degree was in Physics before moving to Palaeoecology where I completed a doctorate entitled A dendrochronological study in Ireland with reference to the dating of medieval and post-medieval timbers. I was one of the team (with Jon Pilcher, Jennifer Hillam, David Brown and Gordon Pearson) responsible for the construction of Ireland's long oak dendrochronology and the calibration of the radiocarbon timescale. My interest in high resolution chronology prompted an interest in catastrophic environmental events that showed up in tree-ring chronologies. I was one of the first to recognise the existence of global environmental downturns as shown by synchronous growth reductions in tree-ring chronologies around the world (Baillie, 1994). As a result of these observations I have spent many years attempting to reconstruct the effects of volcanic eruptions and extraterrestrial impacts. I am recognised internationally as an expert in tree-ring studies and chronology and was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 1990.


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Research Interests

Dendrochronology - high resolution chronology in recent millennia - abrupt environmental downturns in recent millennia - environmental effects of explosive volcanism - frequency and environmental effects of extraterrestrial impacts in recent millennia - mythology as a source of information on extreme events - linking tree-ring and ice-core chronologies.


Earth, Air, Fire.

Selected Publications

Baillie, M.G.L. (1982) Tree-Ring Dating and Archaeology. London: Croom-Helm.

Baillie, M.G.L. (1994) Dendrochronology raises questions about the nature of the AD 536 dust-veil event, The Holocene 4, 2, 212-217.

Baillie, M.G.L. (1995) A Slice through Time: Dendrochronology and Precision Dating. London: Routledge.

Baillie, M.G.L. (1996) Extreme environmental events and the linking of the tree-ring and ice-core records, In: J.S. Dean, D.M. Meko and T.W. Swetnam (eds.), Tree Rings, Environment and Humanity: Proceedings of the International Conference, Tucson, Arizona, 17-21 May 1994. Tucson: Radiocarbon, 703-711.

Baillie, M.G.L. (1999) Exodus to Arthur: Catastrophic Encounters with Comets. London: BT Batsford.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2001) The AD 540 Event, Current Archaeology, 15, (6) No. 174, 266-269.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2002) Future of Dendrochronology with Respect to Archaeology, Dendrochronologia, 20, 67-83.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2003) Dendrochronology and Volcanoes, Geoscientist, 13, 4-10.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2004) An environmental context for the Dover Boat, In: Clark, P. (ed.), The Dover Bronze Age Boat in Context: Society and Water Transport in Prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 106-110.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2006) New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection. London: Tempus.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2006) Tree-Rings Indicate Global Environmental Downturns that could have been Caused by Comet Debris, In: Bobrowsky, P. and Rickman, H. (eds.), Comet/Asteroid Impacts and Human Society: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Berlin: Springer, 105-122.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2007) The case for significant numbers of extraterrestrial impacts through the late Holocene, Journal of Quaternary Science, 22, 101-10.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2008) Proposed re-dating of the European ice core chronology by seven years prior to the 7th century AD, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L15813, doi:10.1029/2008GL034755.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2009) Excursions into absolute chronology, In: Manning, S.W. and Bruce, M.J. (eds.), Tree-Rings, Kings, and Old World Archaeology and Environment: Festschrift for Peter Kuniholm. Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books, 13-24.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2009) What are the chances? Hints from the tree-ring record, In: Fenwick, J. (ed.), Lost and Found II: rediscovering Ireland 's past. Dublin: Wordwell, 95-104.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2009) The Radiocarbon Calibration from an Irish Perspective, Radiocarbon, 51, 361-371.

Baillie, M.G.L. (2010) Volcanoes, ice cores and tree rings; one story or two? Antiquity, 84, 202-215.

Baillie, M.G.L. and Brown, D.M. (2002) Oak dendrochronology: some recent archaeological developments from an Irish perspective, Antiquity, 76, 497-505.

Baillie, M.G.L. and Brown, D.M. (2003) Dendrochronology and the reconstruction of fine resolution environmental change in the Holocene, In: Mackay, A. et al. (eds.), Global Change in the Holocene. London: Arnold, 75-91.

Baillie, M.G.L. and Brown, D.M. (2009) A Chronological Glimpse into the Later First Millennium BC, In: Cooney, G., Coles, J., Ryan, M, Sievers, S. and Becker, K. (eds.), Relics of auld decency: Festschrift for Barry Raftery. Dublin: Wordwell, 17-24.

Bayliss, A., Groves , C., McCormac, G., Baillie, M., Brown, D. and Brennand, M. (1999) Precise dating of the Norfolk Timber Circle, Nature, 402, 479.

Briffa, K.R., Jones, P.D., Vogel, R.B., Schweingruber, F.H., Baillie, M.G.L., Shiyatov, S.G. and Vaganov, E.A. (1999) European tree rings and climate in the 16th century, Climatic Change, 43, 151-168.

García-Suáez, A.M., Butler , C.J. and M.G.L. Baillie (2009) Climate signals in tree-ring chronologies in a temperate climate: A multi-species approach, Dendrochronologia, 27, 183-198.

Hogg, A.G., McCormac, F.G., Higham, T.F.G., Reimer, P.G., Baillie, M.G.L. and Palmer, J.G. (2002) High-precision 14C measurements of contemporaneous tree-ring dated wood from the British isles and New Zealand, Radiocarbon, 44, 633-640.

Mallory, J.P., Brown, D.M. and Baillie, M.G.L. (1999) Dating Navan Fort, Antiquity, 73, 427-431.

McCafferty, P. and Baillie, M.G.L. (2005) The Celtic Gods: Comets in Irish Mythology. London: Tempus.

McCormac, F.G., Baillie, M.G.L., Pilcher, J. and Kalin, R.M. (1995) Location-Dependent Differences in the 14-C Content of Wood, Radiocarbon, 37, 395-407.

Pilcher, J.R., Baillie, M.G.L., Brown, D.M., MacSweeney, P.B. and McLawrence, A. (1995) Dendrochronology of Sub-Fossil Pine in the North of Ireland, Journal of Ecology, 83, 665–71.

Plunkett, G.M., Whitehouse, N.J., Hall, V.A., Brown, D.M. and Baillie, M.G.L. (2004) A precisely dated lake level rise marked by diatomite formation in north-eastern Ireland, Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, 3-7.

Turney, C., Baillie, M.G.L., Clemens, S., Brown, D., Palmer, J., Pilcher, J.R., Reimer, P. and Leuschner, H.H. (2005) Testing solar forcing of pervasive Holocene cycles, Journal of Quaternary Science, 20, 511-518.

Zielinski, G.A., Germani, M.S., Larsen, G., Baillie, M.G.L., Whitlow, S., Twickler, M.S. and Taylor, K. (1995) Evidence of the Eldgja (Iceland) eruption in the GISP2 Greenland ice core: relationship to eruption processes and climatic conditions in the tenth century, The Holocene, 5, 129-140.