Donna Hawthorne BSc MA PhD PGCert ACIFA

Project OFFICER (post-Excavation)


Donna HawthorneIn 2009 Donna graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a Joint degree in Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, completing her undergraduate thesis on a palynological history of Castle Enigan Bog, Co. Down. She continued her studies with a masters in Archaeology at University College Dublin, graduating in 2011. Her masters’ thesis focused on the environmental history of Patchi’Co, a site in Belderrig Co. Mayo, adjacent to the Ceide Fields system.

In 2011 Donna began her PhD at Trinity College Dublin, looking at past wildfires and their impact on the landscape in Ireland during the Holocene, evidenced from macroscopic charcoal extracted from lake cores. This work was funded by the Earth and Natural Sciences doctoral programme, and utilised new methods and techniques of fire history reconstruction and charcoal analysis not previously carried out in Ireland.  During this time, she also completed a postgraduate certificate in Statistics, and a postgraduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

After completing her PhD, Donna joined AOC Archaeology in 2016 as a project officer in post excavation, acting as an environmental and palaeoecological specialist, carrying out analysis such as pollen, charcoal, loss on ignition, magnetic susceptibility, sedimentary and elemental analysis of organic and lacustrine material as well as Bayesian analysis.

Donna continues to specialise in palaeoecology and environmental archaeology with a specific interest in Holocene vegetation dynamics, reconstructing past fire regimes, Holocene biodiversity, palaeoclimatology and dendrochronology.  Complementing her analytical work, Donna is an Early Career Research Group Leader for the Global Paleofire Working Group, which is supported by PAGES (Past Global Changes) and is an Early Career Organiser for the INQUA congress which will take place in Dublin, Ireland in 2019.


Selected Bibliography

Hawthorne., D and Steve, D (2013) A vegetation history of Belderrig Beg, Co. Mayo. IQUA Field Guide: North Mayo. Dublin: IQUA.

Hawthorne., D and Mitchell., F.J.G (2016) ‘Identifying past fire regimes throughout the Holocene in Ireland using new and established methods of charcoal analysis’, Quaternary Science Reviews,137, 45-53.

Hawthorne., D and Mitchell., F.J.G (Forthcoming) ‘Investigating patterns of wildfire in Ireland: Creating a synthesised record of fire which can be compared to regional and global trends in fire history.’

Hawthorne, D., Courtney-Mustaphi, C., Aleman, J et al., (Forthcoming) Developing a Modern Global Charcoal Database (mGCD) for Quantitative Palaeofire Reconstruction

Hawthorne., D and Mitchell., F.J.G (Forthcoming) ‘A Palaeoecological investigation of past fire regimes and  vegetation history at Cuckoo Lough, Killarney National Park’