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anomiid shell from excavation at the Old Council House, Bristol

I am a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Change and Sustainability at Bath Spa University, UK. I’m also an Associate Partner and Environmental Archaeologist at L – P : Archaeology, a commercial archaeology unit.

I believe that archaeology, even the very detailed stuff, is for sharing, and so the results of my archaeomalacological analyses can be searched in this database, and (where appropriate) appear on the South West Britain Palaeobiodiversity Maps These two need updating though! I am a strong advocate of open access publication, and am a joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Open Quaternary.

I am a member of Guerilla Archaeology, a collective who organise archaeology-based public engagement at surprising venues. I was also a co-organiser of Day of Archaeology, and an editor (and project director) of WikiArc, a collaborative online reference tool for archaeologists, and an editor of Kid Vinyl, a e-zine about music.

My Publications

Law, M., 2021. Snails. In Hood, A., Prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon Activity in the Upper Thames Valley: Archaeological Investigations at Lechlade Memorial Hall and Skate Park in 2017. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 139. pp.34-35.

Law, M., Corbin, S., Wilkins, M., Harris, V., Martin, G., and Lowe, R., 2021. The Last Hurrah (and The Long Haul): co-creation of theatre as climate change education. Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 45 (4), 549-562.

Gaffney, V., Fitch, S., Bates, M., Ware, R. L.. Kinnaird, T., Gearey, B., Hill, T., Telford, R., Batt,
C., Stern, B., Whittaker, J., Davies, S., Ben Sharada, M., Everett, R., Cribdon, R., Kistler, L.,
Harris, S., Kearney, K., Walker, J., Muru, M., Hamilton, D., Law, M., Finlay, A., Bates, R.,
Allaby, R.G., 2019. Multi-proxy characterisation of the Storegga Tsunami and its impact on the early
Holocene landscapes of the southern North Sea. Geosciences,

Law, M., 2020. The land snails. In Randall, C., A new barrow near Larkhall. The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 113. pp.275-277.

Law, M., 2020. Molluscs. In Young, A, ed, Eckweek, Peasedown St John, Somerset: survey and excavations at a shrunken medieval hamlet 1988-90. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 233-236. ISBN 9780367860318.

Law, M., 2020. Thinking about variable preservation within land snail assemblages. Archaeo+Malacology Newsletter, 33. pp. 7-9. ISSN 2055-7604

Law, M., 2019. Beyond extractive practice: bioarchaeology, geoarchaeology and human palaeoecology for the people. Internet Archaeology, 51.

Law, M., and Richard Madgwick, 2019. Hand-collected shell. In Greenslade, S., ed., Butrint 6: Excavations on the Vrina Plain. Volume 2: The Finds. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 237-244.

Thomas, R., Matt Law, Emma Browning, Alistair Hill, and Rachel Small, 2019. The changing exploitation of oysters (Ostrea edulis L.) in late medieval and early modern Dudley Castle, West Midlands. Environmental Archaeology. doi: 10.1080/14614103.2018.1563373

Lewis, J, Rosen, C, Booth, R, Paul Davies, Martyn Allen, and Matt Law, 2019. Making a significant place: excavations at the Late Mesolithic site of Langley’s Lane, Midsomer Norton, Bath and North-East Somerset. Archaeological Journal, 176 (1). doi: 10.1080/00665983.2019.1551507

Law, M., and Paul Davies, 2018. Land and freshwater molluscs. In Sandra Lopez Varela (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. Hoboken, USA: Wiley.

Law, M., 2018. [Book review] “The Gwithian Landscape: molluscs and archaeology on Cornish sand dunes” by Thomas Walker. The Holocene, 28 (10). pp. 1680-1681.

Law, M., 2018. [Book review] “The Historic Landscape of the Mendip Hills” by Elaine Jamieson. Environmental Archaeology.

Roberts, D., A. Valdez-Tullett, P.Marshall, J. Last, A. Oswald, A. Barclay, B. Bishop, E.
Dunbar, A. Forward, M. Law, N. Linford, P. Linford, I. López-Dóriga, A. Manning, A.
Payne, R. Pelling, A. Powell, P. Reimer, M. Russell, F. Small, S. Soutar, J. Vallender, E.
Winter and F. Worley, 2018. Recent investigations at two long barrows and reflections on
their context in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and environs. Internet Archaeology 47. doi:10.11141/ia.47.7

Hollinrake, A., and Matt Law, 2018. Further Neolithic wooden structures at Walpole Landfill Site, Somerset. PAST 88, pp. 15-16.

Law, M., 2017. Numerical approaches to land snail palaeoecology. In Michael Allen (ed.), Molluscs in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow. pp.48-64.

Law, M., and Nigel Thew, 2017. Molluscs from dune-machair systems in the Western Island: archaeological site formation processes and environmental change. In Michael Allen (ed.), Molluscs in Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow. pp.82-99.

Hill, T., John Whittaker, Richard Brunning, Matt Law, Martin Bell, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Elaine Dunbar, Peter Marshall and Paula Reimer, 2017. Palaeoenvironmental investigations of a Mesolithic-Neolithic sedimentary sequence from Queen’s Sedgemoor, Somerset. In: Mark Williams, Tom Hill, Ian Boomer, and Ian Wilkinson, (eds) The Archaeological and Forensic Applications of Microfossils: a deeper understanding of human history. Micropalaeontological Society Special Publication. London: Geological Society. pp.79-102.

Law, M., 2016. Molluscs, in Gavin Glover, Paul Flintoft, and Richard Moore, eds., ‘A Mersshy Contree Called Holdernesse’: Excavations on the route of a National Grid pipeline in Holderness, East Yorkshire. Archaeopress, Oxford.pp. 246-247.

Wright, E., and Matt Law, eds. 2016. The How and Why of Archaeology Outreach. AP: Online Journal of Public Archaeology, Special Volume 2.

Wright, E., and Matt Law, 2016. Introduction: emerging approaches to public archaeology. AP: Online Journal of Public Archaeology, Special Volume 2. pp.1-4.

Law, M., Ffion Reynolds, and Jacqui Mulville, 2016. Back to the Future? Presenting archaeology at the Green Man Festival. AP: Online Journal of Public Archaeology, Special Volume 2. pp.57-68.

Mulville, J., Niall Sharples and Matthew Law, eds., 2015. 2010 Hebridean Archaeological Forum. Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 9.

Law M., and Nigel Thew, 2015. Land snails, sand dunes and archaeology in the Outer Hebrides. Journal of the North Atlantic, Special Volume 9. pp.125-133

Herridge, V., Suzanne Pilaar Birch, and Matthew Law, 2015. Open Quaternary: a new, open access journal for Quaternary research. Open Quaternary, 1 . doi: 10.5334/

Law, M., and Colleen Morgan, 2014. The archaeology of digital abandonment: online sustainability and archaeological sites. Present Pasts, 6 (1): 2. pp. 9-11. doi: 10.5334/pp.58.

Law, M., 2014. Mollusc shells from archaeological building materials. In Katherine Szabo, Catherine Dupont, Vesna Dimitrijevic, Luis Gomez Gastelum and Nathalie Serrand, eds., Archaeomalacology: shells in the archaeological record. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 253-256.

Law, M., and Nancy Hollinrake, 2014. The Walpole Landfill Site: wet, muddy & rewarding. British Archaeology, 138. pp. 28-33.

Law, M., 2014. [Book review] “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein. Geographical, 86 (12), p. 61.

Law, M., 2014. [Book review] “Can Science Fix Climate Change?” by Mike Hulme. Geographical, 86 (6), p. 60.

Law, M., 2014. Recording breakage in true limpet (Gastropoda: Patellidae) shells. Archaeo+Malacology Newsletter, 24. pp. 9-11.

Law, M., 2014. [Book review] “Living in a Dangerous Climate: Climate Change and Human Evolution” by Renee Hetherington. Ethnobiology Letters, 5, pp. 42-43. doi: 10.14237/ebl.5.2014.4243

Law, M., 2014. [Book review] “The Politics of Climate Change” (Second Edition) by Anthony Giddens. Geographical, 86 (3), p. 72

Law, M., 2013. [Book Review] “Negotiating Climate Change” by Amanda Machin. Geographical, 85 (12), p.63.

Law, M., 2013. [Book Review] “Climate: A Very Short Introduction” by Mark Maslin. Geographical, 85 (10), p. 61.

Law, M., 2013. Bryozoans in archaeology. Internet Archaeology, 35. doi:10.11141/ia.35.3

Mulville, J., and Law, M., 2013. Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement: activities and advice. Cardiff: CORG/ Association for Environmental Archaeology. (Read online).

Law, M., 2013. [Book Review] “What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?” by Tony Juniper. Geographical, 85 (4), p. 63.

Evans, J.G., Matthew Law, and Nigel Thew, 2012. Stability and flux in the dune environment, in Niall Sharples, The Beaker-period and Early Bronze Age settlement at Sligeanach, Cill Donnain, in Mike Parker Pearson, ed. From Machair to Mountains: archaeological survey and excavation in South Uist. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 250-253.

Law, M., 2012. Shellfish and coastal exploitation, in Niall Sharples, The Beaker-period and Early Bronze Age settlement at Sligeanach, Cill Donnain, in Mike Parker Pearson, ed. From Machair to Mountains: archaeological survey and excavation in South Uist. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 247-250.

Law, M., 2011. Zooarchaeology on the Internet: a view from Britain, The SAA Archaeological Record, 11 (1), 11-14. (Read online)

Law, M., and Jessica Winder, 2009. Different rates of survival of right and left valves of european oyster (Ostrea edulis L.) from archaeological sites in Britain, Archaeo+Malacology Newsletter 16, 1-3. (PDF)

Law, M., 2009. For the sake of the worms, British Archaeology, 108, 36-38 (Online)

Law, M., 2009. Shell pendant, in Reg Jackson, Excavations at Old Council House, Corn Street, Bristol, 2005. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 22. 68

Law, M., Guy Hunt, and David Connolly, 2009. Building a Website for Your Project, BAJR Guide 22, (PDF // Wiki text version)

Conference Presentations


“Preparing a leaf bud and bud scale reference collection”, poster (co-authored with Darrell Watts) presented at Integrated Microscopy Analysis in Archaeobotany conference, University of Reading, UK, February 2020.


“Why climate action needs creative arts”, presented at TEDx Bath Spa University, November 2019.
“The Last Hurrah: theatre for changing times”, paper (co-authored with Rew Lowe) presented at Bath Spa Research Festival, Bath Spa University, UK, July 2019.
“Timechester Revisited: an introduction to archaeological science”, invited talk for Science in Radstock, Radstock, UK, February 2019.


“Snails in houses: should we care?”, paper presented at Association for Environmental Archaeology Spring Conference, Birmingham, UK, April 2018.


“Introduction to environmental archaeology”, invited talk for South Somerset Archaeological Research Group, North Cadbury, UK, April 2017.


“Palaeoparasitology and histories of environmental justice”, paper presented at Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, Southampton, UK, December 2016.

“Land snails and environmental change in the Western Isles and Orkney”, paper (co-authored with Nigel Thew) presented at Association for Environmental Archaeology conference, Kirkwall, Orkney, UK, April 2016.

“The past in Somerset prehistory”, paper presented at Landscaping Change conference, Bath Spa University, UK, March 2016.


“Beyond extractive practice: bioarchaeology, geoarchaeology and human paleoecology for the people”, paper presented at Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, Bradford University, UK, December 2015.


“Sustainability in life and work: student creative projects for sustainability communication”, paper presented at Embedding Education for Sustainability in a Creative and Multi-disciplinary Context workshop, Bath Spa University, UK, March 2014.


“Prehistoric wetland-dryland interactions on a buried island, Walpole, Somerset”, poster (co-authored with Charles Hollinrake, Nancy Hollinrake and Arthur Hollinrake) presented at Theoretical Archaeology Group conference, Bournemouth, UK, December 2013.

“Snails, sand dunes and archaeology in the Outer Hebrides”, invited paper presented to the Conchological Society, London, October 2013.

“Share with Schools: widening access, engaging communities and delivering employability skills to undergraduates”, paper (co-authored with Hannah Buckingham, Tom George, Catherine Horler-Underwood, James Jenkins, Melissa Julian-Jones and Dave Wyatt) presented at Knowledge Exchange Conference, Southampton, UK, July 2013.

“Provoking the Past: Guerilla Archaeology”, paper (co-authored with Jacqui Mulville and Rich Madgwick) presented at Public Engagement Ambassadors event, Cardiff, UK, June 2013.

“Day of Archaeology: large-scale collaborative digital archaeology”, invited paper (co-authored with Andrew Dufton, Stu Eve, Tom Goskar, Pat Hadley, Jess Ogden, and Lorna Richardson) presented at Society for Historical Archaeology conference, Leicester, UK, January 2013


“The Archaeology of Digital Abandonment”, invited paper (co-authored with Colleen Morgan) presented at Digital Engagement in Archaeology conference, UCL, UK, November 2012

“Littoral grazing by sheep: direct evidence from dental calculus”, poster presented at the Association for Environmental Archaeology Spring Conference, Plymouth, UK, April 2012.


“PEACE – Postgraduate Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement”,  short paper and poster presented at TAG, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, December 2011 (with Jacqui Mulville)

“Beach detritus as a cultural resource in island societies”, paper presented at TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, December 2011

“PEACE – Postgraduate Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement”, poster presented at AHRC public engagement event, London, UK, September 2011 (with Jacqui Mulville)

“Bryozoa and British Archaeology”, poster presented at QRA Postgraduate Symposium, Durham University, UK, August 30th – September 1st, 2011


“Snails, Other Invertebrates, and Coastal Archaeology in South West Britain”, paper presented at TAG – Theoretical Archaeology Group, University of Bristol, UK, 17th-19th December 2010.

“Hands on Activities at the National Museum of Wales”, at PEACE – Postgraduate Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement, at Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK, 1st December 2010

“Land Snails, Sand Dunes and Archaeology in the Outer Hebrides” (joint paper with Nigel Thew), at Hebridean Archaeological Forum, September 2010

“Archaeozoology on the Internet, a view from Britain”, paper presented at ICAZ conference, Paris, August 2010

“Shells from Archaeological Building Materials”, poster presented at ICAZ conference, Paris, August 2010

“The Human Body from Death to Ancient Skeleton”, talk presented at A Pint with the Past, Bristol, UK, 23rd July 2010


“Mapping Bioarchaeological Results from Grey Literature”, poster presented at the 30th Meeting of the Association for Environmental Archaeology, York, UK, September 2009 [view online]

List of Unpublished Reports

11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2008 11:33 am

    Hi Matthew,

    glad you like our website. Is there any way we can contribute any of our content to your Wiki, and vice versa to yours? And if you’re in London any time over the summer, come and see us, and have a look at the site.

    All the best


  2. February 11, 2009 7:38 pm

    Hello, Matthew

    It is interesting to see that some of my oyster shell reports are being used. Regarding the right valve survival theory, perhaps I should search out some of the data that I have amassed over the past thirty years from archaeological sites in the south of England, to see if that idea still holds up. I’ll get back to you when I have had a chance to substantiate or refute the original idea.

    Get in touch any time if you have questions about oysters or other edible molluscs from excavations. I still work as an archaeomalacological consultant (Oysters etc.) but do not have an internet presence yet under that particular identity. I’m thinking of creating a site or blog with .pdf files of all the published and unpublished oyster material.

    I am mostly connecting my interest in marine molluscs and other nature with photography these days. I work as Artistic Nature Photography at and have a photographic portfolio at

    I have just started working on a new blog about seashore life using some of the thousands of photographs I have taken of molluscs and other things on beaches. You can find Jessica’s Nature Blog at

    I am glad that I came across your site. It has given me the impetus to look at some of my archaeological work again.

  3. February 12, 2009 10:34 pm

    Hi Mathew
    Just found your site:

    “I believe that archaeology, even the very detailed stuff, is for sharing”

    Spot on, could not agree more.

    I currently live outside of the academic firewall, and I am committed to making research not just available & accessible, but comprehensible, to as many people as possible.

  4. Rita permalink
    November 5, 2009 12:25 am

    Hi Matthew,

    I’m an undergraduate Anthropolgy major at the University of Rhode Island, currently enrolled in an archaeological ethics course.

    I’m am currently doing a research project on the effects of eBay and archaeological sites and artifacts and was wondering if you would be willing to put a link to a quick survey I have created.

    I have been reading some scholarly articles on the matter and am quite surprised that there isn’t much research going into the matter.

    Here is the link to my survey, just in case.

    thank you so much


  5. February 24, 2010 2:28 pm

    Hi Matthew,

    Just dropping you a comment to let you know that we’ve just opened up round two of our Ancient World in London Bloggers Challenge over at We’re looking for blogs about the best ancient site in London – it’d be great to see an entry from you!

    The best entry this round – picked by a panel of judges at Heritage Key – will receive five books of their choice from Thames & Hudson’s current catalogue. The grand prize is a holiday in Turkey!


    • January 5, 2014 3:56 pm

      Hi Matthew.
      I administer a website called,
      If for example, you want to promote a publication for general release I will gladly
      upload a link and brief profile free of charge, Incidentally , I have a e-book on Amazon that focuses on the Prehistoric features 40 miles around Manchester.

      I like your site…
      Best regards

  6. Katie Laidlaw permalink
    January 4, 2022 8:20 pm

    Random question… but did you study Archaeology and Ancient History in Birmingham 2001-4? I was on that course and recognised your name but I suppose it’s not a hugely uncommon one!

    • matthewlaw permalink*
      January 4, 2022 10:14 pm

      Hello! Yes I did! I remember you! Thanks for messaging. How are things?

      • Katie permalink
        January 5, 2022 7:05 pm

        Good 🙂 I am, randomly, a paramedic now working just outside Bristol. I actually saw you on a documentary about mammoths – such a celeb! Glad to see you doing so well and enjoying your blog. Feels a long time since Birmingham!

      • Katie permalink
        January 6, 2022 10:29 pm

        Good thanks! Living outside Bristol and now randomly working as a paramedic 🙂 I saw you on a mammoth documentary and recognised your name (if not the beard!). Enjoying your blog and lovely to see you so famous 😉

      • matthewlaw permalink*
        January 7, 2022 5:22 pm

        That’s great! I’m glad you’re doing well. And local! (I live in Bristol). Maybe some Birmingham lecturers subconsciously influenced me to become bearded?

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