About Coralie Mills

Dendrochronicle is led by Coralie Mills BSc MA PhD FSAScot MCIfA.


Dr Coralie Mills

Tertiary Education and Qualifications

Reading University 1978-81, BSc (Hons) (2.1) Environmental Plant Geography.

Sheffield University 1983-4, MA (Distinction) Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy.

Sheffield University 1985-8, PhD Thesis: Dendrochronology in Exeter and its Application.

Career Summary
From 1987 until 1992 I worked as a consultant environmental archaeologist to Historic Scotland. I joined AOC Archaeology in 1992 as manager of Post-Excavation Services and in 1997 became Executive Director. In latter years I was responsible for the strategic development of the company. I left AOC in June 2009 to pursue my research interests more fully. I set up my consultancy Dendrochronicle in 2009, and also was appointed as an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews then (School of Geosciences).

My academic background is in environmental archaeology, landscape history and dendrochronology. My research interests lie in the historic interface between humans and woodland, and in using dendrochronology not solely for heritage dating but also to reconstruct wooded landscape history including historic management and timber trade.

Since founding Dendrochronicle in 2009, I have had two main strands to my work: in archae-dendrochronology and in historic wooded landscape studies, the latter usually undertaken with my colleague Peter Quelch. I also undertake analyses of archaeological wood and charcoal assemblages, in collaboration with my colleague Hamish Darrah.

Assessing timbers at Stirling Castle – photo Nicki Scott

Dendrochronology                                  In dendrochronology, I have been commissioned to work on a range of historic buildings and tree features, for example Kings Old Buildings at Stirling Castle for HES and the remains of The Wallace Oak at Port Glasgow for the Society of William Wallace. I also undertake larger thematic research projects aimed mainly at developing the native tree-ring record in Scotland, including currently the SESOD (South East Scotland Oak Dendrochronology) project funded by HES (2018-2021). Prior to that I was engaged as a Post-Doc on the NERC funded SCOT2K native pine dendrochronology project through University of St Andrews, with PI Prof Rob Wilson (2013-16). In the late noughties, I co-directed (with Anne Crone of AOC Archaeology) the Native Oak and Pine Dendrochronology Project, funded by Historic Scotland, focussing on NE Scotland.

Caerlaverock Castle Wood HWA fieldwork – Photo Peter Quelch

Historic Wooded Landscapes               I undertake commissioned studies on historic wooded landscapes with my colleague Peter Quelch (forester & native woodland advisor). Examples of recent projects include Historic Woodland Assessments (HWAs) for HES at Caerlaverock Castle, Doune Castle and Kilchurn Castle. Historic Woodland Assessments have also been undertaken for a range of community heritage projects including at Barhill Wood, Kirkcudbright (for GGLP), Leny Woods (for Callander’s Landscape Project), Killearn Glen (for Killearn Community Futures Company) and Falkland Park (for Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership). Many of these projects have incorporated workshops, guided walks and other public events. We have also undertaken historic woodland surveys at Loch Katrine and at Balgownie Wood in Fife, forming the basis of two Historic Environment best practice guides for FCS, and a HWA at Callendar Wood in Falkirk, for the regional FCS office.

Woodlands advocacy and voluntary roles                                                                      An active member of the Native Woodland Discussion Group, I have worked on its committee for much of the time since 2009 and was chairperson for the term 2012-2015. I now run the social media for NWDG, assist with its website and have helped to organise the annual excursion for the last few years. As an NWDG woodland history rep I also help in organising NWDG woodland history events.

I was delighted to be appointed as an Honorary Fellow of Scottish Environment LINK in 2018, and I assist them in their advocacy work, especially on their Woodlands group.

Membership of Societies
Member of the Chartered Institute of Field Archaeologists (Committee member Scottish Group of IFA, 2002-4).
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. (Council member, 2002-2005).
Native Woodland Discussion Group (Chair 2012-2015, Committee member 2009-2015; 2018-  ).                                                                                                                                      ICOMOS UK member – expert member of the ICOMOS UK wood committee (2021- ). Member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society (2020- ).
Member of Association for Environmental Archaeology; Archaeology Scotland; Council for British Archaeology; Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group; Community Woodlands Association.