A-Team Quarterly Update – Second Quarter 2022

A lot of activity for the group in the last Quarter with Adrian taking up a position as advisor to the Government Office for Science (GOScience) in Westminster. In addition, he represented the University of St Andrews at a body welcoming the University’s joining of the University of the Arctic. We have more publications including another major publication on the genetic models used for critical metal ore bodies from the HiTech AlkCarb consortium (Beard et al. 2022). Aayush and Tim have been involved in further OSL lab work and fieldwork and have contributed to several new dating and archaeological publications.


Beard CD, Goodenough KM, Borst AM, Wall F, Siegfried PR, Deady EA, Pohl C, Hutchison W, Finch AA, Walter BF, Elliot HAL & Brauch K (2022) Alkaline Silicate Rare Earth and High Field Strength Element Systems. Economic Geology, 32pp. doi: 10.5382/econgeo.4956

Allison N, Ross P, Brasier A, Cieminska N, Lopez Martin N, Cole C, Hintz C, Hintz K & Finch AA (2022) Effects of seawater pCO2 on the skeletal morphology of massive Porites spp. corals. Marine Biology, 169, 73. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-022-04060-9

Boyd SL, Kinnaird TC, Srivastava A, Whittaker JE & Bates CR (2022) Investigation of coastal environmental change at Ruddons Point, Fife, southeast Scotland. Scottish Journal of Geology. in press, p. sjg2022-005

Silva-Sánchez N, Kinnaird TC, Fernández-Ferreiro M, López-Salas E, Turner S, Sánchez-Pardo J-C  (2022) Written in Soil and Paper: investigating environmental transformations of a monastic landscape by combining geoarchaeology and palynology with historical analysis at Samos (Spain), available online

Ghilardi M, Kinnaird TC, Kouli K, Bicket A, Crest Y, Demory F, Delanghe D, Fachard S & Sanderson D (2022) Reconstructing the Fluvial History of the Lilas River (Euboea Island, Central West Aegean Sea) from the Mycenaean Times to the Ottoman Period.  Geosciences 12, 204.

Wickham-Jones C, Noble G, Bates CR, Cameron A, Clarke A, Collinson D, Duthie S, Kinnaird TC, Ross I, Sabnis H & Tipping R (2022) Prehistoric communities of the River Dee: Neolithic and other lithic scatter sites of central Deeside, Aberdeenshire. Scottish Archaeological Internal Reports 97, 1-196


Congratulations to Rob Webster who was awarded USD $5k from the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) Graduate Student Fellowship to support his Masters research on sulfur isotopes here at St Andrews.

Rob enjoying a quiet moment on the beach…

Our paper led by Charlie Beard on the genetic models for rift-related magmatic ore deposits in rare earth and high field strength elements was picked up as a research ‘highlight’ by the British Geological Survey.

Masters and PhD Studentship Opportunities

We have recently advertised a fully-funded PhD in Critical Metal Petrogenesis as part of the St Andrews – University of Oslo co-Tutelle PhD scheme. The studentship attracted some exceptionally high calibre candidates and we appointed Anna Szreter to start in September 2022.

We are always interested in hearing from candidates who would like to complete studies of the mineralogy, petrography and petrogenesis of alkaline igneous rocks and/or critical metal resources. The University also runs taught Masters programmes including Masters in Strategic Earth Resources and the Masters in Geochemistry. Adrian and the research group contribute several aspects to the delivery and content of these programmes and frequently supervise Masters projects.


Adrian was involved in biomineralisation research which has submitted an abstract to Goldschmidt 2022 as part of Session 14a: Metal traces and their isotopes in carbonate minerals as tools for environmental reconstructions. Castillo Alvarez MC, Penkman K, Kroger R, Finch AA, Clog MD, Hathorne E & Allison N (2022) Controls on Sr partitioning in aragonite under simulated biogenic conditions.

MSc student Shashank Nitundil (from Manchester University, co-supervised by Aayush) presented his work on the utilisation of portable luminescence reader to investigate dune sands in the Thar Desert, India at the Windy Day conference hosted by Loughborough University of 17 Jun 2022.

Aayush attended the European Geosciences Union (EGU)’s General Assembly in Vienna in May 2022 where he presented results from his postdoctoral research about agricultural terraces in the Mediterranean and their implications for understanding human-landscape interactions. He also co-organised the EGU Great Debate on the bitter realities behind fixed term contracts (https://blogs.egu.eu/geolog/2022/05/26/egu22-the-bitter-reality-behind-fixed-term-contracts/).


Tim and Aayush have been busy, catching up international fieldwork programmes that were postponed because of covid.

  • In June 2022, Tim and Aayush sampled trenches in ruins of Caesar’s Forum in Rome with colleagues from Aarhus University and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek to understand the development of Rome from the earliest periods- a perspective that covers ~3000 years of archaeology.
    In July 2022, Tim and Aayush joined colleagues from Durham University for a dig in northern Yorkshire as a part of Leverhulme Trust funded “Linear earthworks in Britain” project. The project investigates how and why human societies chose to delineate landscapes.
  • Tim was on Sorte Muld on Bornholm (Denmark) to search for gold
  • he went to a horse sacrificial site at Ginnerup by Grenaa (Denmark) https://www-dr-dk.translate.goog/nyheder/regionale/oestjylland/politiets-kriminalteknikere-hjaelper-arkaeologer-paa-5000-aar-gammel?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-GB (with a headline worthy of the fringe)
  • he went to Samos monastery in Galicia (Spain)
  • Into the Dolomites, to look for evidence of pastoralism in the Bronze Age with the ALPES (Trento) and PLAS (Newcastle) projects.


Adrian has taken up a position as an advisor to the Government Office for Science, providing advice on critical metals and the green energy transition. He is working on briefing documents for the Westminster (UK) parliament on the green energy transition and critical metal resources. This will feed into the UK annual national risk-assessment document, in which the UK attempts to anticipate and mitigate against future problems.

Adrian also represented the University of St Andrews at an event hosted at St Andrews to mark the University’s involvement in the University of the Arctic initiative. St Andrews joined the University of the Arctic consortium in 2021 during lockdown and this was the first opportunity for St Andrews to entertain the members of the consortium. Adrian was one of three keynote presentations from St Andrews.

Why Arctic research is important – Adrian presenting to the University of the Arctic during its visit to the University of St Andrews

And Finally….

With the relaxation of Covid regulations, St Andrews University hosted its first graduations for three years, graduating not only our current (2022) crop of graduates but also those who graduated in 2020 and 2021. A big congratulations to everyone who graduated but a special high-five to all the members of the A-team who were doffed on the head by John Knox’s breeks. This included Dr Nicky Horsburgh (who had graduated in 2020), Rob Webster and the Greenland group who had worked on the Younger Giant Dyke in 2021, plus several others who had worked on undergraduate and masters projects. Below are a selection of images from a great day.

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