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Matthew J. Jacobson

Matthew Jacobson
On 12th December 2022, I have started a postdoctoral research position at the Division of Agrarian History. I am originally an archaeologist and my research is focused on palaeoclimate reconstructions and the impacts of climate changes on past agriculture and societies.


I am a collaborator on the research project "The agricultural history of East and Southeast Asia", with Janken Myrdal and Karin Holmgren. My current task is to examine evidence for changing climatic conditions to assess natural influences on subsistence shifts/patterns.

For a small portion of my time, I am contributing to side projects from previous positions:

  • Ottoman tax records and land use in the Konya Plain, Turkey, with John Wainwright and Dan Lawrence (Durham University, UK), Michele Massa (Bilkent University, Turkey), İlker Yiğit (Burdur Mehmet Akid Ersoy University, Turkey)
  • Paleoclimate synthesis for the Aegean region, with Martin Finné (Uppsala University) and Joana Seguin (Leibniz University Hannover, Germany)
  • Climatic constraints on speleothem deposition in SW Asia, with Sam Nicholson (Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany) and others
  • Agricultural and societal resilience to droughts in the Sasanian Empire, with Alison Gascoigne (University of Southampton, UK) and Dominik Fleitmann (Basel University, Switzerland)
  • Challenges in understanding climate change impacts through Roman and Byzantine archaeology, with Jordan Pickett (University of Georgia, USA)



Q4 2022: GIS Specialist, Department of Geography, Durham University, Durham, UK

Q3 2022: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Natural Sciences, German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin, Germany

2022: Lecturer and Research Associate, Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

2017-2022: PhD Archaeology and Palaeoclimatology – "Climate change and socio-economic transformations in the Late Antique Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East", supervised by Prof. Dominik Fleitmann (Basel University) and Prof. Alison Gascoigne (University of Southampton) – University of Reading, England, UK.

2016-2017: MSc Environmental Archaeology (Distinction), University of Reading, Reading, England, UK

2013-2016: BSc (Hons) Archaeological Science (First Class), University of Reading, Reading, England, UK


Selected publications


Currently (14th March 2024), I have published 4 peer-reviewed journal articles as primary author and 5 more as co-author:


Jacobson, M.J., Chawchai, S., Scholz, D., Riechelmann, D.F.C., Vonhof, H., Holmgren, K., et al., Speleothem records from western Thailand reveal a rapid response of the Indian Summer Monsoon to the Younger Dryas Termination. Quaternary Science Reviews 330: 108597. 



Jacobson, M.J. Archaeological evidence for community resilience and sustainability: a bibliometric assessment. Sustainability 14(24): 16591. 

Jacobson, M.J., Pickett, J., Gascoigne, A.L., Elton, H., and Fleitmann, D. Settlement, environment, and climate change in SW Anatolia: dynamics of regional variation and the end of Antiquity. PLOS ONE 17(6): e0270295.

Fleitmann, D., Haldon, J., Bradley, R.S., Burns, S.J., Cheng, H., Edwards, R.L., Raible, C.C., Jacobson, M.J., et al., Droughts, societal change, and a context for the emergence of Islam in late Antique Arabia. Science 376 (6599): 1317-1321.



Nicholson, S.L., Jacobson, M.J., Hosfield, R., and Fleitmann, D. The stalagmite record of southern Arabia: climatic extremes, human evolution and societal development. Frontiers in Earth Science 9: 749488.

Jacobson, M.J., Flohr, P., Gascoigne, A.L., Leng, M.J., Aleksey, S., Cheng, H., et al., Heterogenous late Holocene climate in the Eastern Mediterranean – the Kocain Cave record from SW Turkey. Geophysical Research Letters 48: e2021GL094733.



Fohlmeister, J., Voarintsoa, N.R.G., Lechleitner, F.A., Boyd, M., Brandstätter, S., Jacobson, M.J., et al., Main controls on the stable carbon isotope composition of speleothems. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 279: 67-87.



Altaweel, M., Marsh, A., Jotheri, J., Hritz, C., Fleitmann, D., Rost, S., Lintner, S.F., Gibson, M., Bosomworth, M., Jacobson, M.J., et al., New insights on the role of environmental dynamics shaping southern Mesopotamia: From the Pre-Ubaid to the Early Islamic Period. Iraq 81: 23–46.

Burstyn, Y., Martrat, B., Lopez, Jordi, F., Iriarte, E., Jacobson, M.J., et al., Speleothems from the Middle East: An Example of Water Limited Environments in the SISAL Database. Quaternary 2(2):16. 



Jacobson, M.J., Gascoigne, A.L., and Fleitmann, D. The climatic resilience of the Sasanian Empire. Human Ecology. (in review.)

Nicholson, S., Jacobson, M.J., Schroeder, J., Markowska, M., Vonhof, H. and Haug, G. No simple climatic threshold for speleothem deposition in SW Asia. Geology. (submitted.)

Jacobson, M.J., Seguin, J., and Finné, M. A 10,000-year palaeoclimate synthesis for the Aegean: diverging trajectories and implications for the study of climate-society interactions. Holocene. (submitted.)




Postdoctor at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Agrarian History
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land
Box 7012
750 07 Uppsala
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala