Toby PillattDr Toby Pillatt

Teaching Associate in Archaeological Heritage

Email address:

Department address:

Department of Archaeology

University of Sheffield

Minalloy House

10-16 Regent Street

S1 3NJ


I studied for my BA, MA and PhD here in Sheffield, specialising in Landscape Archaeology. Since completing my PhD, I have been involved in numerous community heritage and interdisciplinary projects. Locally, this has included work at Castle Market, Ecclesall Woods, Barnsley and the North Lees Estate under Stanage Edge. Further afield, my work has tended to focus on the north, with work in Scotland, the Lake District, and across Yorkshire.

Prior to starting teaching at Sheffield, I was a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia.

After gaining an interest in ice hockey as a teenager in my home town of Milton Keynes, I have been an avid fan of Sheffield Steelers since 2007.


My past and present research contains a diverse mix of landscape, heritage and interdisciplinary projects, focusing largely on human-environment relations and community heritage. My PhD examined archaeological approaches to climate in the past, using a case study from eighteenth-century Cumbria to argue that we should be thinking more about the lived experience of climate – the weather.

After my PhD, I went back to Cumbria with a film maker to talk to the farmers there today about their own experiences of weather and farming, and how they compared to those living in the eighteenth century. This inspired a series of projects where I have worked closely with artists, experts in theatre, designers and storytellers on creative approaches to conducting and presenting research on community heritage.

Recently, I co-authored a book with Tom Williamson and Gerry Barnes concerning tree health and the structure of rural tree populations from 1550 to the present day. By undertaking a wide-ranging study of landscape history, we aimed to establish whether post-medieval changes in tree management practices have affected the incidence of tree disease.

Research interests include:

  • Trees and woodlands in post-medieval Britain
  • Archaeologies of weather
  • Bees and beekeeping
  • Community heritage
  • Creative practice in research and public engagement
  • Post-medieval whitecoal production
  • Landscape archaeology of upland Britain

Current Projects

Telling the Bees



Williamson, T., Barnes, G. and Pillatt, T. Forthcoming. Trees in England: Management and disease since 1600. University of Hertfordshire Press.

Book Chapters

Williamson, T., Barnes, G. and Pillatt, T. Forthcoming. ‘English tree populations: economics, agency and the problem of the “natural”’ in J. Urquhart, M. Marzano & C. Potter (eds) Human Dimensions of Forest and Tree Health: Global Perspectives: Ch 7. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Research Articles

Pillatt, T. 2016. 'Life in the Weather-World: Examining an Eighteenth-Century 'Ecological Perspective' World Archaeology 48 (4): 586-602. Available at:

Pillatt, T. 2012. 'From climate and society to weather and landscape' Archaeological Dialogues 19 (1): 29-42.
• A discussion article with responses from five established scholars, and my reply: 'Resilience Theory and Social Memory. Avoiding Abstraction'.

Pillatt, T. 2012. 'Experiencing climate: finding weather in eighteenth-century Cumbria' Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 19 (4): 564-81.

Peer Reviewed Conference Papers

Edwards, L., Maxwell, D., Pillatt, T. & Downing, N. 2016. 'Beebots-a-lula, where's my honey? Design Fictions and Beekeeping'. NordiCHI 2016: The 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Gothenburg. Available at:

Maxwell, D., Edwards, L., Pillatt, T. & Downing, N. 2016. 'Stories in a Beespoon: Exploring Future Folklore through Design' in P. Lloyd and E. Bohemia (eds) Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society – Future-Focussed Thinking, Vol. IX: 3485-3502.

Specialist Publications

Barnes, G., Pillatt, T. & Williamson, T. 2016. 'Rural Tree Populations in England: Historic Character and Future Planting Policy'. British Wildlife 27 (6): 392-401.


Newman, R. et al 2015. The Mystery of the Factory in the Woods (Audio Guided Walk). Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield.
• Pillatt acted as archaeological consultant and performer.

Thorpe, G & Pillatt, T. 2013. A Break in the Clouds (Film). Sheffield/Mosser, Cumbria: University of Sheffield. Available at:

Unpublished Reports

Pillatt, T. & Badcock, A. 2014. Trading Histories: 700 years of Sheffield's Castle Market. Evaluation Report. Sheffield: ArcHeritage.

Pillatt, T. 2014. Earthwork Enclosure (Extension) in Woodland 1, Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield: Archaeological
Survey Report. Sheffield: Friends of Ecclesall Woods.