Jonathan is interested in reconstructing past environmental change from coastal and lacustrine sedimentary archives for comparison with archaeological records of cultural change in order to assess linkages between environment and society over Holocene timescales. He uses a variety of proxies including diatoms, molluscs, foraminifera, stable isotopes, sedimentary parameters and sedimentary pigments.
John is currently working on a Leverhulme funded research project titled “Stories of Subsistence: People and Coast over the last 6000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark” (2013-2016). This project aims to reconstruct, and where possible, quantify marine environmental change (salinity, productivity, temperature, nutrient status and sedimentary change) in the Limfjord and Kattegat region using a multiproxy approach (including diatoms, sedimentary pigments, molluscs, foraminifera, plant macrofossils, alkenones and sedimentary analyses) and link these changes to cultural developments via subsistence strategies and migration indicators as reflected in 15N, 13C, 34S and Sr analyses of human bones and dietary sources. This work is in collaboration with co-workers at Queens University (Belfast), the Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland (GEUS, Copenhagen) and Aarhus University.
He is also currently involved in two projects assessing links between climate, environmental and cultural change in the Mediterranean. The first project is using diatoms, sedimentary analyses and geochemistry (i.e. C/N and δ13C isotopes of sediment organic matter) to investigate environmental change and human impact evident over the last 2,500 years (with particularly focus on the Roman period) in a sedimentary sequence collected from a fish pond within the presidential estate of Castelporziano (Tiber Delta, Lazio). This forms part of an AHRC funded project titled the “Laurentine Shore Project”.
Working in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (and others), the second project involves using stable isotope data (δ18O and δ13C) from Unio spp. shells collected from the famous archaeological site of Çatalhöyük in the Konya Basin (south central Turkey), to reconstruct Early Holocene seasonal climate variations over the period of settlement at Çatalhöyük and to assess how changes in seasonal climate change might have forced cultural change (e.g. via impact on resources and potential role in site abandonment and relocation).
- Lewis, J.P., Ryves, D.B., Rasmussen, P., Knudsen, K.L., Petersen, K.S., Olsen, J., Leng, M.J., Kristensen, P., McGowan, S. and Phillipsen, B. (in press) Environmental change in the Limfjord, Denmark (ca.7,500– 1500 cal yrs BP): a multiproxy study. Quaternary Science Reviews.
- Philippsen, B., Olsen, J., Lewis, J.P., Rasmussen, P., Ryves, D.B., Knudsen, K.L. (2013). Mid- to late-Holocene reservoir-age variability and isotope-based palaeoenvironmental reconstruction in the Limfjord, Denmark. The Holocene23, 1017–1027.
- Maslin, M.A., Pancost, R.D., Wilson, K.E., Lewis, J., Trauth, M.H. (2012) Three and half million year history of moisture availability of South West Africa: Evidence from ODP site 1085 biomarker records. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 317-318, 41-47.
- Lewis, J.P. (2011) Reconstructing palaeoproductivity of the Limfjord (northern Jutland, Denmark) using sedimentary pigments. Quaternary Newsletter 125, 36-39.
- Leng, M.J., and Lewis, J.P., (submitted). Bulk C/N ratios and carbon isotope composition of organic matter in estuarine environments. To be published in Applications of paleoenvironmental techniques in estuarine studies (Eds. K. Weckström, K. Saunders, P. Gell and G. Skilbeck). Developments in Palaeoenvironmental Research Series.
- Lewis, J.P., Rasmussen, P., Ryves, D.B., (submitted). Land and sea at Norsminde Fjord and human-environment interactions between ca. 7,000-2,000 BC: a synthesis. To be published in ‘The Norsminde shell midden, the landscape and the fjord. An interdisciplinary study of a Stone Age environment, 7000-2000 BC’ (S. Andersen, ed.).
- Lewis, J.P., Ryves, D.B., Rasmussen, P., Clarke, A. (submitted). Holocene marine environmental change in Norsminde Fjord as inferred from diatom analysis. To be published in ‘The Norsminde shell midden, the landscape and the fjord. An interdisciplinary study of a Stone Age environment, 7000-2000 BC’ (S. Andersen, ed.).
- Lewis, J.P. (in press) Interpretation of the diatom assemblages present in sedimentary deposits from Fyrkat and Aggersborg. To be published in a site book detailing archaeological and environmental change at Fyrkat and Aggersborg (Viking Age sites).
- Weckström, K., Lewis, J.P., Andrén, E., Ellegaard, M., Rasmussen, P., Ryves, D.B. and Telford, R. (accepted) The Baltic Sea – one of the largest brackish water systems in the world. To be published in Applications of paleoenvironmental techniques in estuarine studies(Eds. K. Weckström, K. Saunders, P. Gell and G. Skilbeck) Developments in Palaeoenvironmental Research Series.
- Lewis, J.P. (2011) Holocene environmental change in coastal Denmark: interactions between land, sea and society. Loughborough University.