After finishing his Ph.D. studies, which focused on the taphonomy of plant remains in lacustrine and fluvial environments, Michael Field spent four years in the Sub-department of Quaternary Research in the Botany School, Cambridge University working on the creation of the Last Interglacial (Eemian) pollen database. The open-cast mines (Tagebau) of central Europe caught Mike’s eye on his travels because of the large Pleistocene sections exposed by the exploitation of the brown coal. His next funded project was undertaken in the Laboratory of Geology and Geophysics at Leipzig University in eastern Germany where he investigated macroscopic plant remains from the Tagebau. After this he was awarded an EU Marie-Curie Research Fellowship and spent two years in the Laboratory of Botanical History and Palynology, Aix-Marseille III in France. This laboratory worked on some of the impressive French long palynological sequences. His plant macrofossil work complimented some of the palynological investigations that had already been published. Returning to England he spent a number of years as a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Quaternary Science, Coventry University. Often as part of a multidisciplinary team he contributed to the understanding of western European Early, Middle and Late Pleistocene landscapes in which early hominids lived and evolved. A short spell was spent in research management in the British Higher Education sector before arriving in Leiden.
Apart from his interest in European vegetation history and the reconstruction of Pleistocene environments he is also a keen field botanist. For example, he received funding from the British Government to investigate the response of the vegetation to the volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.
Mike has extensive excavation experience, for example, digging at the Palaeolithic sites at Barnham, Boxgrove, Clacton-on-Sea and High Lodge in England.