Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Professor Mercer is an alumnus of the University, graduating MA (Archaeology) in 1967.

Research interests:
Prehistoric Warfare, Landscape development, Demography in early societies – all principally in the Neolithic and Bronze Age (6000-1000BC)

Current research activities
History of Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Warfare in Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Europe N. of the Alps

Inspector of Ancient Monuments (DoE), London, 1969-1974 – responsible for all scheduling and casework in SW England as well as Guardianship Monuments of prehistoric character incl. Stonehenge, Avebury, Grimes Graves. Also conducted excavations at Carn Brea, Cornwall 1970-73 (Neol.) Grimes Graves, Norfolk 1971-72 (Neol.). Also conducted survey and excavation at numerous early military defensive sites in S. England and at Fountains Abbey, Yorks N.R.

Lecturer (1974), Reader (1982) Acting Head of Archaeology (1982-87), University of Edinburgh. Carried out excavations at Torness, E. Lothian 1975; Eskdale (Long Knowe) 1976; Balfarg henge, Fife 1977-78; Hambledon Hill causewayed enclosure, Dorset 1974-86; Eskdale (Castle O’er and Over Rig), Dumfries & Galloway 1984-85; Cnoc Stanger and Keiss, Caithness 1981; Sketewan BA cairn, Perthshire 1988.

Landscape Surveys carried out as student training exercises in Caithness (1977-85), Plym Valley, Dartmoor (1983 -87), Bowmont Valley, Cheviot (1984-1989), Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfries & Galloway (1986-1990). Teaching and Research Neolithic and Bronze Age NW Europe and Britain& Ireland until 1990.

Secretary (Chief Executive), Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) 1990-2004. Accounting officer responsible for professional, public service and programme development of 100+ professional and administrative staff (by 2003). Oversaw the move to general on-line access to RCAHMS records and to massive expansion of curated collections.


  • –present
    Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh