Michael McCormick received his Ph.D. from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 1979. He served on the faculty of the Department of History of the Johns Hopkins University from 1979 to 1991; was Research Associate at Dumbartons Oaks from 1979 to 1987, and has been at Harvard since 1991, where he is the Goelet Professor of Medieval History. He chairs the Standing Committee on Archaeology and the new Initiative for the Science of the Human Past. His recent monographs incorporated archaeology and new natural scientific findings on the economic conditions of the collapse of the Roman Empire and the early reorganization of the European economy (2001), and publish an almost unknown survey of the Christian church in the Holy Land organized by Charlemagne (2011). McCormick has been awarded grants by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte, etc. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation honored him with its Distinguished Achievement Award ($1.5m) in 2002. He is a Fellow or (Corresponding) Member of various learned academies, including the American Philosophical Society, The Society of Antiquaries of London, Monumenta Germaniae historia (Munich), and the Académie royale de Belgique. His recent research brings advances in the natural sciences to bear on the material evidence of the late Roman and medieval past, including the molecular archaeology of diet, migration, and disease in ancient and medieval populations; the history of the climate and natural environment; and the application of artificial intelligence techniques to late Latin literature. He now codirects with Joachim Henning (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt-am-Main) the excavation and exploration of the environmental and economic transformations of a small town (mod. Tarquimpol, France), during the fall of the Roman Empire.
Important recent publications include:
Charlemagne’s Survey of the Holy Land: Wealth, Personnel and Buildings of a Mediterranean Church between Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Dumbarton Oaks and Harvard University Press, 2011)
General Editor, Digital Atlas of Ancient and Medieval Civilizations (2010)
Origins of the European Economy. Communications and Commerce, A.D. 300-900 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.; 2001; 2nd printing 2002); 1101 pp. Italian, Polish, Spanish translations.
“2500 Years of European Climate Variability and Human Susceptibility,” (U. Büntgen, W. Tegel, K. Nicolussi, M. McCormick, D. Frank, V. Trouet, J. O. Kaplan, F. Herzig, K.U. Heussner, H. Wanner, J. Luterbacher, and J. Esper) Science 331 (2011), 578-582.
“The Consilience of Historical and Isotopic Approaches in Reconstructing the Medieval Mediterranean Diet” (with M. Salamon, A. Coppa, M. McCormick, M. Rubini, R. Vargiu and N. Tuross), Journal of Archaeological Science 35 (2008).1667-1672.
“Molecular Middle Ages: Early Medieval Economic History in the 21st Century,” in The Long Morning of Medieval Europe, ed. Davis and McCormick, 83-97.
“Volcanoes and the Climate Forcing of Carolingian Europe, A.D. 750 to 950,” (with Paul Dutton, Paul Mayewski, and Nick Patterson) Speculum 82 (2007), 865-895.
“Toward a molecular history of the Justinianic Pandemic,” in Plague and the end of antiquity. The pandemic of 541-750, ed. Lester K. Little (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 290-312.