Back from Strasbourg

Emmanuelle and Jessica went to Strasbourg in early July to sample Alsacian potteries. They met with the archaeologist Philippe Lefranc who has performed the seriation studies of Alsacian LBK pottery. Philippe kindly guided them in the region to collect some sherds and drove them back to Strasbourg by going through small villages where several LBK sites were excavated. Nowadays those sites have been replaced by modern individual houses.


Emmanuelle in front of the train station. Ready for the sampling!


A very happy Jessica sightseeing in the “Petite-France”.

Sampling cattle teeth for Oxygen and Strontium Isotope analyses

During her travels Roz has collected samples of cattle third molars from Ludwinowo (Poland), Apc (Hungary) and Bischoffsheim (Alsace, France). The teeth have been sampled incrementally and each sample will be analysed for oxygen and carbon stable isotopes under the supervision of Marie Balasse (MNHN, Paris), who pioneered this sampling approach. The results will be able to tell us about diet and seasonality of LBK cattle herds and may give us an insight into how herding practices were adapted to different landscapes and environments.


Cattle tooth before and after sequential sampling.

Emily and Jess visit Hungary

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Emily working in the bone store in Eger

In July Emily and Jessica returned to Hungary to sample sites from both regions of the Hungarian Neolithic – the Great Plain and Transdanubia. Jessica examined and sampled pottery from the Early Neolithic Körös site of Tiszaszőlős-Domaháza, the Alföld LBK settlements of Apc-Berekalja I and Füzesabony-Gubakút, material from the Szakálhát pits at Tiszaug-Vasútállomás, as well as pottery from the Transdanubian LBK site of Tolna-Mözs and the fascinating ‘hybrid’ LBK/Vinča site of Szederkény-Kukorica-dűlő. Emily performed fracture and fragmentation analysis on the Neolithic bone from Apc-Berekalja and Füzesabony-Gubakút. Battling near 40 degree heat and enormous thunderstorms these intrepid NeoMilkers did not waver from their mission, analysing almost 6 thousand fragments of bone and hundreds of bags of potsherds all in the name of science!


Children (and adults) cool off in the fountain in beautiful Dobó Square. It took every ounce of willpower for Emily not to join in!


David visits Poland

On 14-21 June, David undertook a sampling trip in Poland to collect LBK potsherds from collections at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Muzeum Zamek Górków in nearby Szamotuły, and the National Museum in Szczecin. With the assistance of Arek Marciniak and his research student Marta Bartkowiak, he collected 425 sherds from 11 sites in the Kuyavia region of north-central Poland and 3 sites in the lower Oder valley in northwest Poland.

Poznań market square

Poznań market square

Poznań market square and town hall

Poznań market square and town hall


Crushing sherds

David crushing a small sub-sample of a sherd prior to lipid extraction and analysis

David is now back in the lab at Bristol and analysing the organic residues absorbed in these sherds. These sherds and others that will be sampled from different regions of Poland and elsewhere in the eastern range of the LBK will inform the project of the changing use of pottery and the development of agriculture in Central Europe during the Neolithic, at multiple interpretative scales from landscape level through to household level.

David will blog about his PhD work for the 2015 Day of Archaeology, which will be available to read at on 24 July.

Team NeoMilk sampling trip, Hungary

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Team Neomilk being shown around Eger’s historic castle.


The NeoMilk team headed off into the wilds of Hungary in February 2015 to study and sample the material from some Polgar sites. There was a slight moment of worry when the bus dropped us in what seemed the middle of nowhere. However, we all arrived safely and the bone team started work on sorting through the enormous sacks of material, which contained such lovely aurochs specimens. The sites focused on by Team Bone were Polgar-Piocas, Ferenci-hat and Csőszhalom.






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Emily’s muted St. David’s day celebrations!


The whole team worked their socks off, taking a small break for Emily to celebrate St. David’s day, and finishing eventually with, in Emily’s case, a typically grubby face! Thanks to everyone who provided access to materials and who showed us around!


Two new PhD students for the NeoMilk team

We are welcoming Emmanuelle Casanova and David Altoft who are starting a PhD under the supervision of Richard P. Evershed at the School of Chemistry in the University of Bristol.

They will both work on lipid residue analyses of pottery sherds from the LBK, in two distinct regions. Furthermore, one of Emmanuelle’s focus will the development of the direct compound-specific dating of lipids extracted from Prehistoric sherds.


Team Bone in Strasbourg and Speyer

Rosemarie lend a hand

Rose-Marie Arbogast lends a hand in the material store in Speyer


In October 2014 the bone team hit Strasbourg again, this time to study the material from Herxheim, a site with possible evidence for cannibalism. Part of the material is stored at Strasbourg with the lovely Rose-Marie Arbogast (left) and the rest in Speyer in the Rhineland-Palatinate archaeological depot with Andrea Zeeb-Lanz. A tiny city with one of the oldest cathedrals, it certainly impressed both ladies!



Jessica is here!

Picture_Jessica_SmythJessica Smyth started her work in the NeoMilk project today.

She is in charge of managing the archaeological aspects of the project, including undertaking the documentary surveys to provide essential contextual information for the overall project in terms of site selection, knowledge of collections and regional contacts.

Welcome Jess!

Penny is leaving

Penny Bickle is leaving her post-doctoral position in the NeoMilk project to be a lecturer at the University of York.

She had a crucial role at the start of the project as she set up most of the network of collaborators! Thank you.

She will become a collaborator in the NeoMilk project.

Good luck in your new job Penny!

Team Bone in Brno, Czech Republic

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The entrance to the dig site, which was where we both slept and worked.

Roz and Emily headed out to the Czech forest in June 2014 to study the material from Těšetice. The bones and accommodation were right next to the site, which provided the ladies with an excellent understanding of the LBK and Lengyel settlement phases. Roz took some time out from the LBK bones to have a look at the animal remains from Lengyel ring ditch that contained some enormous aurochs and wild boar specimens.


Roz enjoying the Lengyel material

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The team saw some lovely sunsets in this isolated landscape

The accommodation was rustic however the welcome very warm from Ivana Vostrovská and Hana Uhlířová, who helped us both in our analyses and kindly provided some excellent cooked lunches for us! A top tip from Roz – don’t read Justin Cronin’s The Twelve in a thick Czech forest!

After enjoying a brief visit to nearby Brno Roz then continued to Austria to study the material from Mold at the Natural history Museum in Vienna with Dr. Puctsh.