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 Nowadays those sites have been replaced by modern individual houses.
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.
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!
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.
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 www.dayofarchaeology.com on 24 July.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.