Emily at the Taphonomy Working Group meeting, Paris

14614436_10157646805640533_1825641738_oEmily recently attended the fourth meeting of the ICAZ Taphonomy Working Group in Paris to present a just-published paper from the NeoMilk project (Johnson et al. 2016). The meeting was held from the 7th-10th September in the glorious complex belonging to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in the  Jardin des Plantes. Emily gave a presentation on new methodology for displaying bone fracture analysis using sequences of fracture freshness, a technique that allows fractures caused by carcass butchering processes, deposition practices and taphonomic factors to be displayed on the same chart. The conference was a brilliant opportunity to meet with colleagues and keep up to date with research, and also to look around some of the amazing museums at lunch break!

Emily’s paper on profiling taphonomic history through bone fracture can be read here for free until the 22 October.

Johnson, E.V., Parmenter, P.C.R., Outram, A.K., 2016. A new approach to profiling taphonomic history through bone fracture analysis, with an example application to the Linearbandkeramik site of Ludwinowo 7, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 9, 623-629.

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!


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!


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!



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.

Roz, Emily and Dagmara in Poland

In May 2014, Roz, Emily and Dagmara headed to Poznan to study Ludwinowo 7, one of the largest assemblages in our study, with an almost complete dominance of cattle. Thanks to Arek Marciniak, Iwona Sobkowiak-Tabaka, Marta Bartkowiak and co. for giving us access to this incredible site and letting us work in your store!

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NeoMilk Sampling Trip, Strasbourg

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The fantastic bone lab in Strasbourg, which had one of the best comparative collections that Emily had ever seen. It was an absolute joy to work here.


The whole NeoMilk team headed to Strasbourg for our first combined site analysis (ceramics and bone analysis). Two zooarchaeologists on the team, Dr. Roz Gillis and Emily Johnson, demonstrated their methods and stayed in lovely Strasbourg for two weeks to study the assemblages of Bischoffsheim and Rosheim, with the help of Emilie Guttman and Rose-Marie Arbogast.

It was at this first site that Roz and Emily first bonded as researchers and became affectionately known as Team Bone!


Archaeozoology Strategy Meeting, Paris

In January 2014, a mini-NeoMilk team meeting took place at MNHN, Paris led by Roz Gillis to discuss the archaeozoological methodology and strategy. Later on in the month, Mark Thomas and Pascale Gerbault (UCL) were invited to Paris to work on novel approaches to domesticate animal mortality data based on dental remains. Watch this space for news of the results!