New paper on sheep and goat husbandry by Roz

NeoMilk members Roz and Jean-Denis have just publisehd a paper on ovicaprine husbandry.

They present a species specific study of sheep and goat mortality data from early European and Anatolian Neolithic contexts using correspondence analysis. The results show that for sheep there were significant differences in slaughter management practices between regions, cultures and site types whereas for goats there was none. This initial examination into sheep and goat husbandry during the Neolithic suggests that cultural practices as well as regional geography played an important role in shaping management practices.

The full paper can be found here.

Gillis, R. E., Gaastra, J. S., Linden, M. V. and Vigne, J.-D. 2019. A Species Specific Investigation Into Sheep and Goat Husbandry During the Early European Neolithic. Environmental Archaeology: 1-12.

Emmanuelle has sucessfully defended her thesis

Emmanuelle at the BRAMS facility in front of the MICADAS spectrometer.

Emmanuelle at the BRAMS facility in front of the MICADAS spectrometer.

Congratulations to Emmanuelle Casanova who passed her PhD viva on November 1st! Emmanuelle is part of the NeoMilk team and the first PhD student from the new state-of-the-art radiocarbon dating facility at the University of Bristol (BRAMS). During her PhD, Emmanuelle developed new techniques which enable high-precision compound-specific radiocarbon dating of lipids preserved in archaeological pottery vessels. Such advancements will be particularly significant in the area of archaeology where the highest precision calendrical dates are demanded. Watch this space for future results!

Richard has received an award for NeoMilk at the Shangai Archaeology Forum 2017

Winners of the Research Awards at the Shangai Archaeology Forum 2017, with Richard (5th from the left).  Source:

Winners of the Research Awards at the Shangai Archaeology Forum 2017, with Richard (5th from the left).

Richard Evershed has received a research award for our work in the NeoMilk project ‘the Milking Revolution in Temperate Neolithic Europe’ at the Shangai Arcaheology Forum in December 2017. A summary of the award ceremony can be found here.

We are all very proud of being recipient of this award and would like to acknowledge all the archaeologists who entrusted us with ceramics and faunal remains over the years.

Meeting in Saxony


Harald and Richard observing the excavations at the Drossdorf well

Harald and Richard looking at the excavations of the Drossdorf well.

Richard and Mélanie spent 2 days in Leipzig in mid-September. The aim of the visit was to discuss sampling of archaeological sites in Saxony with Harald Stäuble and colleagues from the Archaeological Heritage Service in Dresden and Leipzig (Saskia Kretschmer, Isabel Hohle, Germo Schmalfuß, Matthias Conrad and Christiane Krahn). Richard gave a talk on the NeoMilk project and an introduction to lipid residue analyses. We were lucky enough to be able to sample hundreds of potsherds which will surely tell us a lot about changes in subsistence practices through time in the region.


The highlight of the stay was clearly the visit of the Droßdorf wooden well. This 7,000-yr-old LBK well was discovered in 2014 in a lignite mine in the area of Peres in the south of Leipzig, during excavations carried out by the Archaeological Heritage Service. It was decided to move the well in order to facilitate the excavations so a 30 tonne-block (!) was transported indoor to a hall nearby. It is possible to see the excavations happening in real time as the hall is open to the general public. A really nice exhibition was also put up next to the well to inform the public about the Neolithic context and other wooden wells within the country and Europe. Spectacular finds have already been discovered at other wells (e.g. Eythra or Altscherbitz) so let’s wait and see what Droßdorf has to offer!

More information on the well excavated at Droßdorf can be found here.

Thank you to all of you for welcoming us in Leipzig – we had a great time (and a great German lunch!).

Well done Iain!

Iain_PhD_submissionAlmost 4 yrs after he started his PhD in Bristol, Iain Kendall submitted his PhD entitled “Development of an amino acid δ15N-based proxy for the elucidation of the diets and habitats of Neolithic cattle”.

We had a very happy and smiley Iain on Friday!

Well done Iain! You did a great job!


New paper on cattle husbandry in the LBK

NeoMilk members Roz Gillis, Arek Marciniak, Jean-Denis Vigne and collaborators from France, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany published a paper entitled “The evolution of dual meat and milk cattle husbandry in Linearbandkeramik societies” in the Proc. of the Royal Society B. This paper presents the results of an extensive study of age-at-death in cattle from 19 LBK sites and shows that cattle husbandry was similar in time and space in the LBK culture, with a degree of specialization for meat exploitation in some areas.

The full paper can be found here in open-access.

Gillis, R. E., Kovačiková, L., Bréhard, S., Guthmann, E., Vostrovská, I., Nohálová, H., Arbogast, R.-M., Domboróczki, L., Pechtl, J., Anders, A., Marciniak, A., Tresset, A. and Vigne, J.-D., 2017. The evolution of dual meat and milk cattle husbandry in Linearbandkeramik societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284(1860).

Well done Emily!

Emily with her PhD thesis.

Emily successfully defended her PhD thesis last Friday. The PhD thesis is entitled “A zooarchaeological study of butchery and bone fat processing practices among Early Neolithic farming societies in central Europe” and supervised by Prof. Alan Outram at the University of Exeter.

Emily is the first PhD student from our NeoMilk team to obtain a PhD.  Congratulations Dr. Emily Johnson!

NeoMilk at UKAS2017

Mélanie represented the NeoMilk project with a paper on the presence of long-chain fatty acids in archaeological extracts. Other members of the OGU attended the conference: Jamie Lewis (presenting a poster on δ<sup>15</sup>N values of amino-acids of collagen and tissues from pigs raised on controlled diets) and Simon Hammann.

Good conference indeed, next one will be in Manchester.




Deadline extended to March 22!

Session: #405

Cattle-based Agriculture in Central Europe – introduction, spread and impact

Theme: Interpreting the archaeological record

This interdisciplinary session will examine the introduction and spread of cattle-based agriculture by the Neolithic farmers of Central Europe and its implications for modelling the Neolithisation of Northern and Central Europe beginning in the 6th millennium BC. This revolutionary shift in human subsistence strategy reshaped prehistoric European culture, biology and economy, in ways that underlie modern life worldwide.

The session aims to bring together biomolecular, isotopic and morphological studies of faunal, human and other archaeological remains to investigate herding practices. The impact of the introduction of dairying, detectable from organic residues in ceramics and the faunal skeletal-based proxies, into the Neolithic diet on the health and biology of Neolithic humans will also be examined.
The session will provide comprehensive assessments of the ways the first farmers of Central Europe managed and exploited their domesticated animals. Papers from the session will highlight the changing roles of domesticated animals in the diets, economies and evolutionary genetics of Neolithic communities in Central Europe.
We welcome papers on all aspects of the spread of cattle-based agriculture in Central Europe, asking the contributors to emphasise the role(s) and impacts of domesticated animal-based economies on the lives of Neolithic farmers.

Organisers: Mélanie Roffet-Salque (University of Bristol, UK); Jessica Smyth (University College Dublin, Ireland); Richard P. Evershed (University of Bristol, UK).

Submit your contribution before March 22: