NeoMilk at the Festival of Nature

Festival-of-Nature-logoThe Organic Geochemistry Unit was present at the Festival of Nature in Bristol with their Palaeodetectives stand last week-end. Members of the NeoMilk team (Emmanuelle, Iain, David, Isabel and Mélanie) were there to present their research to the general public.

Kids and adults were all very interested by our approach to archaeology.

Our Palaeodetetective game is available online. Happy investigation!

New paper on mortality profiles in JAS

Pascale Gerbault, Roz Gillis, Jean-Denis Vigne, Mark Thomas and colleagues from the MNHN in Paris have just published a paper in JAS.

The article introduces a novel statistically robust way to present and compare mortality profiles in archaeozoology. This new method has been developed as part of the NeoMilk project and will be used extensively during the project.

Congrats all for your lovely work!

David returns to Poland

Last week David returned to Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Muzeum Zamek Górków in nearby Szamotuły to sample 352 more potsherds from sites in the region of Kuyavia in north-central Poland. David is undertaking both a wide and intensive analysis of sherds at the Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol, looking for absorbed organic residues that may inform us of what pottery was being used for and how that relates to early dairying practices in the Neolithic of Central Europe. In July last year David posted about a typical week in the lab for Day of Archaeology, which you can read here.

David extracting lipids from a sherd

David extracting lipids from a sherd

Poznań Market Square and Town Hall

Poznań Market Square and Town Hall












Alsace trip – 2

Emmanuelle spent another week in Alsace. She went to Strasbourg and met with collaborators at the palais Rohan, MISHA and INRAP to  collect more samples and archaeological reports of interest for her project.

This time she also went to Mulhouse. She was received by Lionel Pinero, collection manager at the Musée historique de Mulhouse. He kindly opened the external reserve of the Museum located in the basement of the crematorium to sample one LBK site from the Haute-Alsace.


Emmanuelle had the nice surprise to have snow the day she went to visit the Musée historique de Mulhouse.


The museum has an exibition intitled “Trésors d’archéologie” were they  few LBK objects excavated in the region are displayed.

Big NeoMilk meeting in Exeter


Emmanuelle is getting ready to present her results to the NeoMilk team (photo courtesy of Emily).

Alan Outram and Emily Johnson organised a great meeting for the NeoMilk team last week at the University of Exeter.

The meeting, initially proposed as a ‘Team Bone’ meeting by zooarchaeologist Roz Gillis, quickly snowballed and became one of the most complete whole-team meetings of the project, with a total of 15 team members in attendance.

The delegates came from all over Europe, from the Universities of Exeter, Bristol, UCL and Poznan, and from the CNRS-Muséum Nationale d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. The meeting was a great chance to see how various parts of our multi-facetted project were progressing, with 10 of the 15 delegates presenting data.

In all, the day was a great success, ending with a delightful project meal and a drink with the skeleton in the Wells House Tavern.

NeoMilk at TAG Bradford 2015

The NeoMilk project was the subject of a presentation given by Roz Gillis at the annual Theoretical Archaeological group conference in Bradford. She was advocating Environmental archaeology/Interdisciplinary scientific approaches have an important role in the development of social archaeological theory. It was presented in the session for “Humming with cross fire and short on cover…”? Revisiting and reflecting on Environmental Archaeology: Meaning and Purpose. The session organisers: Ben Gearey, Suzi Richer, Seren Griffiths and Michelle Farrell hosted a lively and stimulating debate.

Visit from Jason West, pioneer of the “isoscape” framework


Jason West at the University of Bristol. Picture courtesy of Cat Jarman (who co-organised the event with Julie Dunne).


On Friday, the Organic Geochemistry Unit and the Cabot Institute were welcoming Jason West.

Jason is Professor of Ecosystem Ecology at Texas A&M University and also co-director of the Stable Isotopes for Biosphere Science laboratory. He has pioneered the use of “isoscapes” (from isotope landscape) as an organizing framework, which includes gathering and using spatially explicit isotope data, isotope mapping and multidisciplinary applications of isoscapes. This is a really exciting new field, which is now being applied in a range of diverse disciplines including ecology, hydrology, biology, biogeochemistry, anthropology, geography and forensics.

Jason gave a lecture and ran a workshop about isoscapes and their applications, which were particularly relevant for the NeoMilk project. Members of the NeoMilk team from Bristol as well as Adrian (who came especially from London) were delighted to meet Jason.

Thank you for coming and giving this inspiring talk!


Spreading the word in Slovenia

Ljubljana in warm November sun

Ljubljana in warm November sun

In November, Jessica was invited to present at the annual Neolithic Seminar organised by Professor Mihael Budja of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. A very successful and lively event, now in its 22nd year, the seminar provided a great opportunity to update colleagues on the progress of the NeoMilk project. The theme this year was ‘Modelling the Processes of Neolithisation‘ and brought together geneticists, computer modellers and archaeologists. There was plenty to discuss on the spread of dairying and its importance in Neolithic society, made all the nicer by some pretty stunning November weather!

Last NeoMilk mission for Roz in Poing, Munich

My last mission for NeoMilk and I was filled with great hope to study some well- preserved sites from Bavaria. My list included the site of Langenreichen which was a single house occupied for two generations. However, given the acidic soil types in this region the material was not very abudant! In fact the single house could fit into a mobile phone box. It took me three days to study three sites and look through the boxes for another site which has no teeth to record. The other two sites I did study were Wickenpoint and Stephansposching, two very different sites with interesting results. Thank you to Britte, Dr. Henriette Obermaier and Prof. Joachim Pechtl for all their help and kindness in Poing.

Air France CGD terminal roof

Air France CDG terminal roof



Last night in Poing

Last night in Poing



Welcome to Isabel!

Picture_IWIsabel Wiltshire is joining the NeoMilk team for a year. She is a MSci student at the School of Chemistry of the University of Bristol.

She will be working with Melanie and Jess on potsherds from Hungary. Welcome to the team!