Jess samples the Bavarian LBK

In mid-October (wisely waiting for the Oktoberfest celebrations to wind down first), Jessica visited Munich to sample four Bavarian LBK sites: Schwanfeld, Dillingen-Steinheim, Langenreichen Am Burgholz, and Stephansposching. Pottery from these sites is curated by several different local authorities – in Munich, Augsburg and Deggendorf – and staff from all of of these institutions provided invaluable help (and refreshments!) when needed. LBK pottery expert Dr Joachim Pechtl was also on hand throughout the visit, guiding selection of the NeoMilk samples, which came to over 200 potsherds in the end. Not bad for three days intensive sampling!

Jessica and Joachim Pechtl sampling at the Landratsamt Augsburg

Jessica and Joachim Pechtl sampling at the Landratsamt Augsburg

Sampling pottery from Schwanfeld at the Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich

Sampling pottery from Schwanfeld at the Archäologische Staatssammlung, Munich

Alsace trip

Emmanuelle went back to Alsace for a week in October. This time she met with Bernadette Schnitzler, curator at the Palais Rohan, who opened the stores of the Museum for the selection of potsherds from 3 Neolithic sites from the Alsace region needed for her project.


The Palais Rohan in the center of the city holds the Archaeological Museum and the Decorative Art Museum. On the right side are the stores where Emmanuelle selected the sherds relevant to the project.

She also went to the INRAP to meet with Philippe Lefranc where they exchanged results and ideas for the future of the project. Emmanuelle also sampled sherds from another LBK site from Basse-Alsace with the help of Delphine Minni .


Philippe and Emmanuelle at the INRAP looking at the pottery assemblage from Rosheim.

At the end of her stay Emmanuelle presented the NeoMilk project and her preliminary results to Christian Jeunesse and some students in archaeology at the Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme – Alsace,  University of Strasbourg.

She is now back in Bristol with 200 sherds waiting to be analysed !

EAA 2015 in Glasgow

Jess and Roz in action! (photo kindly snapped by David.)

Jess and Roz in action! (photo kindly snapped by David.)

Jess, Roz, Emily and David travelled to Glasgow at the weekend to participate in the 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, held at the University of Glasgow. Jess and Roz presented an overview of the NeoMilk project, along with preliminary results, in the ‘From Isoscapes to Farmscapes‘ session, organised by Ingrid Mainland (University of the Highlands and Islands), Philippa Ascough (SUERC), Anthony Newton (University of Edinburgh), and Marie Balasse (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris). We chose as our ‘farmscape’ focus the LBK site of Ludwinowo 7, in northern Poland, weaving together the results of all of our different analyses. It’s great to see bigger pictures starting to emerge!


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

20150721_095817 - Copy

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

2015-02-25 12.16.52

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.






2015-03-04 16.22.41auroch











2015-03-01 08.45.27

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!