Jessica Smyth

Role in the projectPicture_Jessica_Smyth

  • Project-management;
  • Addressing the archaeological research questions; providing contextual information in terms of site selection, knowledge of collections, and regional contacts;
  • Integration of data sets; publication and dissemination of  final results of the project.


PhD Archaeology (2007)

Government of Ireland Scholar, School of Archaeology, University College Dublin (under the supervision of Prof. Gabriel Cooney).

  • Title of thesis: Neolithic settlement in Ireland: new theories and approaches.

My doctoral thesis examined in detail the phenomenon of early Neolithic rectangular timber houses, large numbers of which have been discovered in development-led excavation in Ireland in recent years. Also undertaken was a systematic survey of other contemporary forms of settlement evidence such as lithic scatters, pit clusters and enclosures, which can appear just as frequently in the archaeological record but are often passed over in settlement narratives of the period.

This research was funded by  the Irish Research Council (formerly the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences).

MA (Hons) Landscape Archaeology (2003)

  • University of Sheffield, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Other projects

(2013-2014) Research Associate, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University. Lead postdoctoral research associate with The Times of Their Lives project, funded through an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant (2012-2017). ToTL aims to construct more precise chronologies for the European Neolithic, exploring the timings and the duration of key events and phenomena through problem-oriented archaeological analysis with Bayesian statistical modelling.

(2011-2013) Marie Curie IEF Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol.  Awarded a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development (IEF) for a two-year project – SCHERD (a Study of Cuisine and animal Husbandry among Early farmers via Residue analysis and radiocarbon Dating).

(2009-10) Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Archaeology, University College Dublin. One year fellowship awarded for the purpose of preparing my doctoral thesis for publication. The monograph was published by the Prehistoric Society in 2014.

 (2007-09) Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Research Framework. Employed by The Heritage Council (Ireland) as editor and project co-ordinator of the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Research Framework. The framework document, published in 2009, was the first of its kind for Ireland and one of the few World Heritage Site research frameworks in existence worldwide.


  • Books

Smyth, J. 2014. Settlement in the Irish Neolithic: new discoveries on the edge of Europe, Prehistoric Society Research Paper 6. Oxford: Prehistoric Society.

Hofmann, D. and Smyth, J. (eds) 2013. The Neolithic house: tracking sedentism, architecture and practice. New York: Springer.

Smyth, J. 2009. Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Research Framework. Kilkenny: The Heritage Council.

  • Peer-reviewed articles in international journals

Roffet-Salque, M., Dunne, J., Altoft, D., Casanova, E., Cramp, L.J.E., Smyth, J., Whelton, H., Evershed, R.P., in press, From the inside out: upscaling organic residue analyses of archaeological ceramicsJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 

Smyth, J. and Evershed, R. Forthcoming. Milking the megafauna: the role of organic residue analysis in understanding early farming practice. Journal of Environmental Archaeology.

Smyth, J. and Evershed, R. Forthcoming. The molecules of meals: new insight into Neolithic foodways. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 115C.

Cramp, L.J.E., Jones, J., Sheridan, A., Smyth, J., Whelton, H., Mulville, J., Sharples, N. and Evershed, R. 2014. Immediate replacement of fishing with dairying by the earliest farmers of the northeast Atlantic archipelagos. Proceedings of the Royal Society B (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2372)

Smyth, J. 2011. The house and group identity in the Irish Neolithic. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 111C, 1-33.

Smyth, J. 2006. The role of the house in early Neolithic Ireland. European Journal of Archaeology 9:2/3, 229–257.

  • Peer-reviewed article in conference proceedings

Smyth. J. and Evershed, R. Forthcoming. Pottery, archaeology and chemistry: contents and context. In A. Whittle and P. Bickle (eds), Early farmers: the view from archaeology and science, 347-367. London: British Academy.

Smyth, J. 2013. Tara in pieces — change and continuity at the turn of the 3rd millennium BC. In M. O’Sullivan, C. Scarre and M. Doyle (eds), Tara: from the past to the future, 408-416. Dublin: Wordwell.

  • Peer-reviewed book chapter

Smyth, J. 2012. Breaking ground: an overview of pits and pit-digging in Neolithic Ireland. In H. Anderson- Whymark and J. Thomas (eds), Regional perspectives on Neolithic pit deposition: beyond the mundane, 13-29. Oxford: Oxbow.

Smyth, J. 2013b. Tides of change? The house through the Irish Neolithic. In D. Hofmann and J. Smyth (eds), The Neolithic house: tracking sedentism, domesticity and practice, 301-327. New York: Springer.

Hofmann, D and Smyth, J. 2013. Introduction: Dwelling, materials, cosmology – transforming houses in the Neolithic. In D. Hofmann and J. Smyth (eds), The Neolithic house: tracking sedentism, domesticity and practice, 1-17. New York: Springer.

Cooney, G., Bayliss, A., Healy, F., Whittle, A., Danaher, E., Cagney, L., Mallory, J., Smyth, J., Kador, T. and O’Sullivan, M. 2011. Chapter 12: Ireland. In A. Whittle, F. Healy and A. Bayliss, Gathering time: dating the early Neolithic enclosures of southern Britain and Ireland, 562-669. Oxford: Oxbow.

  • Outreach Articles

Smyth. J. and Evershed, R. 2014. Milk and molecules: secrets from prehistoric pottery. In M. Stanley, B. Kelly and N. Roycroft (eds), Fragments from Lives Past. Dublin: National Roads Authority.

Smyth, J. 2007. The Irish early Neolithic house – new insights? PAST 57, 4-6.

Smyth, J. 2008. The Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site: an emerging research framework. Archaeology Ireland 22:2, 28-30.