Mélanie Roffet-Salque

120x170_d2Role in the project

  • Investigating via fatty biomarkers and compound-specific stable isotopes (δ13C) of animal fats preserved in food residues, the origins and quantitative distributions of the major animal products acquired and processed in LBK pottery.


PhD Chemistry (2012)

Marie Curie Research fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol (under the supervision of Prof. Richard P. Evershed FRS).

  • Title of thesis: Regional and chronological trends in milk use in Prehistoric Europe traced through organic residues preserved in pottery vessels.

The work carried out by the Organic Geochemistry Unit at the University of Bristol has revealed that the use of dairying products dated back to the Early Neolithic in Britain (4000 B.C., Copley et al., 2003, PNAS, 100, 1524-1529 and to the 7th mil. B.C. in SE Europe and the Near East (Evershed et al., 2008, Nature, 455, 528-531). My PhD project aimed at investigating the emergence of dairying practices in less-well studied areas of mainland early Neolithic Europe, by analysing lipid residues preserved in potsherds, with a focus on the northern Mediterranean area and the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture.

This research was funded by the 7th EU framework Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (FP7-ITN-215362-2) and part of the LeCHE project (Lactase persistence and the Early Cultural History of Europe).

MSc Chemistry (2008)

  • Engineer’s diploma in chemistry (diplôme d’ingénieur), with a special emphasis on biochemistry, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille (France).
  • Master in organic and macromolecular chemistry, Lille I university (France)

Other projects

Final-year placement (2008, 8 months) – Centre de Recherches et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF, UMR 171) and Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC, UMR 7188) laboratories (Paris, France), under the supervision of Dr. Martine Regert.

Title: Molecular characterization of resinous terpenoid substances from archaeological origin.

Placement (2007, 2 months) – Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Eberhard Lehmann.

Title: Non-invasive studies of museum objects by neutron tomography.

Placement (2006, 2 months) – Laboratory of Research in Conservation of the Swiss National Museum of Zurich (Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Marie Wörle.

Title: Non-destructive analysis of objects from the Roman period by µ-X-ray fluorescence.


  • Peer-reviewed articles in international journals

Ethier, J., Bánffy, E., Vuković, J., Leshtakov, K., Bacvarov, K., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R. P. and Ivanova, M., 2017. Earliest expansion of animal husbandry beyond the Mediterranean zone in the sixth millennium BCScientific Reports 7(1): 7146.

Matlova, V., Roffet-Salque, M., Pavlu, I., Kyselka, J., Filip, V. and Evershed, R. P. (2017). Unravelling pottery use and animal management at the Neolithic site of Bylany (Czech Republic). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 14: 262-274.

Debono Spiteri, C.*, Gillis, R. E.*, Roffet-Salque, M.*, Castells Navarro, L., Guilaine, J., Muntoni, I. M., Saña Segui, M., Urem-Kotsou, D., Whelton, H. L., Craig, O. E., Vigne, J. D. and Evershed, R. P., 2016, Regional asynchronicity in dairy production and processing in early farming communities of the northern Mediterranean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(48), 13594-13599.

Roffet-Salque, M., Lee, M. R. F., Timpson, A. and Evershed, R. P., in press, Impact of modern cattle feeding practices on milk fatty acid stable carbon isotope compositions emphasise the need for caution in selecting reference animal tissues and products for archaeological investigations. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences: 1-6.

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. 

Roffet-Salque, M., Regert, M., Evershed, R. P., Outram, A. K., Cramp, L. J. E., Decavallas, O., Dunne, J., Gerbault, P., Mileto, S., Mirabaud, S., Pääkkönen, M., Smyth, J., Šoberl, L., Whelton, H. L., Alday-Ruiz, A., Asplund, H., Bartkowiak, M., Bayer-Niemeier, E., Belhouchet, L., Bernardini, F., Budja, M., Cooney, G., Cubas, M., Danaher, E. M., Diniz, M., Domboróczki, L., Fabbri, C., González-Urquijo, J. E., Guilaine, J., Hachi, S., Hartwell, B. N., Hofmann, D., Hohle, I., Ibáñez, J. J., Karul, N., Kherbouche, F., Kiely, J., Kotsakis, K., Lueth, F., Mallory, J. P., Manen, C., Marciniak, A., Maurice-Chabard, B., Mc Gonigle, M. A., Mulazzani, S., Özdoğan, M., Perić, O. S., Perić, S. R., Petrasch, J., Pétrequin, A.-M., Pétrequin, P., Poensgen, U., Pollard, C. J., Poplin, F., Radi, G., Stadler, P., Stäuble, H., Tasić, N., Urem-Kotsou, D., Vuković, J. B., Walsh, F., Whittle, A., Wolfram, S., Zapata-Peña, L. and Zoughlami, J., 2015. Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmersNature,527, 226-230.

Nieuwenhuyse, O. P., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R. P., Akkermans, P. M. M. G. and Russell, A. 2015. Tracing pottery use and the emergence of secondary product exploitation through lipid residue analysis at Late Neolithic Tell Sabi Abyad (Syria). Journal of Archaeological Science, 64, 54-66.

Gerbault, P., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R.P., Thomas, M.G. 2013. How long have adult humans been consuming milk? IUBMB Life (Online only)

Salque, M., Bogucki, P. I., Pyzel, J., Sobkowiak-Tabaka, I., Grygiel, R., Szmyt, M. and Evershed, R. P., 2013, Earliest evidence for cheese making in the sixth millennium BC in northern EuropeNature493, 522-525.

Dunne, J., Evershed, R. P., Salque, M., Cramp, L., Bruni, S., Ryan, K., Biagetti, S. and di Lernia, S., 2012, First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BCNature486, 390-394.

  • Peer-reviewed article in conference proceedings

Salque, M., Radi, G., Fabbri, C., Tagliacozzo, A., Pino Uria, B., Wolfram, S., Stäuble, H., Hohle, I., Whittle, A., Hofmann, D., Pechtl, J., Schade-Lindig, S., Eisenhauer, U. and Evershed, R. P., 2012, New insights into the early Neolithic economy and management of animals in Southern and Central Europe revealed using lipid residue analyses of pottery vessels,Anthropozoologica, 47(2), 45-61.

  • Book Chapter

Roffet-Salque, M., Gerbault, P. and Gillis, R. E. (2017). Une histoire de l’exploitation laitière : approches génétique, archéozoologique et biomoléculaire. Regards croisés: quand les sciences archéologiques rencontrent l’innovation. M. Balasse and P. Dillmann, Editions des archives contemporaines: 1-23.

Roffet-Salque, M. and Evershed, R. P., 2015, Shifting pottery use and animal management at Kopydłowo (Poland) traced through lipid residue analyses of pottery vessels. Kopydłowo, stanowisko 6. Osady neolityczne z pogranicza Kujaw i Wielkopolski. A. Marciniak, I. Sobkowiak-Tabaka, M. Bartkowiak and M. Lisowski, eds. Pękowice-Poznań, Wydawnictwo Profil-Archeo: 133-142.

Regert, M., Salque, M., Devièse, T. and Le Hô, A. S., 2015, Les résines végétales de type copal et encens : caractérisation, exploitation et circuits commerciaux, in Sharma. Un entrepôt de transit médiéval sur la côte du Hadramawt (Yémen), Rougeulle, A., ed. Archaeopress: 395-416.

  • Outreach Articles

Roffet-Salque, M. & Evershed, R. P., 2014. Les débuts européens de la production laitière, Pour la Science, 438, 48-54

Salque, M., 2012, Was milk processed in these ceramic pots? Organic residue analyses of European prehistoric cooking vessels, in May contain traces of milk – Investigating the role of dairy farming and milk consumption in the European Neolithic, 127-141, LeCHE, ed., The University of York, York.

Salque, M., 2010, Down the farm, 10,000 years ago – an archaeologist investigates dairying, Catalyst, December volume, 17-19.


* Contributed equally to this work.