NeoMilk at the Neolithic Studies Group Autumn meeting

Part of the NeoMilk team headed to the British Museum in London on Monday 28th November for the Neolithic Studies Group Autumn meeting. The event was organised by our own Roz Gillis and Jess Smyth and entitled “Neolithic food and farming systems”.

Roz Gillis presented the work we recently published in PNAS on early farming communities of the Northern Mediterranean. A multidisciplinary study with archaeolozoological analyses (slaughtering profiles) and lipid residue analyses of pots.

Emily Johnson presented her poster “From animal to archaeologist: profiling sequences of butchery and taphonomy through bone fracture analysis”, co-authored with Pip Parmenter and Alan Outram. This poster was based on the work published this year in JAS reports.

Finally, Mélanie Roffet-Salque presented the NeoMilk team work carried out on the site of Ludwinowo, integrating multiple approaches to get insight into animal management at this LBK site. Co-authors of the talk included Jessica Smyth, Rosalind Gillis, Emily V. Johnson, David T. Altoft, Iain Kendall, Marta Bartkowiak, Marta Osypińska, Joanna Pyzel, Iwona Sobkowiak-Tabaka, Volker Heyd, Arkadiusz Marciniak, Jean-Denis Vigne, Marie Balasse, Alan K. Outram and Richard P. Evershed

We also had the chance to catch up with Penny Bickle (ex-member, now lecturer at the University of York).

That was a lovely day at the British Museum – thank you Roz and Jess for organising and inviting us!

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!

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!


Penny and Mélanie at the EUROPA conference

Penny and Mélanie have been invited to give a talk at the EUROPA conference held in Cardiff and organised by the Prehistoric Society to celebrate the work  of Prof. Alasdair Whittle. Their joint talk is entitled “Searching for variability in the Linearbandkeramik until the cows come home”.

Iain and Dagmara will be assisting to the conference.