Meeting in Saxony


Harald and Richard observing the excavations at the Drossdorf well

Harald and Richard looking at the excavations of the Drossdorf well.

Richard and Mélanie spent 2 days in Leipzig in mid-September. The aim of the visit was to discuss sampling of archaeological sites in Saxony with Harald Stäuble and colleagues from the Archaeological Heritage Service in Dresden and Leipzig (Saskia Kretschmer, Isabel Hohle, Germo Schmalfuß, Matthias Conrad and Christiane Krahn). Richard gave a talk on the NeoMilk project and an introduction to lipid residue analyses. We were lucky enough to be able to sample hundreds of potsherds which will surely tell us a lot about changes in subsistence practices through time in the region.


The highlight of the stay was clearly the visit of the Droßdorf wooden well. This 7,000-yr-old LBK well was discovered in 2014 in a lignite mine in the area of Peres in the south of Leipzig, during excavations carried out by the Archaeological Heritage Service. It was decided to move the well in order to facilitate the excavations so a 30 tonne-block (!) was transported indoor to a hall nearby. It is possible to see the excavations happening in real time as the hall is open to the general public. A really nice exhibition was also put up next to the well to inform the public about the Neolithic context and other wooden wells within the country and Europe. Spectacular finds have already been discovered at other wells (e.g. Eythra or Altscherbitz) so let’s wait and see what Droßdorf has to offer!

More information on the well excavated at Droßdorf can be found here.

Thank you to all of you for welcoming us in Leipzig – we had a great time (and a great German lunch!).

Emmanuelle returns to Alsace

Emmanuelle at the CCE with a beautiful LBK potsherd from Ensisheim

Emmanuelle at the CCE with beautiful refitting LBK potsherds from Ensisheim


Emmanuelle went once again to Alsace, this time to sample sherds from the upper Rhine region.

She had to be patient to access these sherds as she had to wait for the reopening of the new building at the Centre de Conservation et d’Etude (CEE) – Alsace. She met Agathe Mulot who let her access the collection from the LBK site of Ensisheim.

She also had a meeting with Suzanne Plouin, curator in charge of the archaeological collection at the Musée Unterliden in Colmar. She sampled the LBK site of Colmar.

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.

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



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 !

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”.

Emily and Jess visit Hungary

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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.