Oxford archaeologists have carried out pioneering work on the remains of humans, plants, animals and insects from archaeological sites. This work includes investigation of ancient diets on the basis of stable isotope values in bone and teeth, development of techniques for analyzing ancient DNA, modeling of diagenetic alteration in bone and work on novel methods of analyzing bone amino aids for dating and dietary studies. Current bioarchaeological research at Oxford combines these key methods with ecological, ethnographic and historical approaches to reconstruct past diet, land use and lifestyles in their evolutionary and social context.
Current research projects based in various parts of the world include study of hominin and early human diet and residence patterns; primate ecology; the emergence and dispersal of modern humans; lifeways during Glacial periods; the emergence of cemeteries and other sedentary behaviours toward the end of the last Glacial; skeletal evidence for interpersonal violence in later prehistory; freshwater reservoir effects in the Iron Gates of the Danube; the timing and nature of the transition from hunting and gathering to farming; the spread of plants and animals through long-distance maritime trade; and reconstruction of daily and ritual life from Pompeii and Herculaneum to Roman and Anglo-Saxon communities of the Upper Thames valley.
For a list of those staff working on projects in this area, please see our people pages and select "Bioarchaeology" from the dropdown menu.