My PhD research is part of 'The Baltic Foragers and Early Farmers Ceramic Research Project', which is systematically investigating the contents of Mesolithic and Neolithic pottery in northern Germany and Denmark. The project is multi-disciplinary in nature: lipid residue analysis on 'food crusts' and ceramic fabric is being conducted at Bradford University, whilst my responsibilities include microscopic analyses for fossilised remains. I am particularly interested in the recovery of plant microfossils such as starch, phytoliths and calcium oxalate crystals.
The amazing preservation of surface deposits on pottery in southern Scandinavia means we can approach questions of cuisine with a dataset that is spatially extensive, and temporally detailed. Integrating multiple disciplines also means the variety of food commodities we can identify is as specific as possible. Our aim is to reconstruct the relative values of different foods, and comment on how those values affected culinary choices in the context of other changes at the transition to agriculture.
My other contributions to the project include the typological analysis of the pottery. Late Mesolithic styles are pointed-based, changing to a greater variety of flat-based styles in the early Neolithic. I'm interested in studying the changing characteristics of the pottery, both stylistically and technologically and relating this to the ceramic's role
Carl Heron (Bradford)
I did my undergraduate degree at York and received a starred first (I*). I was lucky enough to become involved in the 'Southern French Alps Landscape Project' which involved high-altitude excavation and fieldwalking. My masters was partly undertaken on the Neolithic-early Bronze aspects of this Alpine evidence, and partly on the Yorkshire Wolds. I received a distinction for my masters.
I spent two years in the commercial sector doing both excavation and survey, including geophysical survey. I was fortunate to receive an education in geophysical survey techniques from Prof. Dominic Powlesland at the Landscape Research Centre in the Vale of Pickering.
I am also involved in the drawing of illustrations for books and papers.
I have been involved in the excavation of the Mesolithic site of Star Carr for several seasons, including a geophysical survey most recently. I have also excavated at the Danish shell midden of Havno, Jutland with Soren Andersen. Last season i got involved in the excavation of the lost medieval manor at Harwood House, near Leeds.
I love foraging for modern reference plants for my PhD, and the cooking pot! Prehistoric technology fascinates me; as well as potting, i'm currently building a birch bark canoe- watch out Ray Mears!