Accessibility statement

Dr Sophy Charlton
Research Associate



I undertook a BSc (Hons) in Archaeology (1st class) at the University of York 2008-2011, and then completed an MSc in Bioarchaeology (Distinction) also at York 2011-2012 under full AHRC funding (Research Development Grant). In 2016 I completed a NERC funded PhD on biomolecular approaches to the British Mesolithic and Neolithic at the University of York, supervised by Prof. Oliver Craig and Dr Michelle Alexander.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the ERC funded Up-North Project, and am based at the Natural History Museum in London and the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. The Up-North Project aims to investigate the Upper and Final Palaeolithic human recolonisation of North Western Europe after the last glacial maximum. My role involves using ancient DNA analysis to explore prey species - considering how these animals may have adapted and reacted to changes in their environment, and what this may have meant for human populations.



My main research interests centre around the use of biomolecular archaeology (ancient DNA, stable isotopes, ancient proteomics) to infer past lifeways and human activities. I have a particular interest in European early prehistory, temporal transitions, death and burial, ancient microbiomes, and variability in past diets and health and disease states.


Selected publications

Charlton S, Alexander M, Collins M, Milner N, Mellars P, O'Connell TC, Stevens RE, Craig OE (2016) ‘Finding Britain's last hunter-gatherers: A new biomolecular approach to ‘unidentifiable’ bone fragments utilising bone collagen,’ Journal of Archaeological Science, 73: 55-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jas.2016.07.014

Colonese AC, Farrell T, Lucquin A, Firth D, Charlton S, Robson HK, Alexander M, Craig OE (2015) ‘Archaeological bone lipids as palaeodietary markers’, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29 (7): 611-618. doi: 10.1002/rcm.7144

Warinner C, Hendy J, Speller C, Cappellini E, Fischer R, Trachsel C, Arneborg J, Lynnerup N, Craig OE, Swallow DM, Fotakis A, Christensen RJ, Olsen JV, Liebert A, Montalva N, Fiddyment S, Charlton S, Mackie M, Canci A, Bouwman A, Rühli F, Gilbert MTP, Collins MJ (2014) ‘Direct evidence of milk consumption from ancient human dental calculus’, Scientific Reports, 4: 7104. doi: 10.1038/srep07104

Warinner C, Rodrigues JFM, Vyas R, Trachsel C, Shved N, Grossmann J, Radini A, Hancock Y, Tito RY, Fiddyment S, Speller C, Hendy J, Charlton S, Luder HU, Salazar-garcía DC, Eppler E, Seiler R, Hansen LH, Castruita JAS, Barkow-oesterreicher S, Teoh KY, Kelstrup CD, Olsen JV, Nanni P, Kawai T, Willerslev E, Von MeringC, Lewis CM, Collins MJ, Gilbert MTP, Rühli F, Cappellini E (2014) ‘Pathogens and host immunity in the ancient human oral cavity’, Nature Genetics, 46 (4): 336-344. doi: 10.1038/ng.2906

Keefe, K, Charlton, S and Holst, M (2014) ‘Osteological Analysis: Polesworth Abbey, Polesworth, Warwickshire’, York Osteoarchaeology Ltd. Report 0114, osteological report prepared for Northamptonshire Archaeology (MOLA)

Hendy J, Charlton S, Radini A (2013) ‘Ancient dental plaque: An unexpected journey into the past’, The Post Hole, 29: 22 – 28

External activities


2014 - Present: Assistant Editor and Communications Officer of the online journal Mesolithic Miscellany


Contact details

Dr Sophy Charlton
ERC Research Associate
Department of Earth Sciences
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road