Accessibility statement

Eva Fairnell



Eva obtained her first degree, a BSc in Environmental Biology and Anthropology, way back in 1985, from the then Oxford Polytechnic. After working part-time for 18 months at a small museum in London, she became a scientific, technical and medical (STM) copy-editor for Blackwell Scientific Publications. After working in Oxford and Edinburgh she moved to York in 1991 as a desk editor for the National Curriculum Council. She was made redundant in 1993 and has been a freelance copy-editor ever since.

In 2002 Eva returned to higher education at the University of York, obtaining an MSc in Zooarchaeology in 2003 and then, after c. 7 years as a part-time student, a PhD in 2012. Since 2012 she has been a part-time collections technician for Historic England (HE), curating the specimens and their associated data in HE’s zooarchaeological reference collection and preparing new specimens. She has retained an association with the Department of Archaeology at York, in particular teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students how to use Word to their advantage, and helping curate York’s zooarchaeological reference collection. 



Eva’s masters and PhD research centred on how, when and why humans have utilised fur-bearing species. She looked for spatial and temporal trends in species and element distribution using three geographical case studies: London, York and Scotland. Her analyses were derived from the synthesis of data from both published and grey literature, and she applied her knowledge of taxidermy and skinning to the interpretation of the associations of elements and cut marks that were found. The use of fur as a textile continues to be one of her research interests.

Recently, Eva has been working with David Orton on an HE-funded project, creating a National Zooarchaeological Reference Resource (NZRR): a one-stop portal hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), which helps zooarchaeologists and other researchers find out who holds what specimens where. Accessibility of data in any form, from unpublished reports to underused reference specimens, is an important topic that Eva hopes to continue researching and promoting. 


Selected publications

Fairnell, E.H. and Orton, D.C. (2017) National zooarchaeological reference resource (NZRR) [dataset]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]. Available at:

Shillito, L.-M., Fairnell, E. and Williams, H. (2015) Editorial: experimental archaeology. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 7 (1), 1–2. Available at:

Fairnell, E.H. (2014) Case study 5: medieval furs. In: P. Baker and F. Worley (eds), Animal bones and archaeology: guidelines for best practice. Portsmouth: English Heritage, pp. 46–47. Available at: [accessed July 2017].

Fairnell, E.H. (2008) 101 ways to skin a fur-bearing animal: the implications for zooarchaeological interpretation. In: P. Cunningham, J. Heeb and R. Paardekooper(eds), Experiencing archaeology by experiment:proceedings of the Experimental Archaeology Conference, Exeter 2007. Oxford: Oxbow, pp. 47–60. Available at: [accessed July 2017].

Fairnell, E.H. and Barrett, J.H. (2007) Fur-bearing species and Scottish islands. Journal of Archaeological Science 34 (3), 463–484. Available at:

External activities


Advanced member, Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)

Ordinary fellow, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Newsletter editor (from September 2017), International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ)

Member, Archaeological Leather Group

Member, Guild of Taxidermists

Member, Natural Sciences Collections Association (NatSCA)

Member, Association of Environmental Archaeology (AEA)

Vice-Chair, York & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

Contact details

Eva Fairnell