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Jessica Hendy
Senior Lecturer in Palaeoproteomics



Jessica is an archaeological scientist who specialises in the analysis of ancient proteins. As a lecturer in the Department, her research focuses on the development and application of protein analysis to understanding a range of aspects of the past, including culinary practices, diets and disease. She teaches on a range of modules focused on archaeological science.

She received a BA in Anthropology and Ancient History and a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2010, followed by a BA(Hons) in Anthropology. In 2015 she was awarded her PhD from the University of York, where she explored the application of ancient protein analysis to understand ancient diets and disease. Following her PhD, she then took up a postdoctoral research associate position at York, applying genomics and proteomics to understand pathogen exposure and food consumption practices in 19th century Britain. In 2016 Jessica became a postdoctoral researcher and then group leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History before becoming a Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology in York in July 2019.

Departmental roles

  • Director of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Archaeology (2021 - 2022)
  • Natural Science subject facilitator for Archaeology (2019 - 2021)



Jessica Hendy’s research focuses on developing and applying ancient protein analysis as a tool for understanding past dietary consumption practices and disease. In particular, she is focused on exploring the potential of ancient proteins as dietary biomarkers. Based in BioArCh, her research aims to integrate proteomic methodologies alongside other techniques in archaeological science and archaeology. She also oversees Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry research (ZooMS) in the Department. 

Her research also explores archaeological evidence for the practice for fermentation, and in 2016 she received a Max Planck Society Donors Award to study traditionally-made dairy products and characterize their unique microbial fingerprints as part of the Heirloom Microbes project. 

In 2019 she received a Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of her palaeoproteomics research. 

In the 2023-24 academic year she is on a research sabbatical. 

Key research interests 

  • Palaeoproteomics 
  • Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS)
  • Ancient diets, cuisine and food processing 
  • The origins and development of fermentation 
  • Ancient dairying and pastoralism 

Available PhD research projects

  • Jessica is open to hearing from PhD applicants in the area of palaeoproteomics. 


Current PhD Students 

  • Charllotte Blacka, Developing rapid and low-cost mass spectrometry-based identification of biological sex in fossils
  • Eleanor Green, The Pursuit of Novel Substrates as Reservoirs of Ancient Biomolecules
  • Jan Dekker, Protein survival in charred ‘foodcrusts’: insights into Mesolithic container technology

Completed PhD Students

  • Anne Katharine Runge, A different perspective on canid domestication: insights from gastrointestinal content and palaeofaeces
  • Abigail Ramsøe, Exploring patterns of diagenesis in ancient proteins

External co-supervision 



In 2023-24 Jessica Hendy is on a research sabbatical

Year 1

Module leader: Introduction to Archaeological Science

Seminar leader: Prehistory to the Present

Year 2

Module leader: Designing Research

Year 3

Module leader: Assessed Seminar: Debates in Archaeological Science

Module leader: Dissertations and Assessed Lectures 


Course co-director: MSc in Bioarchaeology

Module leader: Ancient Biomolecules

Other teaching

I have also recently taught as part of: 

A profile picture of Dr Jessica Hendy

Contact details

Dr Jessica Hendy
University of York
BioArCh, Environment Building 2nd Floor
Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD

Tel: (44) 1904 328650


External activities

Editorial duties

2019-2022: Associate Editor: Journal of Archaeological Science

Media coverage