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Dr Lara González Carretero is an archaeobotanist with extensive experience in environmental archaeology and the analysis and study of archaeological plant remains from both urban and rural sites in different areas of the world. She is an expert on microscopic analysis of archaeological food remains, with especial interest in ancient cereal meals and foodcrusts preserved in pottery vessels.
Lara holds a BA in History and Archaeology from University Complutense of Madrid in Spain where she also took part in numerous archaeological excavations. She then went on to a MA Research in Environmental Archaeology at University of Reading where she obtained a distinction. Following this, in 2020, Lara achieved a PhD in archaeobotany at the UCL Institute of Archaeology which she passed with minor corrections. Her PhD thesis “On the origins of bread cultures in the Near East: a new archaeobotanical study of charred meals and cooking practices from Neolithic Çatalhöyük (Turkey) and Jarmo (Iraqi Kurdistan)” focused on the archaeobotanical identification and composition analysis of archaeological remains of cooked foods. As part of her PhD, Lara developed a new cutting-edge methodological framework for the analysis of archaeological food remains applying a range of scientific methods which included different types of microscopy, image analysis and biomolecular analysis.
After working as a Research Assistant for the ERC ComPAg project at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, she took on the position of Archaeobotanist and Environmental Team Leader at the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) from 2018 until 2022. Parallel to this, from 2019 to 2021 Lara was seconded as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant for the ERC INDUCE project in the Scientific Department at the British Museum where she applied her expertise to the analysis of foodcrusts in hunter-gatherer pottery from NE Europe.
Lara joined the University of York in 2022 as a Lecturer in Archaeobotany and is currently undertaking research on crop choices, food and diet from both the archaeobotanical perspective and biomolecular archaeology.
Lara’s main research focus is the relationship between past communities and the environment, specifically in relation to the role that plants played in people’s lives. Her main areas of study are Southwest Asia, North-East Europe and Britain where she carries out research into the importance of plant and animal products as food resources, to shed light on diet and cuisine from hunter-gatherer communities to post-medieval times. She specialises on the development and application of innovative methods for the study of archaeological food remains in combination with macro and micro botanical investigation and biomolecular analysis which include isotopic and lipid analysis.
INDUCE The Innovation, Dispersal and Use of Ceramics in NEEurope http://www.neigle.com/induce/
Lara will be working with the lipids and isotopes groups in BioArch
Lara welcomes students interested in pursuing PhDs on archaeobotany from Southwest Asia, North Africa, South and East Asia and Europe and invites students to develop proposals around the following (or related) topics: