Accessibility statement

Marjolein Admiraal
Postdoctoral Research Fellow



I am an archaeological scientist with a specialization in lipid residue and stable isotope analysis of archaeological cooking vessels. As of October 2020, I am working at BioArCh as a postdoctoral research fellow on the ERC TRADITION project, where I aim to investigate the function of pre-Columbian and historical ceramic artefacts through time and space along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. I will use lipid analysis, stable isotope analysis and proteomics, integrated with other lines of evidence, to better understand dietary patterns and change.

I completed my BA and MA in archaeology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, with a geographical specialisation in North America and the Polar regions. In my MA thesis I recorded striking similarities in lithic and hafting technologies of several thick-bodied projectile point types, ranging from Alaska to Venezuela, hinting at a possible northward migration within the Americas as early as 10.500 BP.

During my PhD project (at the University of Groningen), I investigated the function of prehistoric Alaskan pottery and Aleutian stone cooking vessels. This is when I first joined the BioArCh group, where I received my training in organic residue analysis in 2015 – 2016. The aim of my PhD research was to better understand the drivers of pottery adoption in marginal areas such as the (sub)Arctic, by looking at vessel function. By integrating residue analysis results with ethnographic and archaeological information I found that the adoption (and non-adoption) of pottery in Alaska was highly dependent on social boundaries and choice, as well as on its functional use as a container to process aquatic, fatty, species.  

Currently I am also working on two other postdoctoral projects. In a collaboration between Groningen, York and several Russian partners, I am investigating the function of Northeast Siberian pottery, to answer questions raised in my PhD concerning the origins of Alaskan pottery and the northward spread of pottery technology in Northeast Asia. Furthermore, I am collaborating with the Adelphi University in New York to analyse hearth samples from a First Americans site in Alaska’s Tanana Valley, through lipid and stable isotope analysis.



I am a New World archaeologist trained in biomolecular methods such as lipid residue analysis, and (compound specific) stable isotope analysis. My research interests include bioarchaeological methods, archaeology of the Americas, human resilience and adaptation in the face of change, human-environment interactions, the adoption of pottery by hunter-gatherers, the peopling of the Americas, and many more.


TRADITION is an ERC funded research project that will assess the long-term development of small-scale fisheries in South America, and their legacy to present day food security and poverty alleviation. The project is led by Dr Andre Carlo Colonese of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and collaborates with the University of York (BioArCh), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and Brazilian partners.

The NE Siberian pottery project aims to investigate the function of NE Siberian pottery and its northward dispersal towards the Bering Strait and Alaska through organic residue analysis and modelling of radiocarbon dated pottery sites. The project is funded by the University of Groningen and led by Prof. Peter Jordan and Dr Marjolein Admiraal in a collaboration with the University of York, Bournemouth University, and Russian partners.

The Holzman hearth project is a pilot project to assess preservation of lipids in several prehistoric hearths of the First Americans Holzman site in Alaska’s Tanana Valley dating to the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. The project is led by Dr Marjolein Admiraal at the University of York in a collaboration with the Adelphi University of New York (Dr. Bryan Wygal and Dr. Kathryn Krasinski).

Contact details

Dr Marjolein Admiraal
University of York
Environment Building, Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD