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Lizzie Wright
Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Fellow



Lizzie is a zooarchaeologist with wide ranging interests. She is particularly interested in prehistoric human-cattle interactions, but she has also worked extensively on material from a variety of other time periods and topics, from the Middle Pleistocene to the Middle Ages, from animal baiting to “rewilding”.

She received a BA in Anthropology and Archaeology at Durham University in 2008, followed by an MSc in Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy at the University of Sheffield in 2009. Her PhD, also undertaken at the University of Sheffield, explored the morphological variability of the European aurochs, and was awarded in 2014.

Since then she has worked on a number of research projects, as well as undertaking stints in the developer funded sector; working on Neolithic, Roman, Medieval and Post-Medieval projects, and combining zooarchaeological methodologies with biomolecular approaches such as stable and radiometric isotopes and ancient DNA. In particular she has continued to focus on ancient human-cattle interactions through three major projects: the Archaeological Institute of America funded Animal Husbandry in Prehistoric Portugal, which explored the mobility and diet of cattle at two major Chalcolithic settlements in southern Portugal (2015-16) and two European Commission funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships: LAKEBOS (2018-2020) and CatCoW (2022-2025) which explore changes in cattle husbandry during the late Neolithic period in Central and Northern Europe. It is this final project that brought her to BioArCh.

Lizzie is a large advocate for the field of zooarchaeology and its many applications, and is currently Secretary of the International Council of Archaeozoology (ICAZ), the main international organisation promoting zooarchaeological research and communication between zooarchaeologists across the world.



Lizzie’s work uses zooarchaeology as a core tool for building and answering questions around human-animal interactions in the past, but has often integrated her zooarchaeological work with biomolecular approaches in order to tackle specific research questions. Her research interests are wide ranging but she has a particular passion for studying prehistoric human-cattle interactions.


CatCoW: Cattle husbandry and dairying at the introduction of the Corded Ware Culture: Agricultural and dietary change during the 3rd Millennium BC. Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, University of York, UK. This project is looking at shifts in cattle husbandry around the time of the introduction of Corded Ware in both Switzerland and the Netherlands, considering the hypothesis that Corded Ware migration led to the introduction of new cattle stock and an increasing economic reliance on dairy products. It will do this by combining zooarchaeology, aDNA, lipid residue analysis and proteomics.

Box Office Bears: Animal Baiting in Early modern England AHRC, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Nottingham, UK. In this project we are studying animal remains from early modern bear-baiting sites at Bankside in London and undertaking Carbon, Nitrogen, Strontium and Oxygen isotope analysis on the dogs and bears from these assemblages in order to understand more about the diet and origins of these animals. The wider team is highly interdisciplinary, combining our zooarchaeological study with archival work (University of Roehampton) and ancient DNA analysis (University of Oxford) in order to discover more about the lives of the animals that were involved in this awful practice, and the role of this ‘sport’ in early modern society.

CASTOR: Creative Adaptive Solutions for Treescapes Of Rivers UKRI/NERC, Associated Researcher. This project aims to model different options for the ‘rewilding’ of treescapes in northern England, integrating zooarchaeological and palaeoecological data with other lines of evidence, and using participatory approaches and Social Arts Practice to involve the public and landowners.

Selected past projects

LAKEBOS: Cattle at prehistoric lake-dwelling sites in Switzerland: an investigation of husbandry practices and the spread of cultural influence Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2018-2020, University of Basel, Switzerland

Animal husbandry in Prehistoric Portugal Archaeological Institute of America Archaeology in Portugal Fellowship 2015-2016

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Contact details

Dr Lizzie Wright
University of York
Environment Building
Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD