Dr Abigail Ash

Research Associate


Building on her undergraduate training in human evolution, Abigail specialised in the study of the development and degeneration of the human skeletal system as a postgraduate at the University of Bradford. She then moved to University College Dublin, completing her PhD as part of the European Research Council funded project “From the earliest modern humans to the onset of farming (45,000-4,500 BP): the role of climate, life-style, health, migration and selection in shaping European population history”. Since completing her doctoral research, Abigail has spent two academic terms teaching human evolution and human osteology to undergraduate students at University College Dublin. Her research has taken her to numerous countries and she has been involved in archaeological excavations in Spain, Jordan, Georgia, the UK, and Ireland.


2015-2016: Part-time lecturer in human osteology and human evolution at University College Dublin.

2011-2015: PhD in Archaeology from University College Dublin, Ireland. An examination of non-specific indicators of physiological stress within skeletal collections dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age of central Europe.

2009-2011: MSc (Dist.) in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology from the University of Bradford, UK. A comparative study of imaging technology in the assessment of palaeopathological lesions.

2006-2009: BSc (First Class Hons) in Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of Liverpool, UK. A cross-disciplinary analysis of the relationship between anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals.



Abigail’s PhD research centred around the relative health of human populations in prehistory. She contributed the palaeopathological dimension to a large international ERC-funded project, conducting demographic analysis and examination of palaeopathological lesions in skeletal remains from 13 collections distributed geographically across central Europe and temporally from the Early Neolithic to the Late Iron Age. Principally her work has focused on non-specific indicators of stress and how the examination of these skeletal markers can contribute to the reconstruction of prehistoric human lifeways, particularly during periods of significant cultural change. She is also interested in the application of such osteobiographical techniques to animal remains to explore the changing dynamics of animal-human relationships during the Neolithic.


Ash, A. & Pinhasi, R. 2018. Life on the frontier: stress in early farming communities. In P. Bickle & E. Sibbesson (eds) Neolithic Bodies. Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers. Oxbow Books: Oxford. 

Mathieson, I., Alpaslan Roodenberg, S., Posth, C., Szécsényi-Nagy, A., Rohland, N., Mallick, S., Olalde, I., Broomandkhoshbacht, N., Cheronet, O., Fernandes, D., Ferry, M., Gamarra, B., González Fortes, G., Haak, W., HarneyE., Krause-Kyora, B., Kucukkalipci, I., Michel, M., Mittnik, A., Nägele, K., Novak, M., Oppenheimer, J., Patterson, N., Pfrengle, S., Sirak, K., Stewardson, K., Vai, S., Alexandrov, S., Alt, K.W., Andreescu, R., Antonović, D., Ash, A., Atanassova, N., Bacvarov, K., Balázs Gusztáv, M., Bocherens, H., Bolus, M., Boroneanţ, A., Boyadzhiev, Y., Budnik, A., Burmaz, J., Chohadzhiev, S., Conard, N.J., Cottiaux, R., Čuka, M., Cupillard, C., Drucker, Elenski, N., Francken, M., Galabova, B., Ganetovski, G., Gely, B., Hajdu, T., Handzhyiska, V., Harvati, K., Higham, T., Iliev, S., Janković, I., Karavanić, I., Kennett, D.J., Komšo, D., Kozak, A., Labuda, D., Lari, M., Lazar, C., Leppek, M., Leshtakov, K., Lo Vetro, D., Los, D., Lozanov, I., Malina, M., Martini, F., McSweeney, K., Meller, H., Menđušić, M., Mirea, P., Moiseyev, V., Petrova, V., Price, T.D., Simalcsik, A., Sineo, L., Šlaus, M., Slavchev, V., Stanev, P., Starović, A., Szeniczey, T., Talamo, S., Teschler-Nicola, M., Thevenet, C., Valchev, I., Valentin, F., Vasilyev, S., Veljanovska, F., Venelinova, S., Veselovskaya, E., Viola, B., Virag, C., Zaninović, J., Zäuner, S., Stockhammer, P.W., Catalano, G., Krauß, R., Caramelli, D., Zariņa, G, Gaydarska, B., Lillie, M., Nikitin, A.G., Potekhina, I., Papathanasiou, A., Borić, D., Bonsall, C., Krause, J., Pinhasi, R., Reich, D. (pre-print) The genomic history of southeastern Europe. bioRxiv DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/135616 (in press: Nature).

Ash, A., Francken, M., Pap, I., Tvrdý, Z., Wahl, J., Pinhasi, R. 2016. Regional differences in health, diet and weaning patterns amongst the first Neolithic farmers of central Europe. Scientific Reports 6. DOI: 10.1038/srep29458


Contact details

Dr Abigail Ash
Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
King's Manor
Exhibition Square