Harry K. Robson
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

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I am currently undertaking postdoctoral research funded by the British Academy. The project, 'Exploring pottery use across the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Northern Europe', uses a range of molecular and isotopic techniques in order to determine to what degree culinary practices changed with the introduction of domesticates.

I was recently employed as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in Archaeological chemistry on the project entitled The Innovation and Development of Pottery in East Asia. From January until March 2016 I was employed as a research assistant on the POSTGLACIAL project. Over the course of six weeks, from November to December 2015, I was a visiting researcher at the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology, which is situated at Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, Germany. During this post I analysed the fish bone assemblage from the Mesolithic site of Friesack IV.

I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Archaeology from the University of Bradford in 2010. I undertook a 4 year programme which included a placement year. During the year in industry I worked as a research assistant on the Star Carr project at the University of York under the supervision of Professor Nicky Milner. My undergraduate dissertation was entitled "eels, carbon and nitrogen isotope signals in eel bone collagen from Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in northern Europe" and was supervised by Professor Carl Heron.

From 2010 to 2011 I undertook a MA in Mesolithic Studies at the University of York under the direction of Professor Nicky Milner. My postgraduate dissertation was entitled "overexploitation of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) at the Mesolithic-Neolithic kitchen midden at Havnø, Denmark? and was supervised by Dr Ol Craig.

From 2011-2015, I undertook PhD research at the University of York. My thesis was entitled "to assess the change of consumption and culinary practices at the transition to agriculture: a multi-disciplinary approach from a Danish kitchen midden." This project was jointly supervised by Dr Ol Craig and Professor Nicky Milner.

I am specifically interested in freshwater and marine resource exploitation during the Mesolithic and at the transition to agriculture. In particular, fishing, sealing and whaling, fowling and shellfish procurement. During my doctoral research I employed a range of different techniques in order to determine culinary practices, palaeodiet and seasonality, including, bone collagen stable isotope analyses (C, N and S), fish bone analysis, pottery residue analysis and the thin section manufacture of shellfish.

My main interests revolve around the Mesolithic and the early Neolithic. I have undertaken fieldwork on a number of Mesolithic and Neolithic sites throughout the world including; Havnø, Denmark (2009-2011), Satrup LA 2, Germany (2010-2011, 2016), Sise, Latvia (2012), The Farasan Islands, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2009), Flixton Island Site 2, UK (2012-2014), Hoppen Hall, UK (2007), Star Carr, UK (2008, 2010, 2013-2015) and Visborg, Denmark (2017).



2017-2020: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow (£245,208.00)
2017: National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration Grant ($21,262)


Selected publications

Robson, H. K., Little, A., Jones, A. K. G., Blockley, S., Candy, I., Matthews, I., Palmer, A., Schreve, D., Tong, E., Pomstra, D., Fletcher, L., Hausmann, N., Taylor, B., Conneller, C. and Milner, N. (2018). Scales of analysis: evidence of fish and fish processing at Star Carr. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 17, 895-903, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.02.009.

Needham, A., Croft, S., Kröger, R., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. C. A., Taylor, B., Gray Jones, A. and Conneller, C. (2018). The application of micro-Raman for the analysis of ochre artefacts from Mesolithic palaeo-lake Flixton. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 17, 650-656, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.12.002.

Hausmann, N., Siozos, P., Kokkinaki, O., Lemonis, A., Colonese, A. C., Robson, H. K. and Anglos, D. (2017). Elemental mapping of Mg/Ca ratios in marine mollusc shells using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 32, 1467-1472, DOI: 10.1039/x0xx00000x.

Robson, H. K. (2016). New ichthyoarchaeological data from the Mesolithic lakeshore settlement site of Friesack IV. In Benecke, N., Gramsch, B. and Jahns, S. (Eds.). Subsistenz und Umwelt der Feuchtbodenstation Friesack 4 im Havelland. Ergebnisse der naturwissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen. Arbeitsberichte zur Bodendenkmalpflege in Brandenburg, 29, 160-177.

Broushaki, F., Thomas, M. G., Link, V., López, S., van Dorp, L., Kirsanow, K., Hofmanová, Z., Diekmann, Y., Cassidy, L. M., Díez-del-Molino, D., Kousathanas, A., Sell, C., Robson, H. K., Martiniano, R., Blöcher, J., Scheu, A., Kreutzer, S., Bollongino, R., Bobo, D., Davudi, H., Munoz, O., Currat, M., Abdi, K., Biglari, F., Craig, O. E., Bradley, D. G., Shennan, S., Veeramah, K., Mashkour, M., Wegmann, D., Hellenthal, G. and Burger, J. (2016). Early Neolithic genomes from the eastern Fertile Crescent. Science, 353, 499-503, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7943.

Milner, N., Bamforth, M., Beale, G., Carty, J. C., Chatzipanagis, K., Croft, S., Conneller, C., Elliot, B., Fitton, L. C., Knight, B., Kroger, R., Little, A., Needham, A., Robson, H. K., Rowley, C. C. A. and Taylor, B. (2016). A unique engraved shale pendant from the site of Star Carr: the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain. Internet Archaeology, 40, DOI: 10.11141/ia.40.8.

Gron, K. and Robson, H. K. (2016). The Ertebølle Zooarchaeological Dataset from Southern Scandinavia. Open Quaternary, 2(1), 1-15, DOI: 10.5334/oq.15.

Robson, H. K., Andersen, S. H., Clarke, L., Craig, O., Gron, K. J., Jones, A. K. G., Karsten, P., Milner, N., Douglas Price, N., Ritchie, K., Zabilska-Kunek, M. and Heron, C. (2016). Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in freshwater, brackish and marine fish bone collagen from Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in central and northern Europe. Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology, 21(2), 105-118, DOI: 10.1179/1749631415Y.0000000014.

Gron, K., Andersen, S. H. and Robson, H. K. (2015). Bone fragmentation as a tool for quantification and identification of taphonomic processes and their effects: the case study from Havnø, a stratified Danish “Køkkenmødding.” In Bicho, N., Detry, C., Price, T. D. and Cunha, E. (Eds.). Muge 150th: The 150th Anniversary of the Discovery of Mesolithic Shellmiddens-Volume 2. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 189-206.

Zabilska-Kunek, M., Makowiecki, D. and Robson, H. K. (2015). New archaeoichthyological data from the settlement at Dąbki. In Kabaciński, J., Hartz, S., Raemaekers, D. C. M. and Terberger, T. (Eds.) The Dąbki Site in Pomerania and the Neolithisation of the North European Lowlands (c. 5000–3000 calBC). Archäologie und Geschichte im Ostseeraum, Band 8. Rahden/Westfälische: Leidorf, 87-112.

Colonese, A. C., Farrell, T., Lucquin, A., Firth, D., Charlton, S., Robson, H. K., Alexander, M. and Craig, O. E. (2015). Archaeological bone lipids as palaeodietary markers. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29, 611-618, DOI: 10.1002/rcm.7144.

Robson, H., Andersen, S. H., Craig, O. and Ritchie, K. (2013). Eel fishing in the Late Mesolithic and the Early Neolithic: a preliminary report from the stratified kitchen midden at Havnø, Denmark. Archaeofauna, 22, 167-178.

Robson, H., Andersen, S. H., Craig, O., Fischer, A., Glykou, K., Hartz, S., Lübke, H., Schmölcke, U. and Heron, C. (2012). Carbon and nitrogen isotope signals in eel bone collagen from Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in northern Europe. Journal of Archaeological Science, 39(7), 2003-2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2012.01.033.


Contact details

Dr Harry K. Robson
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
University of York
BioArCh, Environment Building
Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD

Tel: (44) 1904 328282