My name is Dr Emily Johnson, I research the ways humans ate their animals in Neolithic Europe. Welcome to my blog!
I specialise in zooarchaeology, which means I study animal bones to analyse human-animal interactions in the past. Animal bones can tell us about diet and subsistence strategies (i.e. hunters or farmers), husbandry practices, food security, material culture and a whole wealth of other aspects of past populations.
Since 2009 I’ve been based at the beautiful University of Exeter in the South West of England. Six years, a BA and an MSc later and I’ve just finished working on three more letters (PhD) as part of the NeoMilk project, a major inter-disciplinary project funded by an ERC Advanced Grant led by Professor Richard P. Evershed (School of Chemistry, Bristol). It explores the introduction and spread of cattle-based agriculture by early Neolithic farmers in Northern and Central Europe (6th millennium BC). I’m now employed by the NeoMilk project as a Postdoctoral Research Associate – basically researcher – working on the same project I undertook for my PhD.
For my part of the project I studied variation in diet, particularly in relation to dairying, by looking at the ways people butchered their animals. Were they intensively exploiting all carcass parts, or leaving some sources of nutrition untapped? To do this I’ve carried out original zooarchaeological analyses on key sites across Europe, which naturally led to a lot of interesting travel!
I regularly post about my research and my life as a PhD student on social media, complete with regular pictures, puns and hashtags galore. Recently I made a day in the life Youtube video. Feel free to follow me and get in touch!