School of History, Classics & Archaeology

One Health Archaeology Research Group

The One Health Archaeology Research Group provides a forum to support interdisciplinary approaches for the study of past human, animal and environmental health and the contribution of these long-term records to current global health challenges.

One Health Archaeology Research Group

The One Health approach explicitly acknowledges that the wellbeing of humans, animals and environments are linked. In the past, as in the present, health experiences were shaped by complex social, ecological and biological interactions. Archaeology is uniquely placed to deliver long-term integrated and contextualised biological and cultural records. These can provide powerful insights into the complexity of these past interactions. In doing so, archaeology also has the potential to offer long view perspectives to current global health challenges.

This research group is concerned with the investigation of the diverse relationships between humans, animals and their environments that shaped past health in its broadest sense. Our work combines evidence and proxies generated through different disciplinary approaches to understand the influences, contexts and outcomes of these interactions. It is represented by a range of ongoing fieldwork and laboratory projects, combining contextual, osteological, biomolecular, palaeodietary, and modelling approaches. Example projects include:

  • The Bioarchaeology of the Great Irish Famine: The Kilkenny Union Workhouse Mass Burials – Jonny Geber
  • Population changes in health, diet and demography in the prehistoric Danube Basin – Kath McSweeney
  • Never Done: A bioarchaeological study of women’s work, task, and occupation in medieval Scotland (PhD project) – Lauren Ide
  • Cotton Town Blues - investigating inequality through stable isotope analysis, in a 19th century cemetery population of Blackburn, Lancashire (PhD project) – Andy Barlow
  • An investigation of health and disease in Mesambria, Bulgaria through physiological stress markers and dietary reconstruction (PhD project) – Monique De Pace
  • A comparative analysis of the evolution of stable isotope dietary data and oral health pathologies through the historic period in two contrasting populations: Scotland and Ibiza, Spain (PhD project) – Laura-Kate Girdwood
  • Phenotypic adaptation of farm animals to new environments following domestication – Robin Bendrey

This group provides an interdisciplinary forum for research supported by a seminar series, workshops, excellent laboratory facilities, and ongoing rich collaborations with research groups and organisations, such as:

  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre (SUERC)
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh

Example publications

  • Bonsall C, Cook G, Pickard C, McSweeney K, Sayle K, Bartosiewicz L, Radovanović I, Higham T, Soficaru A and Boroneanţ A 2015, Food for thought: Re-assessing Mesolithic diets in the Iron Gates. Radiocarbon 57 (4): 689-699. DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18440
  • Fournié G, Pfeiffer D and Bendrey R 2017, Early animal farming and zoonotic disease dynamics: Modelling brucellosis transmission in Neolithic goat populations. Royal Society Open Science 4, 160943. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160943
  • Geber J 2015, Victims of Ireland’s Great Famine: The Bioarchaeology of Mass Burials at Kilkenny Union Workhouse. University Press of Florida
  • Pickard C, Schoop U, Bartosiewicz L, Gillis R, and Sayle K L 2016, Animal Keeping in Chalcolithic north-central Anatolia: what can stable isotope analysis add? Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9: 1349-1362. doi:10.1007/s12520-016-0386-0

Seminar series

We organnise a seminar series featuring both internal and external speakers.

Research Group Conveners

Robin Bendrey

Linda Fibiger

Catriona Pickard