Dr Robin Bendrey (PhD, BA (Hons))

Senior Lecturer, Director of Research; Archaeology


I have an undergraduate degree in Archaeology from Newcastle University (1996). I worked as a freelance zooarchaeologist in south-east England before undertaking a PhD investigating the origins and impact of domestic horses in prehistoric Britain (University of Southampton 2007; undertaken at the University of Winchester). I have since expanded my research in prehistoric archaeology across continental Europe, Central Asia and the Near East through three subsequent post-doctoral positions. These include two years (2008-9) as a CNRS postdoctoral researcher at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, studying territorial and mobility patterns of first millennium BC nomadic cultures of western Mongolia and southern Siberia. I subsequently spent a year (2010) on the ANR-funded OBRESOC project in the same institution researching the farming systems of the Early Neolithic European Linearbandkeramik Culture, before taking up a four-year postdoctoral position (2011-14) with the Central Zagros Archaeological Project at the University of Reading investigating the origins of farming in the eastern Fertile Crescent. I joined the School in 2016 as Lecturer in Archaeology.

External appointments

  • Editorial Board member, Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice
  • Editorial Board member, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
  • Executive Committee Member, Association for Environmental Archaeology


  • Member of the Prehistoric Society
  • Member of the International Council for Archaeozoology
  • Member of the Association for Environmental Archaeology
  • Member of the British Institute of Persian Studies

Member of the Irish Isotopes Research Group

Useful Links

Google Scholar



Central Zagros Archaeological Project

Undergraduate teaching

  • Archaeology 1A [ARCA 08004] (Contributor)
  • Archaeology 1B [ARCA08005] (Contributor)
  • Archaeology 2A: Scotland before History [ARCA08013) (Contributor)
  • Archaeology 2B: Archaeology in Action [ARCA08012] (Convenor)
  • Archaeology in Practice [ARCA10065] (Convener)

Postgraduate teaching

Practical Osteology [PGHC11232] (Contributor)

Research summary


  • Asia 
  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Near East


  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Bioarchaeology & Human Origins
  • Medicine, Science & Technology
  • Migration
  • Society


  • Prehistory
  • Early Historic
  • Antiquity

Employing specialisms in zooarchaeology and stable isotope geochemistry, my research interests focus on the origins, development and impact of animal husbandry and use in prehistoric Eurasia. I am particularly interested in the evolution of human-animal-environment relationships, and how perspectives from the past can have modern-world relevance and resonance. Specific research interests include: 

  • Prehistoric Eurasia (particularly Near East, Central Asia, Europe)
  • Early Farming
  • Evolution of Human-Animal Relationships
  • Animal Domestication
  • Neolithisation
  • Archaeology of Mobility
  • Zoonoses and Disease Ecology
  • Pastoral Nomadism
  • Zooarchaeology
  • Animal Palaeopathology
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry
  • Ethnoarchaeology 

Current research activities

  • origins of animal husbandry in the eastern Fertile Crescent
  • territorial and mobility patterns of first millennium BC Central Asian pastoral nomads
  • origins and impact of domestic horses in Europe

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Robin Bendrey.


Romaniuk, A., Troalen, L., Bendrey, R., Herman, J., Owen, O. and Smith, C. (2023) Pests or prey? Micromammal species within an ancient anthropic environment at the Norse settlement site of Tuquoy (Westray, Orkney). Royal Society Open Science, 10(4), pp. 1-21DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.221462

Perruchini, E., Glatz, C., Heimvik, S., Bendrey, R., Hald, M., Del Bravo, F., Sameen, S. and Toney, J. (2023) Revealing invisible stews: New results of organic residue analyses of beveled rim bowls from the late Chalcolithic site of Shakhi Kora, Kurdistan region of Iraq. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 48, pp. 1-10DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2022.103730

Librado, P., Khan, N., Fages, A., Kusliy, M., Suchan, T., Tonasso-Calvière, L., Schiavinato, S., Alioglu, D., Fromentier, A., Perdereau, A., Aury, J., Gaunitz, C., Chauvey, L., Seguin-Orlando, A., Der Sarkissian, C., Southon, J., Shapiro, B., Tishkin, A., Kovalev, A., Alquraishi, S., Alfarhan, A., Al-Rasheid, K., Seregély, T., Klassen, L., Iversen, R., Bignon-Lau, O., Bodu, P., Olive, M., Castel, J., Boudadi-Maligne, M., Alvarez, N., Germonpré, M., Moskal-del Hoyo, M., Wilczyński, J., Pospuła, S., Lasota-Kuś, A., Tunia, K., Nowak, M., Rannamäe, E., Saarma, U., Boeskorov, G., Lōugas, L., Kyselý, R., Peške, L., Bălășescu, A., Dumitrașcu, V., Dobrescu, R., Gerber, D., Kiss, V., Szécsényi-Nagy, A., Mende, B., Gallina, Z., Somogyi, K., Kulcsár, G., Gál, E., Bendrey, R., Allentoft, M., Sirbu, G., Dergachev, V., Shephard, H., Tomadini, N., Grouard, S., Kasparov, A., Basilyan, A., Anisimov, M., Nikolskiy, P., Pavlova, E., Pitulko, V., Brem, G., Wallner, B., Schwall, C., Keller, M., Kitagawa, K., Bessudnov, A., Bessudnov, A., Taylor, W., Magail, J., Gantulga, J., Bayarsaikhan, J., Erdenebaatar, D., Tabaldiev, K., Mijiddorj, E., Boldgiv, B., Tsagaan, T., Pruvost, M., Olsen, S., Makarewicz, C., Valenzuela Lamas, S., Albizuri Canadell, S., Nieto Espinet, A., Iborra, M., Lira Garrido, J., Rodríguez González, E., Celestino, S., Olària, C., Arsuaga, J., Kotova, N., Pryor, A., Crabtree, P., Zhumatayev, R., Toleubaev, A., Morgunova, N., Kuznetsova, T., Lordkipanize, D., Marzullo, M., Prato, O., Bagnasco Gianni, G., Tecchiati, U., Clavel, B., Lepetz, S., Davoudi, H., Mashkour, M., Berezina, N., Stockhammer, P., Krause, J., Haak, W., Morales-Muñiz, A., Benecke, N., Hofreiter, M., Ludwig, A., Graphodatsky, A., Peters, J., Kiryushin, K., Iderkhangai, T., Bokovenko, N., Vasiliev, S., Seregin, N., Chugunov, K., Plasteeva, N., Baryshnikov, G., Petrova, E., Sablin, M., Ananyevskaya, E., Logvin, A., Shevnina, I., Logvin, V., Kalieva, S., Loman, V., Kukushkin, I., Merz, I., Merz, V., Sakenov, S., Varfolomeyev, V., Usmanova, E., Zaibert, V., Arbuckle, B., Belinskiy, A., Kalmykov, A., Reinhold, S., Hansen, S., Yudin, A., Vybornov, A., Epimakhov, A., Berezina, N., Roslyakova, N., Kosintsev, P., Kuznetsov, P., Anthony, D., Kroonen, G., Kristiansen, K., Wincker, P., Outram, A. and Orlando, L. (2021) The origins and spread of domestic horses from the Western Eurasian steppes. NatureDOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04018-9

Pasicka, E., Nowakowski, D., Bendrey, R. and Melnyk, O. (2021) A model for dental age verification using ultrastructural imaging for modern and fossil representatives of the Rhinocerotidae family. Animals, 11(3)DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030910

Leroy , S., Amini, A., Gregg, M., Marinova, E., Bendrey, R., Zha, Y., Naderi Beni, A. and Fazeli Nashli, H. (2019) Human responses to environmental change on the southern coastal plain of the Caspian Sea during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. Quaternary Science Reviews, 218, pp. 343-364DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.038

Verdugo, M., Mullin, V., Scheu, A., Mattiangeli, V., Daly, K., Maisano Delser, P., Hare, A., Burger, J., Collins, M., Kehati, R., Hesse, P., Fulton, D., Sauer, E., Mohaseb, F., Davoudi, H., Khazaeli, R., Lhuillier, J., Rapin, C., Ebrahimi, S., Khasanov, M., Vahidi, S., MacHugh, D., Ertuğrul, O., Koukouli-Chrysanthaki, C., Sampson, A., Kazantzis, G., Kontopoulos, I., Bulatovic, J., Stojanović, I., Mikdad, A., Benecke, N., Linstädter, J., Sablin, M., Bendrey, R., Gourichon, L., Arbuckle, B., Mashkour, M., Orton, D., Horwitz, L., Teasdale, M. and Bradley, D. (2019) Ancient cattle genomics, origins, and rapid turnover in the Fertile Crescent. Science, 365(6449)DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aav1002

Glatz, C., Casana, J., Bendrey, R., Baysal, E., Calderbank, D., Chelazzi, F., Del Bravo, F., Erskine, N., Hald, M., Laugier, E., Jensen, E. and Perruchini, E. (2019) Babylonian encounters in the Upper Diyala River Valley: Contextualizing the results of regional survey and the 2016–2017 excavations at Khani Masi. American Journal of Archaeology, 123(3), pp. 439-471DOI: https://doi.org/10.3764/aja.123.3.0439

Leonardi, M., Boschin , F., Giampoudakis , K., Beyer, R., Krapp, M., Bendrey, R., Sommer, R., Boscato, P., Manica, A., Nogues-Bravo , D. and Orlando, L. (2018) Late Quaternary horses in Eurasia in the face of climate and vegetation change. Science Advances, 4(7), pp. 1-11DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aar5589

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(2)DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160943

Bendrey, R., Vella, D., Zazzo, A., Balasse, M. and Lepetz, S. (2015) Exponentially decreasing tooth growth rate in horse teeth: Implications for isotopic analyses. Archaeometry, 57(6), pp. 1104-1124DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/arcm.12151

Bendrey, R., Richardson, A., Elliott, S. and Whitlam, J. (2015) Environmental archaeologies of Neolithisation: Old World case studies. Environmental Archaeology, 20(3), pp. 221-224DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/1749631415Y.0000000020

Elliott, S., Bendrey, R., Whitlam, J., Aziz, K. and Evans, J. (2015) Preliminary ethnoarchaeological research on modern animal husbandry in Bestansur, Iraqi Kurdistan: Integrating animal, plant and environmental data. Environmental Archaeology, 20(3), pp. 283-303DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000025

Bendrey, R. (2014) Care in the community?: Interpretations of a fractured goat bone from Neolithic Jarmo, Iraq. International Journal of Paleopathology, 7, pp. 33-37DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.06.003

Saqalli, M., Salavert, A., Bréhard, S., Bendrey, R., Vigne, J. and Tresset, A. (2014) Revisiting and modelling the woodland farming system of the early Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture (LBK), 5600–4900 b.c. Vegetation history and archaeobotany, 23(1), pp. 37-50DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00334-014-0436-4

Bendrey, R. (2014) Population genetics, biogeography, and domestic horse origins and diffusions. Journal of biogeography, 41(8), pp. 1441-1442DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12367

Bendrey, R., Thorpe, N., Outram, A. and van Wijngaarden-Bakker, L. (2013) The origins of domestic horses in north-west Europe: New direct dates on the horses of Newgrange, Ireland. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 79, pp. 91-103DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/ppr.2013.3

Bendrey, R., Whitlam, J. and Elliott, S. (2013) Ethnoarchaeological research in Iraqi Kurdistan. Association for Environmental Archaeology Newsletter, pp. 3-4

Bendrey, R. (2013) A new method to distinguish the evidence of horse bit wear from horse bones in the archaeological record. Cultural Relics in Southern China, 2012/4, pp. 139-145

Bendrey, R. (2013) Harris, DR: Origins of Agriculture in Western Central Asia: An Environmental-Archaeological Study. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, 3(1), pp. 1-6DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/2041-7136-3-9

Zazzo, A., Bendrey, R., Vella, D., Moloney, A., Monahan, F. and Schmidt, O. (2012) A refined sampling strategy for intra-tooth stable isotope analysis of mammalian enamel. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 84, pp. 1-13DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2012.01.012

Bendrey, R. (2011) Some like it hot: Environmental determinism and the pastoral economies of the later prehistoric Eurasian steppe. Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice, 1(1)DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/2041-7136-1-8

Bendrey, R. (2011) Identification of metal residues associated with bit-use on prehistoric horse teeth by scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(11), pp. 2989-2994DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2011.06.016

Bendrey, R., Cassidy, J., Bokovenko, N., Lepetz, S. and Zaitseva, G. (2011) A possible case of 'poll-evil' in an early Scythian horse skull from Arzhan 1, Tuva Republic, Central Asia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 21(1), pp. 111-118DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.1099

Outram, A., Stear, N., Bendrey, R., Olsen, S., Kasparov, A., Zaibert, V., Thorpe, N. and Evershed, R. (2009) The earliest horse harnessing and milking. Science, 323(5919), pp. 1332-1335DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1168594

Bendrey, R., Hayes, T. and Palmer, M. (2009) Patterns of Iron Age horse supply: An analysis of strontium isotope ratios in teeth. Archaeometry, 51(1), pp. 140-150DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4754.2008.00419.x

Bendrey, R. (2008) An analysis of factors affecting the development of an equid cranial enthesopathy. Veterinarija ir Zootechnika, 41(63), pp. 25-31

Bendrey, R., Taylor, G., Bouwman, A. and Cassidy, J. (2008) Suspected bacterial disease in two archaeological horse skeletons from southern England: Palaeopathological and biomolecular studies. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(6), pp. 1581-1590DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2007.11.002

Bendrey, R. (2007) Work- and age-related changes in an Iron Age horse skeleton from Danebury hillfort, Hampshire. Archaeofauna, 16, pp. 97-108

Bendrey, R. (2007) Ossification of the interosseous ligaments between the metapodials in horses: A new recording methodology and preliminary study. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 17(2), pp. 207-213DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.875

Bendrey, R. (2007) New methods for the identification of evidence for bitting on horse remains from archaeological sites. Journal of Archaeological Science, 34(7), pp. 1036-1050DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.09.010

Divers, D., Jarrett, C., Philpotts, C., Sabel, K., Goodburn, D., Marsden, P., Bendrey, R., Walton-Rogers, P., Riddler, I., Armitage, P., Moore, P., Crawshaw, A. and Gaimster, D. (2004) Excavations at Deptford on the site of the East India Company dockyards and the Trinity House almshouses, London. Post-Medieval Archaeology, 38(1), pp. 17-132DOI: https://doi.org/10.1179/pma.2004.002

Sabin, R., Bendrey, R. and Riddler, I. (1999) Twelfth-century porpoise remains from Dover and Canterbury. Archaeological journal, 156(1), pp. 363-370DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00665983.1999.11078911


Bendrey, R. and Oakes, R. (forthcoming) On humanity and equids: Ecologies, trajectories, and relationships. In: Prins, H. and Gordon, I. (eds.) The Equids: A Suite of Splendid Species. New York: Springer

Bendrey, R. (2020) Camels in Arabia: Origins and early evidence. In: Alexander, D. (ed.) The Camel Through The Ages.Riyadh: King Abdulaziz Public Library, pp. 13-26

Bendrey, R., Van Neer, W., Bailon, S., Rofes, J., Herman , J., Morlin, M. and Moore, T. (2020) Animal remains and human-animal-environment relationships at Early Neolithic Bestansur and Shimshara. In: Matthews, R., Matthews, W., Raheem, K. and Richardson, A. (eds.) The Early Neolithic of the Eastern Fertile Crescent: Excavations at Bestansur and Shimshara, Iraqi Kurdistan. Oxbow Books, pp. 311-352

Elliott, S., Bendrey, R., Whitlam, J. and Aziz, K. (2020) Ethnoarchaeological research in Bestansur: insights into vegetation, land-use, animals and animal dung. In: Matthews, R., Matthews, W., Raheem, K. and Richardson, A. (eds.) The Early Neolithic of the Eastern Fertile Crescent: Excavations at Bestansur and Shimshara, Iraqi Kurdistan.Oxbow Books, pp. 91-106

Bendrey, R. (2019) Animal bone. In:  Chalk Hill: Neolithic and Bronze Age discoveries at Ramsgate, Kent. Sidestone Press, pp. 116-131

Bendrey, R. (2015) The mammal bone. In: Hicks, A. (ed.) Medieval Town and Augustinian Friary: Settlement c 1325–1700: Canterbury Whitefriars Excavations 1999–2004. Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd, pp. 339-360

Bendrey, R. (2014) Animal bone [from Eastling]. In: Bennett, P., Parfitt, K. and Rady, J. (eds.) Prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon discoveries on the East Kent Chalklands: Investigations along the Whitfield-Eastry by-pass 1991-1996.Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd, pp. 63-69

Bendrey, R. (2014) Animal bone [from Whitfield]. In: Bennett, P., Parfitt, K. and Rady, J. (eds.) Prehistoric and Anglo-Saxon discoveries on the East Kent Chalklands: Investigations along the Whitfield-Eastry by-pass 1991-1996.Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd, pp. 159-172

Bendrey, R., Cole, G. and Lelek Tvetmarken, C. (2013) Zooarchaeology: Preliminary assessment of the animal bones. In: Matthews, R., Matthews, W. and Mohammadifar, Y. (eds.) The Earliest Neolithic of Iran: 2008 Excavations at Sheikh-e Abad and Jani: Central Zagros Archaeological Project. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 147-158

Conference contribution

Bendrey, R., Lepetz, S., Zazzo, A., Balasse, M., Turbat, T., Giscard, P., Vella, D., Zaitseva, G., Chugunov, K., Ughetto, J., Debue, K. and Vigne, J. (2017) Nomads, horses and mobility: An assessment of geographic origins of Iron Age horses found at Tsengel Khairkhan and Baga Turgen Gol (Mongolian Altai) based on oxygen isotope compositions of tooth enamel. In:  Archaeology of the Near East 9. In honour of Hans-Peter Uerpmann and Francois Poplin. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 262-272

Bendrey, R., Whitlam, J., Elliott, S., Rauf Aziz, K., Matthews, R. and Matthews, W. (2016) ‘Seasonal rhythms’ of a rural Kurdish village: Ethnozooarchaeological research in Bestansur. In:  People with Animals: Perspectives and Studies in Ethnozooarchaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books, pp. 42-56

Bocquet-Appel, J., Dubouloz, J., Moussa, R., Berger, J., Tresset, A., Ortu, E., Vigne, J., Bendrey, R., Bréhard, S., Schwartz, D., Salavert, A., Sanchez-Goñi , M., Ertlen, D., Gauvry, Y., Davtian , G., Vander Linden , M., Lenneis, E., Noiret, L., Guillaumont, A. and O’Connor, M. (2014) Multi-agent modelling of the trajectory of the LBK Neolithic: A study in progress. In:  Early Farmers: The View from Archaeology and Science: Proceedings of the British Academy, 198.Oxofrd: Oxford University Press, pp. 53-69