Staff Profile


Dr Emilie Sibbesson

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Humanities

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 921670

Profile summary

I’m an archaeologist with research interests in food and agricultural history, the history of science, and material culture studies. Specifically:

  • Food technology, including artefact design and storage and processing techniques
  • Prehistoric ceramics
  • Human-plant interaction
  • The origins of agriculture, and historiographies thereof
  • 19th and early 20th century prehistoric and museum archaeology
  • Research and pedagogic uses of museum collections

I have a BA in Archaeology from Newcastle University and an MA and PhD from the University of Southampton. I have worked on excavations in the Channel Islands, Sussex, the Stonehenge landscape, Northumberland, and the Outer Hebrides.

Research and knowledge exchange


Prehistoric food technology

This research explores food technologies of the British Mesolithic and Neolithic, including the establishment of ceramic technology from a culinary perspective, the roles of potters and craftspeople in the food process, culinary uses of organic artefacts, and pit cooking and storage practices. For this work I combine study of museum collections, scientific techniques such as organic residue analysis, and food historical and anthropological approaches.

Telling Time: Oscar Montelius and Britain

This project explores the exchange of ideas between 19th century Swedish archaeologist Oscar Montelius and his contemporaries in Britain, drawing primarily on archival material in Stockholm. The project has received funding from the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Knowledge Exchange

The Stone Age for Key Stage 2

I've been involved in the development of a teaching resource on the Stone Age for primary school. You can find out more and access the material here:

Teaching and subject expertise

I convene undergraduate modules on prehistoric Europe and archaeological theory, and I contribute to teaching of artefact analysis, heritage law,  and research skills.

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate research in food history and archaeology, material culture studies, and the history of archaeology.

External activities

Conference organisation

2016 - Prehistoric pottery: Time for a change? (with Alistair Barclay) Annual Meeting of the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury

2014 - Neolithic Bodies (with Penny Bickle) Annual Meeting of the Neolithic Studies Group, British Museum, London

2012 - Insight from Innovation: New Light on Archaeological Ceramics (with Ben Jervis, Sarah Coxon and Pina Franco), University of Southampton

Conference papers and invited talks

2017 - Bowl food: A culinary view of the establishment of pottery in Early Neolithic Britain. European Association of Archaeologists, Maastricht, the Netherlands

2017 - Cooking pots and cooking potters in the Late Stone Age of northwest Europe. European Institute for the History and Culture of Food (IEHCA), University of Tours, France

2016 - What's cooking in the Neolithic? Annual Meeting of the Neolithic Studies Group: Food and Farming in the Neolithic, British Museum, UK

2016 - The lost revolution: Current archaeological thinking on the origins of agriculture. Dublin Gastronomy Symposium: Food and Revolution, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland

2015 - A big ask? Sampling complex ceramic assemblages for scientific analysis. Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, University of Glasgow, UK

2014 - Sherd science: A ceramic-friendly approach to residue analysis. Annual Meeting of the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group, University of Sheffield, UK

2013 – Transformations in cookery and clay: the first thousand years of pottery in prehistoric Oxfordshire. Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery, University of Oxford, UK

2013 – The relentless porridge: on the interpretive potential of Neolithic cookery. Later Prehistory of Atlantic Europe, University of Southampton, UK

2012 – Food and the 4th millennium BC: evidence from ceramic residues. Material Culture Series, Newcastle University, UK

2011 – Is agriculture the root of all evil? An archaeological perspective. Food Studies Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Nevada, US

2011 – Dietary dichotomies and new data. The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe: The Impact of New Scientific Techniques, University of Bradford, UK 

2009 - Ceramic matters: the pottery from Early Neolithic Kilverstone, Norfolk. Neolithic Studies Group Annual Meeting, British Museum, London UK

The Prehistoric Society
Neolithic Studies Group
Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group (Secretary)
World Archaeological Congress

Publications and research outputs

2018. Neolithic Bodies. (edited with P. Bickle) Oxbow Books

2018. Consuming bodies: Bowls, bones, food and fire in Early Neolithic Britain. In P. Bickle and E. Sibbesson (eds) Neolithic Bodies. Oxbow Books

2016. Insight from Innovation: New Light on Archaeological Ceramics. Papers in Honour of Professor David Peacock. (edited with B. Jervis and S. Coxon) Highfield Press

2015. Modern techniques of palaeodietary reconstruction. In K. Albala (ed.) Food Issues: An Encyclopedia. SAGE Reference

2015. Spread of food technology and ideas about food. In K.B. Metheny and M. Beaudry (eds.) Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield

2014. Transformations in cookery and clay: the first thousand years of pottery in prehistoric Oxfordshire. In M. McWilliams (ed.) Food & Material Culture. Proceedings of the 2013 Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery. Prospect Books

2013. (with A.M. Jones) Archaeological complexity: Materials, multiplicity and the transitions to agriculture in Britain. In B. Alberti, A.M. Jones, and J. Pollard (eds.) Archaeology After Interpretation: Returning Materials to Archaeological Theory. Left Coast Press

2013. Visitors at the trench edge: Archaeology and outreach at Historic Dilston, Northumberland, UK. In N. Carr & C. Walker (eds.) Tourism and Archaeology: Sustainable Meeting Grounds. Left Coast Press

2012. Social fabrics: People and pottery at Early Neolithic Kilverstone, Norfolk. In H. Anderson-Whymark & J. Thomas (eds.) Regional Perspectives on Neolithic Pit Deposition: Beyond the Mundane. Oxbow Books


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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:33:00