Bioarchaeology


Ancient biological heritage – human, animal and plant remains from archaeological sites – offer valuable information highly relevant to modern society. Although these ancient biosystems can provide insight into a range of phenomena relevant for the modern populations (e.g. fertility, foetal development, infection diseases, the relationship between human diet and health), they are usually used only to reconstruct certain aspects of the past and largely underused outside the field of archaeology.

The aim of the bioarchaeology group is to use this remarkable biological heritage in order to understand the phenomena relevant for the modern populations and to investigate biological and environmental adaptations of humans, animals, and plants through time.

The Bioarchaeology group consists of specialists in physical anthropology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology and palaeodemography. Our work focuses on ancient organic remains preserved in archaeological layers. Besides the use of conventional archaeological methods, we apply new, state-of-the-art analytical techniques such as biomolecular and biochemical analysis (study of lipids, proteins, stable isotopes, trace elements).

Our group, working on ERC BIRTH project, is creating an integrative framework for understanding biological and cultural mechanisms which affected the prehistoric fertility, and investigating skeletal, nutritional, and cultural effects on fertility rates between 10000-5000 BC in the Central Balkans. As a part of ANTARES project our group focuses on prehistoric agriculture, where domestication of plants and animals brought for the first time areas designated for specific activities such as plant cultivation and agriculture, or grazing and pasturing. We investigate the appearance and development of prehistoric farming, land-use and its immediate, as well as long-term, effect on humans, plants, landscape, and land management.