Dr Julie Dunne

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

  • Office Number:  2N16, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Telephone: +44 (0)7811 281852
  • Email: julie.dunne@bristol.ac.uk
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MSci (Hons) in Archaeological Science, University of Bristol 2010

Winner of the Earth Sciences Hancock Special Prize for outstanding achievement 2010

PhD Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol 2014

My doctoral research focused on investigating diet and subsistence practices of prehistoric groups in the 'Green' Sahara of Holocene north Africa, using a combined archaeological, molecular and isotopic approach.

The research focussed firstly on the subsistence practices of Early Holocene semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers and then on the temporal and spatial extent of the exploitation of domesticates by mobile pastoralists in the Middle Holocene. The d13C and D13C values of preserved fatty acids extracted from archaeological ceramics, using a new reference database for modern animal fats, confirmed the exploitation of domesticates for their carcass and dairy products, beginning in the fifth millennium BC. The results also revealed that the animals giving rise to these fats subsisted on a wide range of different forages composed of C3 plants, varying combinations of C3 and C4, to diets comprising primarily C4 plants, suggesting that the ecosystems existing across the span of the early to middle Holocene in north Africa were extremely varied.

Furthermore, the remarkable preservation of diagnostic plant lipid biomarkers in organic residues from sites in the Libyan Sahara and at Kadero, Sudan, has enabled identification of the earliest processing of several different plant types in ceramic vessels. 

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I am currently engaged in writing the 'Guidelines to best practice in organic residue analysis' which will be an English Heritage publication. This is a collaborative project with the Universities of York and Bradford, several pottery specialists, museum conservators and other archaeological scientists.

I am also interested in the potential of δ13C values of lipids from ceramics to provide an environmental proxy, through vegetation driven signatures (C3 versus C4), which can then be used to determine spatiotemporal variations in vegetation and humidity, aiding investigation of ecosystems on both local and regional scales. Future research topics also include further investigation of the nature and extent of plant processing in Holocene north African vessels.

Other research interests include human-animal interactions, particularly those between domesticates such as cattle, sheep and goats and their human managers.

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4. Dunne, J. When the cows some home: a consideration of the sensorial engagement between pastoralists and their cattle. In: Coming to Senses: Topics in Sensorial Archaeology (ed.) J.R. Pellini (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing), In Press.

3. Dunne, J., Evershed, R.P., Cramp, L.J.E., Bruni, S., Biagetti, S. and di Lernia, S. (2013) The beginnings of Dairying as practised by Pastoralists in ‘Green’ Saharan Africa in the 5th Millennium BC. Documenta Praehistorica 40, 118-130

2. Dunne, J., Evershed, R.P., Salque, M., Cramp, L., Bruni, S., Ryan, K., Biagetti, S., and di Lernia, S. 2012. First dairying in green Saharan Africa in the fifth millennium BC. Nature, 486, 390-394

1. Dunne, J. 2012. The ‘Dead Man’s Penny’: A Biography of the First World War Bronze Memorial Plaque. In: Beyond the Dead Horizon: Studies in Modern Conflict Archaeology (ed.) Nicholas J Saunders (Oxford: Oxbow Books)

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Popular Articles

2. Nicosia, the last divided capital, 2014. Military History Monthly

1. The Dead Mans Penny, 2010. Military History Monthly 

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