Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque

Image of Melanie Salque

Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow


I graduated in 2008 with an Engineer’s diploma in chemistry (diplôme d’ingénieur) from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille (France) and an MSci in Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry from Lille I university (France). During my studies, I have carried out three internships: (i) in 2006, at the Laboratory of Research in Conservation of the Swiss National Museum of Zurich (Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Marie Wörle; (ii) in 2007, at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Eberhard Lehmann and (iii) in 2008, at the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF, UMR 171) and Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC, UMR 7188) laboratories (Paris, France), under the supervision of Dr. Martine Regert.

I completed a PhD in Chemistry in 2012 at the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof. Richard P. Evershed FRS. My PhD was funded by the 7th EU framework Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (FP7-ITN-215362-2) and part of the LeCHE project (Lactase persistence and the Early Cultural History of Europe). My PhD project aimed at investigating the emergence of dairying practices in various areas of mainland early Neolithic Europe, by analysing lipid residues preserved in potsherds, with a focus on the northern Mediterranean area and the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture.

I then worked as a post-doctoral research associate (2013-2018) at the Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol in the NeoMilk project – the Milking Revolution in Temperate Neolithic Europe. The project was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018) accorded to Richard P. Evershed. I have been using lipid biomarker and stable isotope compositions of food residues from pottery containers to provide qualitative and quantitative assessments of the major animal products acquired and processed in pottery from prehistoric farming settlements in northern central mainland Europe.

I have been awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2018. 

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My main research has been focussing on the study of lipids preserved in archaeological artefacts, in order to reconstruct past exploitation of natural resources by ancient populations, using the molecular composition of extracts and compound-specific C isotope composition of fatty acids. I have been particularly interested in developing and validating new biomarker and compound-specific stable isotope proxies to investigate subsistence practices.

My Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship recognises the untapped potential of archaeological pottery vessels to serve as a novel proxy for palaeoprecipitation and explores the link between climate change and human responses in the past, and will be held in the Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, in collaboration with Professor Paul Valdes (climate modeller, BRIDGE, UoB), Professor Michael Lee (ruminant dietician, Bristol Veterinary School, UoB and North Wyke Farm Platform), Dr Marie Balasse (isotopic archaeozoologist, MNHN, Paris), Professor Arek Marciniak (archaeozoologist, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland) and Dr Olivier Nieuwenhuyse (Humboldt Fellow at the Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany).

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Peer-reviewed articles in international journals

16. Stojanovski, D., Roffet-Salque, M., Casanova, E., Knowles, T., Oosterbeek, L., Evershed, R. P., Cruz, A., Thissen, L. and Arzarello, M., 2020. Anta 1 de Val da Laje – the first direct view at diet, dairying practice and socio-economic aspects of pottery use in the final Neolithic of central Portugal. Quaternary International.

15. Cramp Lucy, J. E., Ethier, J., Urem-Kotsou, D., Bonsall, C., Borić, D., Boroneanţ, A., Evershed Richard, P., Perić, S., Roffet-Salque, M., Whelton H.L. and Ivanova, M., 2019. Regional diversity in subsistence among early farmers in Southeast Europe revealed by archaeological organic residues. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences  286(1894): 20182347.

14. Roffet-Salque, M., Marciniak, A., Valdes, P., Pawłowska, K., Pyzel, J., Czerniak, L., Kruger, M., Roberts, N. C., Pitter, S. & Evershed, R.P., 2018. Evidence for the impact of the 8.2-kyBP climate event on Near Eastern early farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115, 8705-8709.

13. Cappellini, E., Prohaska, A., Racimo, F., Welker, F., Pedersen, M. W., Allentoft, M. E., De Barros Damgaard, P., Gutenbrunner, P., Dunne, J., Hammann, S., Roffet-Salque, M., Ilardo, M., Moreno-Mayar, J. V., Wang, Y., Sikora, M., Vinner, L., Cox, J., Evershed, R. P. & Willerslev, E., 2018. Ancient biomolecules and evolutionary inference. Annual Review of Biochemistry 87, 1029-1060.

12.Whelton, H. L., Roffet-Salque, M., Kotsakis, K., Urem-Kotsou, D. and Evershed, R. P. online from 18/12/2017. Strong bias towards carcass product processing at Neolithic settlements in northern Greece revealed through absorbed lipid residues of archaeological pottery. Quaternary International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2017.12.018.

11. Roffet-Salque, M., Dunne, J., Altoft, D., Casanova, E., Cramp, L.J.E., Smyth, J., Whelton, H., Evershed, R.P., 2016. From the inside out: upscaling organic residue analyses of archaeological ceramics, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports  16, 627-640. doi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.04.005

10. Ethier, J., Bánffy, E., Vuković, J., Leshtakov, K., Bacvarov, K., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R. P. and Ivanova, M., 2017. Earliest expansion of animal husbandry beyond the Mediterranean zone in the sixth millennium BC. Scientific Reports 7(1): 7146.

9. Matlova, V., Roffet-Salque, M., Pavlu, I., Kyselka, J., Filip, V. and Evershed, R. P., 2017. Unravelling pottery use and animal management at the Neolithic site of Bylany (Czech Republic). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 14, 262-274.

8. Debono Spiteri, C.*, Gillis, R. E.*, Roffet-Salque, M.*, Castells Navarro, L., Guilaine, J., Muntoni, I. M., Saña Segui, M., Urem-Kotsou, D., Whelton, H. L., Craig, O. E., Vigne, J. D. and Evershed, R. P., 2016. Regional asynchronicity in dairy production and processing in early farming communities of the northern Mediterranean. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(48), 13594-13599. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1607810113

7. Roffet-Salque, M., Lee, M. R. F., Timpson, A. and Evershed, R. P., 2016. Impact of modern cattle feeding practices on milk fatty acid stable carbon isotope compositions emphasise the need for caution in selecting reference animal tissues and products for archaeological investigations, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. doi:10.1007/s12520-016-0357-5. 

6. Roffet-Salque, M., Regert, M., Evershed, R. P., Outram, A. K., Cramp, L. J. E., Decavallas, O., Dunne, J., Gerbault, P., Mileto, S., Mirabaud, S., Pääkkönen, M., Smyth, J., Šoberl, L., Whelton, H. L., and 51 other co-authors, 2015. Article summary: Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers, Nature, 534, 1-2.

5. Roffet-Salque, M., Regert, M., Evershed, R. P., Outram, A. K., Cramp, L. J. E., Decavallas, O., Dunne, J., Gerbault, P., Mileto, S., Mirabaud, S., Pääkkönen, M., Smyth, J., Šoberl, L., Whelton, H. L., Alday-Ruiz, A., Asplund, H., Bartkowiak, M., Bayer-Niemeier, E., Belhouchet, L., Bernardini, F., Budja, M., Cooney, G., Cubas, M., Danaher, E. M., Diniz, M., Domboróczki, L., Fabbri, C., González-Urquijo, J. E., Guilaine, J., Hachi, S., Hartwell, B. N., Hofmann, D., Hohle, I., Ibáñez, J. J., Karul, N., Kherbouche, F., Kiely, J., Kotsakis, K., Lueth, F., Mallory, J. P., Manen, C., Marciniak, A., Maurice-Chabard, B., Mc Gonigle, M. A., Mulazzani, S., Özdoğan, M., Perić, O. S., Perić, S. R., Petrasch, J., Pétrequin, A.-M., Pétrequin, P., Poensgen, U., Pollard, C. J., Poplin, F., Radi, G., Stadler, P., Stäuble, H., Tasić, N., Urem-Kotsou, D., Vuković, J. B., Walsh, F., Whittle, A., Wolfram, S., Zapata-Peña, L. and Zoughlami, J., 2015. Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers, Nature, 527, 226-230.

4. Nieuwenhuyse, O. P., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R. P., Akkermans, P. M. M. G. and Russell, A., 2015. Tracing pottery use and the emergence of secondary product exploitation through lipid residue analysis at Late Neolithic Tell Sabi Abyad (Syria), Journal of Archaeological Science, 64, 54-66. 

3. Gerbault, P., Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R.P., Thomas, M.G., 2013. How long have adult humans been consuming milk? IUBMB Life (Online only)

2. Salque, M., Bogucki, P. I., Pyzel, J., Sobkowiak-Tabaka, I., Grygiel, R., Szmyt, M. and Evershed, R. P., 2013. Earliest evidence for cheese making in the sixth millennium BC in northern Europe, Nature, 493, 522-525.

1. 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.

Peer-reviewed articles in conference proceedings

1. Salque, M., Radi, G., Fabbri, C., Tagliacozzo, A., Pino Uria, B., Wolfram, S., Stäuble, H., Hohle, I., Whittle, A., Hofmann, D., Pechtl, J., Schade-Lindig, S., Eisenhauer, U. and Evershed, R. P., 2012. New insights into the early Neolithic economy and management of animals in Southern and Central Europe revealed using lipid residue analyses of pottery vessels, Anthropozoologica, 47(2), 45-61.

Book Chapters

5. Roffet-Salque, M., Evershed, R.P. & Russell, A., Tracing Pottery Use through Lipid Residue Analysis. Relentlessly Plain: Seventh Millennium Ceramics at Tell Sabi Abyad, Syria. Nieuwenhuyse, O. P. (ed.). Oxbow, p. 354-363.   

4. Roffet-Salque, M., Banecki, B. and Evershed, R. P., 2017. Lipid residue analyses of Late Neolithic pottery vessels from the megalithic tomb in Kierzkowo. Megalityczny grobowiec kultury amfor kulistych z Kierzkowa. Milczący świadek kultu przodków z epoki kamienia / A Megalithic tomb of the Globular Amphora Culture from Kierzkowo in the Pałuki region - a silent witness of ancestor worship from the Stone Age. S. Nowaczyk, L. Pospieszny and I. Sobkowiak-Tabaka. Biskupin, Poland, Archaeological Museum in Biskupin.

3. Roffet-Salque, M., Gerbault, P. and Gillis, R. E., 2017. Une histoire de l’exploitation laitière : approches génétique, archéozoologique et biomoléculaire. Regards croisés: quand les sciences archéologiques rencontrent l'innovation. M. Balasse and P. Dillmann, Editions des archives contemporaines: 1-23.

2. Roffet-Salque, M. and Evershed, R. P., 2015. Shifting pottery use and animal management at Kopydłowo (Poland) traced through lipid residue analyses of pottery vessels.Kopydłowo, stanowisko 6. Osady neolityczne z pogranicza Kujaw i Wielkopolski. A. Marciniak, I. Sobkowiak-Tabaka, M. Bartkowiak and M. Lisowski, eds. Pękowice-Poznań, Wydawnictwo Profil-Archeo: 133-142.

1. Regert, M., Salque, M., Devièse, T. and Le Hô, A. S., 2015. Les résines végétales de type copal et encens : caractérisation, exploitation et circuits commerciaux, in Sharma. Un entrepôt de transit médiéval sur la côte du Hadramawt (Yémen, ca 980-1180), Rougeulle, A., ed, Archaeopress, 395-416.

Outreach Articles

4. Gerbault, P. and Roffet-Salque, M., 2017. Histoire de l’utilisation des laitages et de la persistance du gène de la lactase. Cahiers de nutrition et diététique, 52(S1): S19-S24. 

3. Roffet-Salque, M. & Evershed, R. P., 2014. Les débuts européens de la production laitière, Pour la Science, 438, 48-54

2. Salque, M., 2012. Was milk processed in these ceramic pots? Organic residue analyses of European prehistoric cooking vessels, in May contain traces of milk - Investigating the role of dairy farming and milk consumption in the European Neolithic, 127-141, LeCHE, ed., The University of York, York. 

1. Salque, M., 2010. Down the farm, 10,000 years ago - an archaeologist investigates dairying, Catalyst, December volume, 17-19.

* Contributed equally to this work. 

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