Monday, 15 December 2008

Christmas Party

There are images of the Christmas party circulating...

ancient DNA? now we are cooking...

BioArCh team members have discovered that cooking may not be as bad as thought for old DNA. Claudio Ottoni of the University of Rome, lead a study which investigated early Medieval cattle bones from York discovered that the more cooked the bones were the better was the DNA preservation. See report in New Scientist or the full article in Naturwissenschaften (DOI: 10.1007/s00114-008-0478-5).

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Someone on campus finally shown to have brain

Someone on the new campus has finally been found with a brain... and BioArCh scientists are planning to analyse it. A team from the York Archaeological Trust unearthed the brain in an Iron Age skull. Ancient brain, scientists in white coats, old building, dark winter nights..... For full details see the BBC website.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

YPS Prize Presentations

David Harker and Ben Elliot have both been awarded Charles Wellbeloved prizes by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society for their outstanding undergraduate dissertations of 2008. Both David and Ben gave short presentations in which they outlined their work.

David's work titled Making thermal age accessible using web based applications, introduced a novel approach for predicting the preservation of biomolecules. Algorithms based on thermal models, obtained from published databases, were used to predict the preservation of DNA in particular. The predicted thermal age was found to closely correlate to published values from real samples. This web-based application is helpful in deciding whether specimens are suitable for further research. The DNA Recovery Rate Calculator (DRRC) can be accessed here.

Ben's presentation, Is there evidence for barbed point manufacturing at Star Carr?, revisited the material from this Mesolithic site, and focussed on the manufacture of barbed points made from antlers. He carried out experimental work to mimic the production process using authentic tools. The debitage produced was compared to the remains found at the site to try to determine whether Star Carr was indeed a production site for these barbed points.

Well done and congratulations to both!

Good Luck, Luisa!

Luisa returned home 3rd of December after finishing her six month Palaeo Fellowship at S-Block. She was investigating racemization and protein aging on Aβ-amyloid, which is responsible for Alzheimer's disease.
As we will miss her at the Christmas party, Luisa invited everyone for a drink at the Mason Arms. She will return to us in mid-January after her viva.

Luisa, good luck with the final hurdle and have a happy holiday!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Congratulations to Oliver & Cecile!

Congratulations to Oliver and Cecile on the birth of baby Luce Marie Craig!

Double Fellowship success

A double celebration, Both Enrico Cappellini and Caroline Solazzo have scored highly in the Marie Curie Fellowship competition. Enrico plans to travel to Copenhagen to work with Eske Willerslev and Tom Gilbert integrating proteomic and genomic approaches to study ancient seeds. Caroline will travel to New Zealand to work and study with AgResearch New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute. The team at the Lincoln Research Centre are arguably the world experts in wool proteomics. Both will maintain links with BioArCh, and the newly formed Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry.

BioArCh endorses Web 2.0 (again)

Another plug for BioArCh's use of Wiki sites appears in an article by Michelle Perry in Information World Review this week on the role that social applications will have on the future of research. Matthew, do you have shares in Google?

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Caroline awarded Newton Fellowship

Caroline Solazzo has been awarded a Newton International Fellowship to investigate the archaeology of the wool trade.  The intention of the scheme will select the very best early stage post-doctoral researchers from all over the world, and offer support for two years at UK research institutions. Caroline is currently working at the Smithsonian Institute and will be joining BioArCh has a Newton Fellow in the new year. 

Friday, 31 October 2008

Visit from the VU

BioArCh hosted a visit from the Institute for Geo- and Bioarchaeology to celebrate five years since its foundation in 2003. IGBA is a multidisciplinary research group applying analytical methods from the Earth and Life Sciences to archeological problems. Together with members of the Department of Archaeology the two groups hosted an afternoon seminar followed by a meal and drinks.  The next day IGBA members visited archaeological sites in York. 

BioArCh Wiki features in Computing magazine

BioArCh's use of Wiki based tools has lead to us featuring in, of all places, Computing magazine.

Read the article here 

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Karen takes up a new post as ICREA Research Professor

Karen has just taken up her post as a new ICREA Research Professorship in the Departament de Prehistòria at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona this month.

Karen will be setting up her starch research at UAB, but will remain working with BioArCh

Her new address is

Karen Hardy
ICREA Research Professor, Profesora de Investigación ICREA
Departament de Prehistòria
Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres.
Campus UAB
08193 Bellaterra.
Telf.: 00 34 93 581 4333
mob. 00 44 7809 766 164
Fax. : 00 34 93 581 1140

Friday, 17 October 2008

ISBA3 in Science

Hannah Koon's work was one of the highlights of report in this weeks Science (17 October 2008), in a report by John Travis on the 3rd International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology conference which was hosted by BioArCh this year in York. If you want to know more please see below.

ARCHAEOLOGY: Old Bones Reveal New Signs of Scurvy John Travis
Science 17 October 2008: 368-369.
Summary: At the Third International Symposium on Biomolecular Archaeology, researchers described a new way to detect more subtle signs of scurvy in ancient bones. Full Text »

Monday, 13 October 2008

Beatrice wins again and again

Beatrice's oral presentation at BOGS08 (British Organic Geochemistry Society), Newcastle, July 2008 was awarded the first prize as best student talk, whilst her poster was awarded third prize at ISBA3.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Kirsty Wins Award

Dr Kirsty Penkman has been awarded the Lewis Penny medal by the Quaternary Research Association, for her "significant contribution to the Quaternary Stratigraphy of the British Isles and its maritime environment". She will be presented with the medal at the QRA annual meeting, at the Royal Geographical Society in January. Dr Penkman's research, into the application of protein breakdown as a dating tool in fossils, has been recognised because the developments have made it a routinely-applicable and reliable method for dating the Quaternary (the last two million years; a time period crucial for our understanding of climate change and human evolution).