New integrated molecular approaches for understanding lake settlements in NW Europe

Antony Brown, Thierry Fonville, Maarten van Hardenbroek, Graeme Caver, Anne Crone, Finbar McCormick, Emily Murray, Helen Mackay, Nicki J. Whitehouse, Andrew C. G. Henderson, Phil Barratt, Kim Davies, Katie Head, Peter Langdon, Inger Alsos, Duncan Pirrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lake settlements, particularly crannogs, pose several contradictions – visible yet inaccessible, widespread yet geographically restricted, persistent yet vulnerable. To further our understanding, we have developed the integrated use of palaeolimnological (scanning XRF, pollen, spores, diatoms, chironomids, Cladocera, microcharcoal, biogenic silica, SEM-EDS, stable-isotopes) and biomolecular analyses (faecal stanols, bile acids, sedaDNA) of proximal and through-crannog cores in SW Scotland and Ireland. Both can be an effective methods for revealing occupation-chronologies and identifying on-crannog activities/practices. Strong results from sedaDNA and lipid biomarkers analysis demonstrate likely on-site animal slaughter, food storage and possibly feasting, suggesting multi-period elite site-associations, storage and protection, of valuable resources
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Mar 2022


  • British Isles, Ireland, lake settlements, molecular archaeology, sedaDNA, lipid biomarkers, crannogs


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