Seminar Biomolecular archaeology: New Frontiers and Future Directions – 20 May 2021

Seminar Biomolecular archaeology: New Frontiers and Future Directions

Date: 20 May 2021, 13:00-17:00

Location: Online

Credits: 1 ECT

Biomolecular archaeology encompasses  a very broad range of methods and approaches in archaeological science and has provided crucial new insights and perspectives on numerous aspects of the human past. Archaeological science, in general, and biomolecular archaeology, in particular, have become increasingly essential foundations of archaeological practice and theory. Therefore, it is important that students of archaeology have an understanding of established and emerging forms of biomolecular archaeology. This seminar provides an overview of various analytical methods, including isotopic, proteomic, parasitic, and hormonal approaches to better understanding the past. Special emphasis will be placed on the principles, potentials, and limitations of these approaches.

Learning goals:

At the end of this seminar, students will be able to:

·       Interpret different types of biomolecular data

·       Critically assess the strengths and weaknesses the different methods vis-à-vis more traditional archaeological methods

·       Understand the limitations of bimolecular methods

·       Relate how the different methods and approaches can be effectively combined to better understand various types of research questions


  • 13:00 – 13:15: Introduction 
  • 13:15 – 13:45: Dr. Shevan Wilkin – Using Proteomics to Investigate Archaeological Questions
  • 13:45 – 14:15: Dr. Lisette Kootker (VU University Amsterdam) – The human pars petrosa ossis temporalis: the Holy Grail in funerary archaeology? 
  • 14:15 – 14:45: Dr. Sarah Schrader (Leiden University) – Going beyond bone: Hair cortisol and stress in archaeology
  • 14:45 – 15:00: Break
  • 15:00 – 15:30: Dr. Rachel Schats (Leiden University) – Hunting for hemozoin. Identifying malaria in human skeletal remains 
  • 15:30 – 16:00: Dr. Frido Welker (University of Copenhagen) – Addressing Middle Pleistocene hominin diversity through ancient proteomes
  • 16:00 – 16:30: Dr. Christiana Scheib (University of Tartu) – Exploring human-pathogen evolutionary history using ancient DNA
  • 16:30 – 17:00: Discussion & Wrap-up 

Credits: ARCHON members can receive 1 ECT for attending the course and handing in a reflection report afterwards.


We will use Zoom webinar for this seminar. There will be a maximum capacity of 100 attendees, so it’s important to register on time and cancel your registration if you’re not able to make it. Please use the following link to register:

Please send an email to if you have any questions.