The FoodCult project is led by Principal Investigator Dr Susan Flavin, who is supported by expert collaborators and postdoctoral researchers in specialist fields ranging from environmental archaeology and digital humanities, to organic residue analysis and zooarchaeology.
Dr Susan Flavin
Susan is an Associate Professor of History in the School of Histories and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin. She completed her PhD at the University of Bristol, where she was also engaged on the ESRC project Ireland-Bristol Trade in the Sixteenth Century (2006-09). Following a curatorial role at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, she held posts at Trinity College Dublin (2012-15) and Anglia Ruskin University (2016-18). She is the author of Consumption and Culture in Sixteenth-Century Ireland: Saffron, Stockings and Silk. Susan’s research focusses broadly on consumption and material culture in Early Modern Britain and Ireland, particularly in relation diet and food culture. Her work is grounded in interdisciplinary approaches
Dr Meriel McClatchie
Meriel is an Assistant Professor in Archaeology and Director of the Ancient Foods Research Group in the School of Archaeology at University College Dublin. Her research focuses on prehistoric and historic agriculture and food in Europe. She brings a wealth of ‘big data’ expertise to the FoodCult team, having worked on numerous archaeological database projects. She is also an experienced licence-eligible excavator in Ireland. Meriel will collaborate on The Mapping Diet work package consulting on collation and analysis of excavation data and co-supervising the postdoctoral researcher who will be hosted by UCD.
Organic Residue Analysis
Dr Julie Dunne
Julie is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Organic Geochemistry Unit at the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. Her 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. She is currently working on a three-year Leverhulme funded project called ‘Peopling the Green Sahara’. Julie, with the support of a technician, will undertake sampling and organic residue analysis of 200 pottery sherds, to aid in the reconstruction of early modern Irish diet.
Professor Janet Montgomery
Janet is based in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. She is an expert in isotope analysis with regards to understanding issues of diet and mobility in the past, and carried out the first strontium, lead and oxygen isotope investigations of humans from Britain and Ireland. She is currently working on a number of high-profile collaborative case studies of humans and animals dating from the Mesolithic to the 19th century as well as fundamental research underpinning the archaeological projects. Janet and her colleague Julia Beaumont were the first scientists to use isotope analysis of incremental dentine in an Irish context, in a study that analysed teeth to identify dietary change and starvation in victims of The Great Famine (see Beaumont and Montgomery 2016 and references therein). With the support of a postdoctoral researcher, she will oversee the multi-isotope analysis work package, to aid in the reconstruction of early modern Irish diets.
Dr Fiona Beglane
Fiona is a lecturer at IT Sligo and one of just a handful of zooarchaeologists working on Ireland. She specialises in the analysis of animal bones from excavations, an in interdisciplinary approaches to medieval landscapes. She has worked on numerous Irish archaeological case studies including the Bective Abbey Project. Fiona is collaborating on the zooarchaeological component of FoodCult, which analyses animal bone to understand the meat and dairy components of diet.
Dr Shreepali Patel
Shreepali is a film maker and Director of the StoryLab Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Her industry experience as a filmmaker includes the BBC, C4, C5 and HBO, drama, promos and commercials, and working on numerous UK based and international feature films. She will collaborate with the project team to create a short film that brings the core research findings to life, making them relevant and accessible to the general public.
OSTEOARCHAEOLOGY AND FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGY
Laureen has extensive expertise in the excavation and analysis of skeletal remains in Ireland. She completed the analysis of bronze age burials and cremations at the National Museum of Ireland (published as ‘Breaking Ground-Finding Graves’), analysed the cremated material from Knowth (Knowth 6) and has published her research widely. Laureen lends her expertise to the State Pathology service, assisting in the analysis of forensic skeletal remains. She is an honorary lecturer in the Department of Forensic Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She will collaborate with the team to identify and analyse human remains from sixteenth and seventeenth century burial sites.
Dr Ellen O’Carroll
Ellen works on developing and populating the FoodCult Mapping Diet database. She is an environmental archaeologist, a licensed archaeology director, and has worked both in the commercial and research sector for over 20 years. She specialises in vegetation reconstructions and landscape dynamics through the identification and analysis of charcoal, wood, pollen and microfossil studies. She has collaborated on numerous other multi-disciplinary projects including the INSTAR projects Seeing Beyond the Site and WODAN.
Dr Charlie Taverner
Charlie is a social historian of food and cities. Before joining the project, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research and completed his PhD at Birkbeck, University of London. His research has appeared in History Workshop Journal and Urban History, and his first book, Street Food: Hawkers and the History of London, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2022. Within FoodCult, Charlie’s main focus is the analysis of surviving household accounts from early modern Ireland. He is from a farming family and used to work as a business and agricultural journalist.
Dr Séamus Lawless
Séamus (Shay) was a leading light in Digital Humanities and was our computer science partner on the project. He passed away tragically in May 2019, having achieved a lifetime ambition of reaching the summit of Mount Everest. He was an outstanding scholar and an immensely generous colleague. He is deeply missed by us all.
Rest in Peace.