University of Warwick
Using sedimentary DNA to explore the neolithisation of the UK
Professor Robin Allaby, University of Warwick
This project will utilize sedaDNA techniques to retrieve DNA from the North Sea floor to elucidate when and where the Neolithic first appears, and what were it’s constituent components. This will help to undertand not only the environment on Doggerland during this period, but also how this environment compared to mainland Britain and Europe, and how this faciliated the spread of Neolithic practices. This project will link into the larger Doggerland Lost Frontiers project, utilizing recent and older cores taken from the North Sea floor.
What inspires you
I’ve always been interested in the natural world and being outdoors. It was not until university that I learnt how past natural environments can be studied to understand the relationship between global climate change, the impact on local ecosystems, and how this can influence human population activity. With this research background, I realised that by focusing on the palaeoenvironmental discipline, I could bring together my love of the outdoors (lots of fieldwork!) and research-based work.
Following my undergraduate degree in archaeology, I worked as a geophysical surveyor for an archaeological unit for 12 months, and then as an archaeological consultant for a major engineering consultancy firm, specialising in geoarchaeological investigation.
Why did you choose doctoral research?
I have always wanted to return to palaeoenvironmental research, and when the project was advertised it appealed to all my personal interests, particularly palaeoenvironmental reconstruction utilising environmental proxies. I loved the process of fieldwork and post-field work analysis during my undergraduate, and I am very passionate about palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. The field of sedimentary DNA is also fairly recent, and I really wanted to part of this exciting new research. By undertaking doctoral research, this allowed me to continue with my love for research, and be involved with new techniques in palaeoenvironmental research.
Why did you choose CENTA?
I chose to apply for CENTA studentship because not only was the project exactly the research area that I wanted to follow, but also because the studentship provided training and support throughout the PhD, and having been out of academia for a few years, it was reassuring to know that further support training was available.
My goal is to continue in academic research, and Warwick University has fantastic facilities and opportunities for me to so. Sedimentary DNA is such an exciting field of new research, and I would love to continue to be contribute to this work.