Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Yr Athro Jacqui Mulville

Yr Athro Jacqui Mulville

Professor in Bioarchaeology, Head of Archaeology and Conservation

+44 (0)29 2087 4247
+44 (0)29 2087 4929
4.11, John Percival Building
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Research interests

My research focuses on the field of bioarchaeology (broadly defined as once living materials).   I have a particular interest in osteoarchaeology and the articulation between the different types of evidence recovered from archaeological sites and the interpretative frameworks used in the construction of human and animal identities.

A second strand within my work is island archaeologies, from the smallest of the 1000 British islands to the larger landmass of mainland Britain itself.   In particular I am interested in the role of humans in the exploitation, introduction, extinction and management of wild species within Britain and its islands.

Current major themes include:

  • The social, symbolic and ritual role of animals and their place in human society – traditionally zooarchaeology has promoted a utilitarian interpretation of the past with animal remains informing upon previous environments or economies.  Active descriptions of human-animal interactions are made through models of hunting and farming and tend to be constrained by opposing themes, with communities either merely subsisting, motivated by the need to avoid starvation, or being driven by efficiency, with maximizing production the overall aim.  There remains a reluctance to address the social nature of the human-animal relationship and I feel that existing approaches fail because they seek particular, proscribed roles for animals.  Whilst it is commonly acknowledged that this simplistic view excludes the wide range of expressions found in the human-animal relationship, there exists little in the way of a framework for alternative interpretations. I have a contract with Routledge to write a book ('Totems' and 'Sacrifices') further exploring, expanding and debating the nature of the human-animal relationship.
  • The role of hunted/collected animals in farming societies – what are the social and/or economic forces that motivate wild food collection in post-Mesolithic societies?  Central to my work is the sociology of food and the role of hunting, fishing and wildfowling in farming societies and how the procurement, distribution and consumption of wild animals was used to negotiate identities and construct power relationships. I have published work on the exploitation of wild terrestrial and marine resources, with a new edited volume and further research into the role of red deer planned.  Allied to this is my work on marine mammals, in particular cetacea. I undertook a reassessment of the evidence for whaling in prehistory which lead onto a consideration of the role of zooarchaeological data in formulating modern subsistence whaling legislation and opinions.
  • Islands and Coasts - fieldwork in the Hebrides has been the springboard for a study into the perception of islands as marginal or central places and most recently this is manifest in my field research project Islands in A Common Sea: Archaeology in the Isles of Scilly which commenced in September 2005.   This project actively promotes inter-disciplinary activities in the broadest sense, for example linking universities, governmental and commercial organisations and initiating community involvement.
  • Milk in the archaeological record - its inception, identification and husbandry.  I have tested the prevailing models used for defining past animal economic practices against new data and critiqued the use of historical and ethnographic data in the assessment of these models.  Through inter-disciplinary work I have helped to promote and refine new biomolecular methods of identifying the presence of milk and ensured such research is both relevant and appropriate to archaeological questions.

Research projects

Islands in A Common Sea : Research on the Isles of Scilly includes Lyonesse and Dating Bronze Age Entrance Graves.

Impact and engagement

Future Animals, Future Animals @TEDx Cardiff, Back to the Future, Guerilla Archaeology, Shamanic Street Preachers.

Co-owner of ZOOARCH, a jiscmail discussion group with over 1000 members from 45 countries.


Education and qualifications

University of Sheffield

Ph.D. ' Milking, Herd Structure and Bone Chemistry - An Evaluation of Archaeozoological Methods for the Recognition of Dairying'.   This research explored the techniques available for the identification of dairying and suggested two innovative methodologies.

Imperial College of Science and Technology, London University.

B.Sc. (Hons.) Biology,  Dissertation: Pathways of radionuclides in the environment of the Cumbrian coast - Sellafield

Career overview

Although my first degree is in Biology from Imperial College, London, prior to and during my undergraduate years I become interested in archaeology spending my summers digging as a volunteer on the English Heritage (then the Department of the Environment) funded excavations firstly at Beeston Castle, Cheshire and then at other sites. On finishing my degree I carried on working as a field archaeologist and became interested and involved in environmental archaeology. As a result of this interest and my zoological background I ended up working in the Ancient Monuments Laboratory with Rodger Jones looking at the material from Beeston Castle. I subsequently moved to Cambridge University as an English Hertiage funded Research Assistant working on Roman and later assemblages from Caesaromagus and Camulodunum (Chelmsford and Colchester).

After a couple of years in Cambridge I was awarded a grant to go to Sheffield University and study for my doctorate with Paul Halstead. I became interested in the identification of milking and looked into novel techniques for its identification – studying St Kildean Soay Sheep of known age, sex and parturition (number of births) to look for changes associated with these factors. Over the course of my PhD I visited the Western Isles annually, excavating and collecting animal bones – a project that I am still involved in today.

I next went north, up the M1, to work at West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, where I recorded a large proportion of the West Heslerton assemblage and continued to excavate on a range of sites. After being made redundant whilst on maternity leave (!) I went to work for the commercial archaeology unit at Sheffield University (ARCUS) writing desk top assessments, project designs and continuing in zooarchaeological consultancy. An opportunity to work on the large EH funded medieval assemblage from Castle Mall Norwich presented itself and I went to Birmingham University to work with Umberto Albarella and Mark Beech.

From here I moved to Southampton University, working again as an EH funded Research Assistant. During my three years down south. I worked on, amongst others, the large assemblages from Saxon Eynsham and Neolithic to Saxon Yarnton, Gravelly Guy. I also taught zooarchaeology to undergraduates and postgraduates.

Although I had left Sheffield I continued to excavate on South Uist, returning once or more each year to South Uist and digging on a wide range of sites included many years leading excavations on Cladh Hallan. Out of this continuing involvement has come one of my largest research interests (see above).

On the creation of the English Heritage Regional Science Advisor posts in 1995, I moved to Oxford University as a Senior Research Fellow to promote and enhance archaeological science in developer funded archaeology for the East Midlands (Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire). I was involved in numerous projects over this time: for example, Glaston, Fiskerton and the Regional Research Framework in addition to teaching and research.

Although I enjoyed this challenging job, I decided I wanted to spend more time on my research – so I returned to academia, teaching briefly (but enjoyably) at University College Winchester, before moving here to Cardiff in 2002 to replace Professor John Evans on his retirement.

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

Association of Environmental Archaeology, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, Prehistoric Society, International Council for Archaeolozoology, Founder of ZOOARCH.

External examiner for Bradford University.














  • Madgwick, R., Mulville, J. and Stevens, R. 2011. Raising pigs (and other animals) in Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Britain. PAST 69, pp. 13-15.
  • Mulville, J., Ayres, K. and Smith, P. 2011. The animal bone. In: Hey, G., Booth, P. and Timby, J. eds. Yarnton: Iron Age and Romano-British settlement and landscape: results of excavations 1990-98. Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph Vol. 35. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology, pp. 487-521.






Teaching profile

At Cardiff I mostly teach in the areas of bioarchaeology (bones, bodies, plants, animals, molecules and isotopes) and field archaeology.

Postgraduate students

I supervise:

  • Richard Madgwick – awarded Nov 2010: Investigating the Potential of Holistic Taphonomic Analysis in Zooarchaeological Research
  • Julia Best: Living in Liminality:  An osteoarchaeological investigation into the role of avian resources in marginalized Scottish island environments
  • Jennifer Jones: Diversification and Sustainability in Ancient Coastal Communities: The Role of Marine Resources
  • Matthew Law: Settlement, land use and environmental change in the Outer Hebrides: the molluscan evidence

I co-supervise:

  • Lara Hogg: Domesticate animals, identity and social change in the Norse influenced North Atlantic Europe
  • Sean Rice

I am second supervisor for:

  • Mary Davies
  • Sam Waldren


Islands in A Common Sea: Archaeology in the Isles of Scilly

This project seeks to reinvigorate archaeological research into the prehistory and later history of the Islands. The project aims to further develop knowledge of the early environment, settlement and social activity, also to investigate the relationship between the Islands and the Southwest British mainland and to further enhance understanding of the archaeology of the Atlantic façade. The project is of particular relevance for continuing research into cultural, economic and social responses to physical and climatic marginality on islands. Methods include fieldwork, excavation, survey, geophysics, outreach and engagement.

Funded by: British Academy, Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cardiff University, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust to the value of £66,100.
Duration: 2005-onwards.

See also the project blog at: http://scillyarchaeology.wordpress.com/isles-in-a-common-sea/

Lyonesse: evolution of coastal and marine environment in Scilly

The Isles of Scilly contain wide expanses of shallow sub-tidal and intertidal environments flooded by rising relative sea levels during the late Holocene. It has long been known that the islands in their current form are a result of past marine transgressions that flooded early sites. The archipelago is therefore a valuable laboratory for studying continual sea level rises within an historical context. The Lyonesse Project aims to reconstruct the evolution of the physical environment of Scilly during the Holocene, the progressive occupation of this changing coastal landscape by early peoples and their response to marine inundation and changing marine resource availability. Of particular importance will be the collection and analysis of data that will increase knowledge of sea level change during the past 8,000 years and provide baseline data for estimating future sea level rise in Scilly which can feed into regional and national climate change forums and reviews. Methods include survey and sampling of inter-tidial and submerged peat deposits. Analysis of palynological, diatom and foramifica in association with radio-carbon and OSL dating.

Funded by: English Heritage to the value of £120,000.
Duration: 2009-present

See also: http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=20033

Islands in A Common Sea: Dating Bronze Age Entrance Graves

Scillonian prehistory lacks a modern chronological framework and the realisation of such a chronology is central to any study of the islands' past. To establish a monumental and ceramic chronology for the Isles of Scilly by dating human remains deposited within Scillonian chambered tombs and cists. In particular to date those associated with two entrance graves, Knackyboy Cairn, St Martins (O'Neil 1952, O'Neil n.d.),and Obadiah's Barrow, Gugh (Ashbee 1973, 113) and a cist burial in Old Town, St Mary's.

Funded by: NERC Radio Carbon Facility to the value of £4485

Insular Dwarfism in Deer

Deer appear on off-shore British islands from the Neolithic onwards. Whilst they naturally dispersed to the closer islands they were deliberately introduced to the outer isles (Western and Northern Isles, Isles of Scilly and Man, and Ireland). This project looks at their genetic histories through time. To map the changing genetic and morphometric variation in British mainland and insular deer using aDNA analysis of prehistory and historic deer..

Funded by: Cardiff University to the value of £3000.
Duration: on-going

Being Deer: Cervid art and engagement in Later Prehistory

The famous red deer antler head dresses from Star Carr are the focus for many discussions on the role of deer in prehistory. This project aims to explore the identities of the individual animals chosen, and through the process of recreation examines the construction and use of these artefacts. Analysis of the chaine operatoire though the reconstruction of the skull and antler head dresses.  Exploration of the use of the reconstructed head dresses.

Activities include: Outreach event Shamanic Street Preachers, run by Guerilla Archaeology at four music festivals in 2012.

Changing Patterns of Marine Product Exploitation in Human Prehistory via Biomarker Proxies in Archaeological Pottery (Co-PI Prof Richard Evershed)

The overall objective of the project is to use holistic techniques to understand the relationship between North Atlantic Island communities and marine resources. This main project is focused on the characterisation of marine resources in pottery residues. A number of selected sites in the Outer Hebrides, and the Northern Isles have been chosen to have a long chronology, abundance faunal and pottery assemblages and, where possible, associated human remains.
Coastal environments provide a diverse and bountiful resources base. During the Mesolithic there is strong zooarchaeological and isotopic evidence for extensive use of marine resources (Richards and Mellars, 1998) isotopic evidence demonstrates a dramatic shift away from marine resource use in the Neolithic (Richards and Hedges, 1999, Schulting and Richards, 2002) however marine products continue to appear in many island faunal assemblages (Mulville etc). This change in values could, for example, indicate a decline in the consumption of marine foods to an isotopically invisible level or the utilization of marine resources in a non-dietary manner.  Whatever the reason for discrepancies between the zooarchaeological and isotopic datasets, they highlight the need for a holistic approach to understanding resource use.
This project aims to integrate mammal, shell, fish and bird remains with the isotopic analysis of humans and animals  and with ceramic lipid residue analysis to understand the changing relationship between coastal communities and marine resources through time in the North Atlantic Islands. The North Atlantic islands offer a unique opportunity in having large, multi-period, well excavated and preserved sites with excellent artefactual and ecofactural assemblages that have evidence for persistent and (in the medieval period), increasing marine resouce usage. Thus they provide an excellent dataset within which to examine archaeological questions relating to the changing nature of human responses to particular environments and the methodologies available to answer these.
Activities include: An integrated analysis of archaeological, ceramic lipid residues, zooarchaeological data with human and animal stable isotope data to understand the changing nature of insular lifeways.

Post-doctoral research fellow at Bristol University (Lucy Cramp), Doctoral student at Cardiff University (Jennifer Jones)

Funded by: NERC (£413,197) and NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectroscopy Facility (£22,692).
Duration: 36 months

Sourcing Swine: Strontium Isotopes Diagnesis in Pigs

Pig remains represent a considerable proportion of the faunal remains from archaeological sites and are of specific interest at a number of high profile prehistoric sites where the archaeological and zooarchaeological analyses suggest they were imported for feasting e.g. Durrington Walls and Llanmaes.  Recent research has addressed seasonal movements, the origin of populations and the presence of non-local individuals through strontium isotope ratio analysis of bone and tooth tissues (e.g. Schweissing and Grupe 2003, Montgomery et al 2005,Jay et al 2007, Evans et al 2007) but the applicability of these methodologies to pigs may be problematic.
To explore the susceptibility of porcine (and to a lesser extent bovine and ovine) enamel to diagenetic uptake of strontium. To demonstrate that degree to which post mortem alteration does affects the sampled. To establish the primary life signatures of porcine enamel and the persistence of these values in an archaeological context. This will allow work on the husbandry, movement and social significance of one of our major food species by strontium isotope ratio analysis to be further developed.

Developed into British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship awarded to Richard Madqwick, 'Reconstructing the Feasts of Late Neolithic Britain' start date January 2013.

Funded by: NERC Isotope Geosciences Facilities Steering Committee to the value of £16,200
Duration: 12 months

Innovation and engagement projects

Future Animals - 'Future animals', a Beacons for Public Engagement-funded project involved a partnership between Amgueddfa-Cymru – National Museum Wales, the Department of Archaeology & the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University, the artist Paul Evans and Techniquest science centre. The main aim of the project was to explore new ways of engaging with young people. This was achieved by bringing together scientific facts, art and creative thinking to generate an innovative means of inspiring young people. It also raised the confidence of university students and staff to pursue public engagement.

Presented at TEDx Cardiff

Funded by: Beacons for Wales to the value of £13,750
Duration: 12 months

Osteography: Artist in Residency

Dr Jacqui Mulville and artist Paul Evans shared their practice and expertise to explore and develop new visualisations of animal osteology. This academic/artistic collaboration aimed to literally draw together "ways of seeing species", as both specimens/ exhibits and as spectacles for exhibition.

Funded by: Leverhulme Trust to the value of £12,500
Duration: 10 months

See also: http://osteography.wordpress.com/

Postgraduate Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement

PEACE was an AHRC Student-Led Initiative (2010-2011) that consisted of a training workshop in community engagement for postgraduate environmental archaeologists, held at Cardiff University on December 1st 2010. Participants at the workshop designed outreach activities that explored aspects of their research. These were subsequently trialled at the Green Man Festival. To provide training for post-graduate students, to develop resources for environmental archaeology in association with the Association for Environmental Archaeologists.

Developed into Back to the Future@Green Man (see below)

Funded by: AHRC to the value of £1500
Duration: 12 months

See also: http://peacecardiff.tumblr.com/

Back to the Future@Grean Man

Festival-goers to one of Wales' largest events can engage with the past and explore the future as part of a Cardiff University archaeology event. The vibrant programme includes workshops, installations and performances that blend science and nature with entertainment, art, craft and design and will be held in the Festival's 'Einstein's Garden' area.
To engage music festival audiences with archaeological science and theory. Back to The Future focused on three main interactive themes: Future Animals, an art-based workshop that examined our relationship with animals in the past and asked participants to design animals for the future; Fur Trade or Who Am I Wearing?, which asked people to guess which animals we used for clothes and to think about both production techniques and the sustainability of past, present and future fabrics; and Festival Archaeology – exploring what archaeology could be found at the festival, both traditional and non-traditional and how archaeologists use science to understand this.
Activities included: Future Animals, Girls vs Boys, Who am I wearing, the Washing Line of Time

Funded by: AHRC
Duration: 4 days

See also: http://guerillaarchaeology.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/hello-world/

Guerilla Archaeology:Shamanic Street Preachers

Guerrilla Archaeology is a Cardiff-based collective made up of archaeologists, scientists and artists dedicated to bringing the past alive.
Shamanic Street Preachers is a festival based outreach event aimed at 16-35 year olds taking as its theme human:animal relations in the Early Prehistory. 
Come and follow in the footsteps of ancestors and explore your wild side! The Shamanic Street Preachers draw on thousands of years experience to give you the chance to get a new perspective on the world. Shamans mediate between animals and humans, ourselves and the spirit world, the living the dead. They heal through ceremony, ritual, music and dance and where better to explore these ideas than at a festival.
Activities include: A series of themed workshops - Make and Do, Explore, Play and Sing, Listen and Speak.
Performance at four major music festivals in Summer 2012 Secret Garden Party, Green Man, Wilderness, Shambala, engaged with an audience of over 5,500 people . Also performed at Castle Arcade shopping Centre in Cardiff as part of the 'Made in Roath' arts festival.
Guerrilla Archaeology is bringing a range of shamanic activities to a festival near you this summer!  Come and encounter shamans, past, present and future through archaeology, art, sound and movement. Explore shamans around the world – who are they, what do they do and how do they think?   Learn from them about your place in the world and other ways to interact with animals, the environment and each other.
We offer you the chance to immerse yourself in Shamanic ideas, music, movement and transformation by the use of drums, disguise and ceremony. Come and create your own shamanic headdress, music, toolkit or totemic art. We want to breakdown the barriers between the human and animal realms, asking participants to consider the world from other points of view.

Funded by: Blackwood Productions and Kambe Entertainment, Community Engagement Team Cardiff University to the value of £2500
Duration: on-going

See also: http://guerillaarchaeology.wordpress.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/GuerillaArchaeology

Isles of Scilly: Shorewatch

Shorewatch is a community project to record eroding coastal archaeology. To engage the Isles of Scilly community in recording their heritage through survey and recording of coastal sites.

Funded by: Cardiff University to the value of £500
Duration: On-going

See also: http://scillyarchaeology.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/exploring-a-drowning-landscape-shorewatch-2012/

Research groups

Cardiff Osteological Research Group


Goruchwyliaeth gyfredol

Iulia Rusu

Research student

Shu Yang

Research student


Eirini Konstantinidi

Research student

Meredith Hood

Research student