Skip to main content
Dr Emily Holt

Dr Emily Holt

Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a zooarchaeologist and environmental archaeologist who studies the Bronze Age Nuragic culture on the island of Sardinia. In my current project ZANBA - Zooarchaeology of the Nuragic Bronze Age - I use strontium, carbon, and nitrogen isotopes to understand how the Nuragic people used their landscape to raise animals, build their economy, and contribute to political systems.


I am currently a Marie Sklodowska Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion. My project ZANBA - Zooarchaeology of the Nuragic Bronze Age - uses isotope analysis of animal remains to understand patterns of human and animal mobility, economic structures, and political expansion in ancient Sardinia (c. 1700-1000 BCE).

Before coming to Cardiff University, I taught courses in archaeology, anthropology, and ancient history as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Classics Department and the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Miami University of Ohio (Oxford and Hamilton, Ohio, USA). Some of my favorite courses to teach were zooarchaeology, archaeological method and theory, and Discoveries of Archaeology, where I took a critical approach deconstructing the idea of discovery and helping students identify how social, political, and economic factors influence what gets "discovered" and who can claim the narrative of "discovery."

In 2015-2016, I was a Mellon Mediterranean Regional Research Fellow at the Museum national d'Histoire naturelle in Paris, France. In this project, I worked with a team of researchers investigating how the movement of micromammals like house mice can be used to track human mobility. This project is ongoing as I look for additional specimens to add to my study.

In 2014-2015, I was the Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology at the University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY, USA). In this position, I taught a postgraduate seminar on water and power in past societies and organized an international invited speakers conference on the same theme. The conference brought together 15 speakers with diverse reserach interests for two days of discussion, and it ended with a panel discussion of what archaeology can contribute to current water management policy. The conference proceedings have been published in my edited volume Water and Power in Past Societies (SUNY Press 2018).

My first position after finishing my PhD was as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH, USA). At Oberlin, I taught courses in environmental archaeology and health, disease, and demography in the ancient world. My teaching focused on developing archaeological thinking through solving hypothetical research problems. I especially enjoyed leading hands-on investigations with Oberlin's excellent skeletal reference collection.

Honours and awards

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (2020-2022)
  • Council of American Overseas Research Centers / Andrew W. Mellon Mediterranean Regional Research Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • Insitute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2015)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • United States National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (2010-2012)
  • United States Fulbright IIE Fellowship, Italy (2008-2009)

Academic positions

  • 2020 - present: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University
  • 2018 - 2019: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, Miami University
  • Spring 2018: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Miami University Regionals
  • 2014 - 2018: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University at Buffalo
  • 2015 - 2016: Postdoctoral Fellow, Museum national d’Histoire naturelle
  • 2014 - 2015: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology, University at Buffalo
  • 2013 - 2014: Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology and Archaeological Studies, Oberlin College. Oberlin, OH, USA.

Speaking engagements

  • Water, Power, and Climate Change in Bronze Age Sardinia. The Tampa Bay Society of the Archaeological Institute of America Public Lecture. Online (2020)
  • Elite Power and Climate Change in Ancient Sardinia. The Oxford Society of the Archaeological Institute of America Public Lecture. Oxford, OH (2019)
  • The Archaeology of Power in Ancient Sardinia. LOKAL Community Lectures, Williamsburg, VA (2016)
  • Water, Power, and Climate Change in the Nuragic Culture of Bronze Age Sardinia. Friends of the Library Presentation Series, Ohio University-Lancaster (2014)
  • I Nuragici: Nostri Vicini Di Casa ["Our Neighbors, the Nuragic People"]. The Comune di Siddi Aula Consigliare, Siddi, Sardinia (2011)






I contribute to teaching in zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, forensic and osteoarchaeology, human osteoarchaeology, and the archaeology of Mediterranean socieites.

My primary research interests are in zooarchaeology and environmental archaeology. I am particularly interested in how archaeological animal remains can be used to understand big issues, like the relationships among social inequality, resource use, and environmental change.

My current project ZANBA - zooarchaeology of the Nuragic Bronze Age - uses strontium, carbon, and nitrogen isotopes to understand how people in the Nuragic culture of Bronze Age Sardinia (c. 1700-900 BCE) experienced changes in their animal economy as their political and social systems expanded.


I am interested in supervising Masters students in the areas of:

  • Mediterranean zooarchaeology
  • micromammal zooarchaeology

I am interested in co-supervising Masters students in the area of ancient Sardinian landscapes and settlement patterns.