Julia Best

Dr Julia Best

  • Researcher - Zooarchaeology
  • CG23,
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My background is in zooarchaeology, within which I specialise in the archaeology of birds. I am interested in animal-human relationships through time and space.


I am currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Bournemouth University on the AHRC-funded "Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions" project, led by Mark Maltby.

I am investigating the spread of domestic chickens in Europe and how they have been exploited in different periods and regions. As part of this my work involves collecting data from across Europe for inclusion in a large project database. I am also conducting research into the history of egg production, and working to refine and develop our knowledge of the formation, duration and extent of medullary bone in chickens.

Journal Articles

  • Maltby, M., Allen, M., Best, J., Fothergill, B.T. and Demarchi, B., 2018. Counting Roman chickens: Multidisciplinary approaches to human-chicken interactions in Roman Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 19, 1003-1015.
  • Jonuks, T., Oras, E., Best, J., Demarchi, B., Mänd, R., Presslee, S. and Vahur, S., 2018. Multi-method Analysis of Avian Eggs as Grave Goods: Revealing Symbolism in Conversion Period Burials at Kukruse, NE Estonia. Environmental Archaeology, 23 (2), 109-122.
  • Colonese, A.C., Best, J., Maltby, M. et al., 2017. The identification of poultry processing in archaeological ceramic vessels using in-situ isotope references for organic residue analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science, 78, 179-192.
  • Presslee, S., Best, J. et al., 2017. The identification of archaeological eggshell using peptide markers. Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, 3 (1), 89-99.
  • Best, J. and Mulville, J., 2016. Birds from the water: Reconstructing avian resource use and contribution to diet in prehistoric Scottish Island environments. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 6, 654-664.
  • Peters, J., Best, J., Maltby, M. et al., 2015. Questioning new answers regarding Holocene chicken domestication in China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112 (19), E2415.
  • Best, J. and Mulville, J., 2014. A Bird in the Hand: Data Collation and Novel Analysis of Avian Remains from South Uist, Outer Hebrides. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.


  • Best, J., 2017. In Preparation. The Bird Bone. In: Parker-Pearson, M., Smith, H., Mulville, J. and Brennand, M., eds. Cille Pheadair: A Norse Period Farmstead on South Uist. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Best, J. and Mulville, J., 2013. Between the sea and sky: the archaeology of avian resource exploitation in Scottish island environments. In: Daire, M.-Y., Dupont, C., Baudry, A., Billard, C., Large, J.-M., Lespez, L., Normand, E. and Scarre, C., eds. Anciens Peuplements Littoraux Et Relations Homme/Milieu Sur Les Cotes De L'Europe Atlantique / Ancient Maritime Communities and the Relationship Between People and Environment along the European Atlantic Coasts. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 417-426.
  • Best, J., 2013. Activity Seven: Ötzi the Iceman: What and Who Was He Wearing? In: Mulville, J. and Law, M., eds. Environmental Archaeology and Community Engagement: activities and advice. Cardiff: Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group/ Association for Environmental Archaeology, 18-22.
  • Best, J. and Mulville, J., 2010. The Fowling Economies of the Shiant Isles, Outer Hebrides: Resource exploitation in a Marginal Environment. In: Prummel, W., Zeiler, J.T. and Brinkhuizen, D.C., eds. Birds in Archaeology: Proceedings of the 6th Meeting of the ICAZ Bird Working Group in Groningen. Groningen: Barkhuis, 87-96.



  • Best, J., 2014. Living in liminality: an osteoarchaeological investigation into the use of avian resources in North Atlantic Island environments. PhD Thesis. Cardiff University, School of History, Archaeology and Religion.

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ambassador.
  • I have been a member of Guerilla Archaeology, an outreach collective based at Cardiff University.

Conference Presentations

  • European Association of Archaeologists Conference, More than a dietary supplement: Humans and Chickens in Roman Britain, 02 Sep 2015, University of Glasgow


  • BA (Hons) in Archaeology (Cardiff University, 2008)
  • MA in Archaeology (Cardiff University, 2009)
  • PhD in Archaeology (Cardiff University, 2013)


  • International Council for Archaeozoology, Member (2009-),
  • Professional Zooarchaeology Group, Member (2014-),
The data on this page was last updated at 04:07 on December 17, 2018.