The growth of the North Sea fishing industry in the Medieval period represents one of the most important economic and social developments in early modern history, prompting population movements, demographic shifts and possibly even changes in diet and health. Using previously-excavated materials from the site of St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen, this project aims to investigate diachronic changes in diet, health and mobility in Medieval Aberdeen (12th-16th Century) as the Scottish marine fishing industry expanded. The primary method utilised is the stable isotope analysis, a technique used in archaeological investigations to explore ancient nutrition and movements. Integrating new isotope data with archaeological and historical evidence, this project will assess the relationship between changes in diet, health and mobility, and the development of the North Sea fishing industry and maritime Aberdeen.

Funding and Project Partners

This project is funded partially by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Arts and Humanities Small Research Grant to KB, in collaboration with:

  • Dr. Gundula Müldner (University of Reading)
  • Professor Mike Richards (MPI-EVA, UBC)
  • John Edwards (Aberdeen Maritime Museum/Aberdeen City Council)
  • Judith Stones  (Aberdeen Maritime Museum/Aberdeen City Council)
  • Alison Cameron (Cameron Archaeology)
  • Paul Duffy (Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme)