Professor Keith Dobney

Professor Keith Dobney
BA (Lancaster), MSc (London), PhD (Bradford)

Emeritus Professor

Professor Keith Dobney
Professor Keith Dobney

Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen Department of Archaeology
University of Aberdeen
St. Mary's, Elphinstone Road
Aberdeen AB24 3UF


Professor Dobney began his zooarchaeological career working as a Research Assistant to Don Brothwell at the Institute of Archaeology in London. Early research into human and animal palaeopathology and zooarchaeology led to a PhD in Archaeological Science at the University of Bradford, to freelance work in Britain and the Middle East, then to a research post funded by English Heritage at the Environmental Archaeology Unit, University of York. From the EAU in York, Keith moved to the Archaeology Department at Durham University where he held two consecutive Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology Research Fellowships from 2000-2008. He became a Reader in the Archaeology Department at Durham prior to being appointed in Aberdeen in 2009.

For the last 25 years, Keith has been actively involved in bioarchaeological research in Britain, the Middle East, Central Asia and Central America, and since 2000, has developed international collaborative research in East Asia and Oceania. With the main material focus of his work being the study of animal and human remains, Keith's research incorporates a broad temporal and geographic spread, and involves the use of traditional and novel techniques and approaches.

Keith has organised several major international conferences and workshops, has been invited to give research seminars and presentations at academic and research institutions across the world and has held several visiting research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. and the Australian National University in Canberra. He is currently one of two project leaders of a CNRS funded Projet de Groupement De Recherche Européen (GDRE) entitled - BIOARCH- Bioarchaeological Investigations of the Interactions between Holocene Human Societies and their Environments - and the Director of a recently funded Co-Reach Chinese-European research grouping (EUCH-BIOARCH).


Research Overview

Principal research themes include the origins of agriculture, the domestication of animals, human and animal dispersal, diet and health, palaeopathology and palaeoeconomics.

Research Funding and Grants



Wellcome Trust – The bioarchaeology of pig domestication and husbandry: its role in the biological, economic and social development of complex human society.



Appointment as a Smithsonian Institution Short-term Visitor at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.



Royal Society and Armenian Academy of Science. Visiting Fellowship to Durham for Dr Ninna Manaseryan



Wellcome Trust - Travelling companions and unwelcome guests: an integrated zooarchaeological and biomolecular approach to human dispersal and exchange networks in the Holocene.



Appointment as a Smithsonian Institution Short-term Visitor at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.



Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship for Professor Jing Yuan, Institute of Archaeology, CASS, Beijing.



AHRC - The prehistoric origins of Orcadian cultural exchange networks: biomolecular and morphometric studies of Orkney voles (co P.I.'s - Profs Jeremy Searle and Paul O'Higgins, University of York).



English Heritage – Completion of monograph entitled: Farmers, Monks and Aristocrats.



Daiwa Foundation - Morphometric variation and dental enamel defects in the teeth of ancient island populations of Japanese wild boar (Sus scrofa) as a proxy for studying human interaction in the Jomon period.



AHRC - co PI - The origin and spread of stock-keeping in the Near East and Europe – a new database approach (P.I. Prof. Stephen Shennan, Institute of Archaeology UCL.



P.I. for RCUK Fellowship -  Ancient DNA and human dispersal – Research Councils



Leverhulme Trust – Pigs, people and the Neolithisation of Europe – returned after award of NERC grant below.



NERC - Pigs, people and the Neolithisation of Europe – co i's Dr Greger Larson, Dr Una Strand-Vidardottir, Prof. Rus Hoelzel



NERC – Tied studentship linked with funded project - Pigs, people and the neolithisation of Europe



Leverhulme Trust - PhD studentship (and associated indirect costs) to work on Ancient DNA









Co-Reach (with Institute of Archaeology, Beijing, Natural History Museum Paris & Max Planck Institute, Leipzig) – European-Chinese Bioarchaeology Collaboration (EUCH-BIOARCH) – Contributing to a Broader Agenda.

NERC - Reconsidering Austronesian Homeland and Dispersal Models using Genetic and Morphological Signatures of Domestic Animals - joint with Durham University - co-i's Dr Greger, Larson, Dr Thomas Cucchi and Dr Una Strand-Vidarsdottir.




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  • The origins and spread of stock-keeping: the role of cultural and environmental influences on early Neolithic animal exploitation in Europe

    Manning, K., Downey, S. S., Colledge, S., Conolly, J., Stopp, B., Dobney, K., Shennan, S.

    Antiquity, vol. 87, no. 338, pp. 1046-1059

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Divergent evolutionary processes associated with colonization of offshore islands

    Martinovka, N., Barnett, R., Cucchi, T., Struchen, R., Pascal, M., Pascal, M., Fischer, M. C., Higham, T., Brace, S., Ho, S. Y. W., Quere, J., O'Higgins, P., Excoffier, L., Heckel, G., Hoelzel, A. R., Dobney, K., Searle, J. B.

    Molecular Ecology, vol. 22, no. 20, pp. 5205-5220

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Pig domestication and human-mediated dispersal in western Eurasia revealed through ancient DNA and geometric morphometrics

    Ottoni, C., Girdland Flink, L., Evin, A., Geörg, C., De Cupere, B., Van Neer, W., Bartosiewicz, L., Linderholm, A., Barnett, R., Peters, J., Decorte, R., Waelkens, M., Vanderheyden, N., Ricaut, F., Çakırlar, C., Çevic, ., Hoelzel, A. R., Mashkour, M., Mohaseb Karimlu, A. F., Skeikhi Seno, S., Daujat, J., Brock, F., Pinhasi, R., Hongo, H., Perez-Enisco, M., Rasmussen, M., Frantz, L., Megens, H., Crooijmans, R., Groenen, M., Arbuckle, B., Benecke, N., Strand-Vidarsdottir, U., Burger, J., Cucchi, T., Dobney, K., Larson, G.

    Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 824-832

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows changes in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions

    Adler, C. J., Dobney, K., Weyrich, L. S., Kaidonis, J., Walker, A. W., Haak, W., Bradshaw, C. J. A., Townsend, G., Sołtysiak, A., Alt, K. W., Parkhill, J., Cooper, A.

    Nature Genetics, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 450-455

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • The long and winding road: identifying pig domestication through molar size and shape

    Evin, A., Cucchi, T., Cardini, A., Vidarsdottir, U. S., Larson, G., Dobney, K.

    Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 735-743

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Chalcolithic pig remains from Çamlibel Tarlasi, Central Anatolia.

    Bartosiewicz, L., Gillis, R., Girdland Flink, L., Evin, A., Cucchi, T., Hoelzel, R., Vidarsdottir, U., Dobney, K., Larson, G., Schoop, U.

    Archaeozoology of the Near East X. De Cupere, B., Linseele, V., Hamilton-Dyer, S. (eds.). Editions Peeters pp. 101–120, 20 pages.

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Conference Proceedings

  • Species distribution modelling of ancient cattle from early Neolithic sites in SW Asia and Europe

    Conolly, J., Manning, K., Colledge, S., Dobney, K., Shennan, S. J.

    The Holocene, vol. 22, no. 9, pp. 997-1010

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Dental enamel hypoplasia as indicators of seasonal environmental and physiological impacts in modern sheep populations: a model for interpreting the zooarchaeological record

    Upex, B., Dobney, K.

    Journal of Zoology, vol. 287, no. 4, pp. 259-268

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Dog domestication revisited: A new genetic, archeological, and biogeographic perspective

    Larson, G., Karlsson, E., Perri, A., Webster, M., Ho, S., Peters, J., Stahl, P., Piper, P., Lingaas, F., Fredholm, M., Comstock, K., Modiano, J., Schelling, C., Agoulnik, A., Leegwater, P., Dobney, K., Vigne, J., Vila, C., Andersson, L., Lindblad-Toh, K.

    PNAS, vol. 109, no. 23, pp. 8878-8883

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

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