Elizabeth Henton

  • BSc, Dip., MSc, PhD 
  • Leverhulme Trust Research Associate

Research Interests

  • Zooarchaeology
  • Isotope and microwear analysis of archaeological dentition
  • Prehistoric hunting/herding dynamics
  • Neolithic archaeology of SW Asia and Arabia

Current Research Project

Prehistoric hunting strategies in Jordan: reconstructing prey behaviour and ecology

This project aims to reconstruct hunting strategies in key periods of Near Eastern prehistory, focusing on the distinctive occupations of the steppe-deserts in the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic (23,000-8,000 bp cal.), times of major cultural and environmental change.

Prehistoric wildlife (gazelle) herd behaviour and mobility will be reconstructed through a combination of novel techniques and approaches including animal isotope and dental microwear analyses, GIS-based ecological niche modelling, and behavioural ecological theory.

The project also aims to contrast gazelle ethological parameters between the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic, to explore whether hunter-prey dynamics impacted on changes in hunting strategies; attendant changes in the social organization of hunting (access rights, exchange and sharing of kills, regional interactions of steppe hunters) and questions of hunting pressure on gazelle populations will also be explored.

Research Collaborations

  • NSF funded contribution to the RASA project (Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia). Determining whether there were ritual aggregations of pastoral herders at Neolithic Kheshiya (Yemen).
  • NSF funded contribution to the ‘Economic integration and cultural survival at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey’ project. Determining whether extensive agriculture or garden plot-farming was practiced; the use of oxygen isotopes in sheep dentition to locate pastoral land use.

Educational Background

  • 2010: PhD Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, UCL
    Thesis title: Herd management and the social role of herding at Neolithic Çatalhoyuk: an investigation using oxygen isotope and dental microwear evidence in sheep (Supervisors: Louise Martin, Ken Thomas, Ingrid Mainland)
  • 2005: MSc in Palaeoecology of Human Societies, Institute of Archaeology, UCL (Distinction)
    Dissertation: The relationship between the Later Bronze Age elite and cattle herding; a case study from Flag Fen, using oxygen isotope and dental microwear indicators in cattle teeth
  • 2002: Diploma in Archaeology, Birkbeck College, University of London (Distinction)
  • 1971: BSc (Hons) in Zoology, University of Bristol
  • Bogaard,A., Henton, E., Evans, J., Twiss, K., Charles, M., Vaiglova, P., Russell, N. 2013. Locating land use at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey: the implications of 87sr/86sr signatures in plants and sheep tooth sequences. Archaeometry. DOI: 10.1111/arcm.12049
  • Henton, E. In press. Oxygen stable isotope and dental microwear evidence of herding practices at Çatalhöyük. In Hodder, I., (Ed.), Humans and landscapes of Çatalhöyük: reports from the 2000-2008 seasons. Monographs of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles.
  • Henton, E. In press. The contribution of herding to settlement identity in the central Anatolian Neolithic: herding decisions and organisation in Çatalhöyük elucidated through oxygen isotopes and microwear in sheep teeth. 10th Archaeozoology of South West Asia (ASWA) 2011 Proceedings, Peeter’s Press: Leuven.
  • Henton, E. In press. Domestic herd management in the closing 200 years of Çatalhöyük East: elucidated through the combined use of oxygen isotopes and microwear in sheep teeth. Team Poznan Excavations Volumes.
  • Henton, E., McCorriston, J., Martin, L., Oches, E.A. Submitted February 2013. Seasonal aggregation and ritual slaughter: isotopic and dental microwear evidence for cattle herder mobility in the Arabian Neolithic. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.
  • Henton, E., 2012. The combined use of oxygen isotopes and microwear in sheep teeth to elucidate seasonal management of domestic herds: the case study of Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia. Journal of Archaeological Science 39, 3264-3276.
  • Henton, E., Meier-Augenstein, W., Kemp H., 2010. The use of oxygen isotopes in sheep molars to investigate past herding practices at the Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia. Archaeometry 52, 429-449.
  • Henton E. 2010. The Application of Oxygen Isotopes and Microwear from Cattle Tooth Enamel at Fengate and the Flag Fen Basin. In (Eds.) Pryor F. & Bamforth M. Flag Fen, Peterborough: excavations and research 1995-2007. Oxford: Oxbow, 105-114.
Elizabeth Henton

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