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Julia Best

Dr Julia Best

Lecturer in Bioarchaeology

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

+44 29225 12373
John Percival Building, Room Room 5.49a, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a specialist in bioarchaeology, particularly zooarchaeology. My work has spanned a wide range of periods and locations, with a focus on Neolithic and Medieval archaeology. My primary research interest is using cutting-edge analytical techniques to explore ancient animal-human interactions. Through this we can reconstruct past societies, lifeways, and economies through multi-disciplinary approaches.

Specific themes I’m interested in include:

  • Avian zooarchaeology
  • British zooarchaeology
  • Medieval economy and craft
  • Scottish island environment and resource use
  • Consuming prehistory: feeding Stonehenge
  • Outreach and engagement









Book sections


I teach across several areas of archaeology at UG and PGT level, with a focus on the archaeological sciences. I am currently module leader for: Zooarchaeology; Analysing Archaeology; The Archaeology of Britain: Prehistory to Present; PGT MA Dissertation.

I co-coordinate Biomolecular Archaeology, and contribute to a diverse range of other modules including: Forensic and Osteoarchaeology; Applied Archaeological Science; Medieval Archaeology; Death and Commemoration; Medieval Worlds; Themes and Methods in Medieval Archaeology; Discovering Archaeology; Archaeology Field and Practical Skills.

I am a supervisor for Independent Studies, UG Dissertations and PGT dissertations.


Career Overview

2016 - present: Cardiff University, Lecturer in Bioarchaeology and Lecturer in Archaeology.

2017 - 2020: Bournemouth University, Zooarchaeological researcher

2014 - 2017: Bournemouth University, Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the AHRC "Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions’” Project

Education and Qualifications

Cardiff University

Sept 2009 – Sept 2013. Viva Dec 2013.  Graduated 2014.

PhD (AHRC Funded). Living in Liminality: an Osteoarchaeological Investigation into the Use of Avian Resources in North Atlantic Island Environments

Cardiff University


MA Archaeology (AHRC Funded), Distinction.

Cardiff University


BA Archaeology,  First Class Honours

Honours and awards

2022: Craftwork: New impacts from ancient items. Innovation for all grant. Mulville PI, Best Co-I. (£13,326)

2017: "Causing a Flap: using chicken-based research to transform education, poultry production and human well-being" AHRC Follow on Funding Research Grant (£73,382)

2017: Bournemouth University Bridging Fund Scheme for Research Staff (£8,124)

2016: Lead coordinator NERC ‘Early Chicken Dispersal in Europe: Tracing the Spread of Avian Livestock: Radiocarbon dating project’ (NF/2015/2/5). 14 dates (c. £5040)

2014: Bournemouth University Fusion Fund for Undergraduate Research Assistant (£748)


I am available for 2nd supervision of PGR students. I am interested in supervising students in areas such as:

  • Zooarchaeology
  • Avian archaeology
  • Animal introductions and extinctions
  • Diet and health
  • Animal pathology
  • Medieval economy and craft
  • Experimental archaeology, particularly textiles.