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Hardy, Karen

ICREA Research Professor at UAB (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). Humanities

I joined ICREA in 2008. Following a PhD in the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, I worked on projects based in Hungary, Scotland and Papua New Guinea. From 1997-2005 I co-directed the Scotland's First Settlers project which explored the early post glacial environment and human population around the Isle of Skye. In 2005 I was awarded a Marie Curie OIF to visit the University of Sydney where I set up an international project on the diagenesis of ancient starch. My return phase took place at the University of York where I remain a research associate.

Research Interests

My interests lie in human adaptations and diet in the pre-agricultural world. Plants were as important in the past as they are today but detection of them is difficult. Dental calculus preserves biographical detail which we can extract and identify. This is offering new insights into ancient diet and aspects of life in the past. As far as is known, widespread exploitation of coastal resources developed in the early post-glacial period. In the Saloum Delta, Senegal people continue to exploit the coastal and forest resources using traditional methods; this offers an outstanding modern context to learn about traditional uses of resources and developing archaeological sites. West coast Scotland represents part of the north western edge of the ancient northern European plain. It contains extensive evidence for mid Holocene human activity. Shell middens in particular preserve organic material which can be used for environmental and cultural reconstruction throughout the Holocene.

Key Words

Prehistoric Europe, pre-agricultural diet, ethnoarchaeology, shell middens and coastal archaeology.