Dental calculus is a biofilm that adheres to teeth during life. Material passing through the mouth as food, medicines, airborne environmental materials and when the mouth is used as a third hand, can become embedded. This PhD will focus on the structure of dental calculus and extraction and identification of physical remains and will involve collaboration with specialists recovering other biomolecular evidence. This position is part of the UKRI ERC Advanced Grant replacement fund project Powerful Plants: The Power of Plants as Food, Medicine and Raw Materials Before Agriculture. This new project will use archaeological evidence, supported by experimental archaeology and ethnographic data, to investigate the social, cultural and behavioural roles of the human use of plants before farming. Plants are essential to our physical, psychological and physiological well-being today as they were in the past. They provide us with energy, nutrients, medicines and raw materials. Yet the role of plants before the emergence of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, is virtually unknown largely due to low survival rates on archaeological sites. This project will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to investigate three areas - food, medicine and technology - in which use of plants was pivotal in shaping human trajectories with implications that are still evident today. The candidate with work with a multidisciplinary, international team including other PhD students and researchers based in Glasgow and other leading European institutions.
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