Dr Sheahan Bestel

Honorary Associate Research Fellow


Extension: 4302

Telephone: 01392 724302

Dr. Sheahan Bestel studied both a Bachelor of Science (Botany, 2005) and a Bachelor of Arts with honours (Archaeology, 2007), as well as a Diploma of Languages (Mandarin Chinese, 2007) at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. She worked as a field archaeologist in Australia and Papua New Guinea and ran her own archaeology consulting business (2007-2010). She completed a PhD on an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship about the transition to agriculture in North China (Monash University, 2012).

While completing her doctorate Dr. Bestel worked as a laboratory manager and tutor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University (2010-2012). She subsequently undertook a post-doctoral fellowship in the study of plant remains in East Asia at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, Canada (2013-2014) and worked as an Associate Research Fellow in Tropical Archaeobotany at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom (2014-2015). She has excavated or carried out fieldwork in many countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Papua New Guinea and the USA.

Dr. Bestel’s areas of specialization include an understanding of human-environment interactions including archaeobotany, environmental archaeology, ancient food and dietary studies and archaeological science and microscopy. She is a specialist in plant macrobotanical analyses including charred plant seeds, wood and tuber remains as well as microfossils including starch grains, phytoliths and other plant fragments (charcoal, raphides, bordered pits, cuticles). She enjoys looking at many different types of plant remains and is happy to be contacted with enquiries.