Photo of Dr Sarah Elliott

Dr Sarah Elliott

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


I am an environmental archaeologist and a geoarchaeologist. My research focuses on the investigation of ancient anthropogenic and animal signatures during the transition from hunter-gatherer communities to the first farming villages. I specialise in phytolith analysis, micromorphology, geochemistry (pXRF), faecal spherulite and smear slide analysis, and geo-ethnoarchaeology.

My research predominantly focuses on the Middle East, investigating early Neolithic communities in the Levant and the Zagros mountains. My research also has a strong focus on ethnoarchaeology and recent cultural heritage using a multi-method scientific approaches. Although much of my work to date has focused on the Neolithic I have been involved on a wide range of projects spanning the Epipaleolithic up until the Medieval period.

I held a Teaching Fellowship at University of Aberdeen from 2016-2017, co-ordinating and teaching courses in Geoarchaeology, An Introduction to Archaeology, Current Issues in Archaeology and a dissertation based course. During my employment at Aberdeen I was involved in research at the Medieval Abbey sit on Iona (University of Glasgow) and the Pictish fort at Dunnicaer (University of Aberdeen)

I held two post-doctoral research fellowships at the British Institute in Amman, Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) conducting research on ethnographic reference collections and post 1750 cultural heritage.

From 2014-15 I was a Research Assistant for the INEA project ( at Bournemouth University. This project examined abandoned village sites in Jordan through ethnographic, geochemical and phytolith analysis in order to investigate human behaviour, construction practices, activity areas, and site formation in archaeological case studies.

My PhD research was part of the CZAP project ( based at University of Reading. I developed a unique approach to identify and analyse ancient dung deposits in the archaeological sedimentary record in early farming communities in Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan, addressing questions such as early animal management/domestication, animal diet and secondary product use.

I have extensive technical laboratory experience through my academic research in addition to employment for three years in commercial environmental archaeology, including: loss on ignition, particle size analysis, magnetic susceptibility, pH analysis, wet and dry sieving, flotation, XRF and XRD analysis.