Prof Keith Dobney BA; MSc; PhD

Chair of Human Palaeoecology Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


Personal Statement

I began my zooarchaeological career working as a Research Assistant to Don Brothwell at the Institute of Archaeology in London. Early research into human and animal palaeopathology and zooarchaeology led to a PhD in Archaeological Science at the University of Bradford, to freelance work in Britain and the Middle East, then to a research post funded by English Heritage at the Environmental Archaeology Unit, University of York. From the EAU in York, I moved to the Archaeology Department at Durham University, holding two consecutive Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology Research Fellowships from 2000-2008. I became a Reader in the Archaeology Department at Durham prior to being appointed 6th Century Chair in Human Palaeoecology (and research lead) in the newly formed Archaeology Department at Aberdeen University in 2009. I spent four years as Head of Dept at Aberdeen before moving to the University of Liverpool in March 2016 as the Head of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology (ACE) in March 2016. In February 2020 I took up the post of Head of School, Philosophical and Historical Inquiries at the University of Sydney, but still retain a 0.2FTE Professorial research post within ACE, where I continue to supervise PhD students and act as Co-I on exisiting research projects.

I am first and foremost an archaeologist, but have over my career become more fascinated by the biology of the past and how that intersects with and impacts human behaviour and cultural development. The inherent cross-disciplinary nature of archaeology as a field of study has also allowed me to develop this interest further through the intersection of a range of other disciplines.

For the last 30 years, I've been actively involved in bioarchaeological research in Britain, the Middle East, Central Asia and Central America, and since 2000, have developed international collaborative research in East Asia and Oceania. With the main material focus of my work being the study of both animal and human remains, research incorporates a broad temporal (Late Pleistocene-Holocene) and geographic (principally the Old World) spread and involves the use of traditional and novel techniques and approaches.

I've organised several major international conferences and workshops, have been invited to give research seminars and presentations at academic and research institutions across the world and have held several visiting research fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., the Australian National University in Canberra and the Natural History Museum in Paris. I am currently one of two project leaders of a CNRS funded Projet de Groupement De Recherche Européen (GDRE) entitled - BIOARCH- Bioarchaeological Investigations of the Interactions between Holocene Human Societies and their Environments - and was the Director of a Co-Reach funded Chinese-European research grouping (EUCH-BIOARCH).