Dr Mélanie Roffet-Salque

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Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow


I graduated in 2008 with an Engineer’s diploma in chemistry (diplôme d’ingénieur) from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille (France) and an MSci in Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry from Lille I university (France). During my studies, I have carried out three internships: (i) in 2006, at the Laboratory of Research in Conservation of the Swiss National Museum of Zurich (Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Marie Wörle; (ii) in 2007, at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland), under the supervision of Dr. Eberhard Lehmann and (iii) in 2008, at the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF, UMR 171) and Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CRCC, UMR 7188) laboratories (Paris, France), under the supervision of Dr. Martine Regert.

I completed a PhD in Chemistry in 2012 at the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof. Richard P. Evershed FRS. My PhD was funded by the 7th EU framework Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (FP7-ITN-215362-2) and part of the LeCHE project (Lactase persistence and the Early Cultural History of Europe). My PhD project aimed at investigating the emergence of dairying practices in various areas of mainland early Neolithic Europe, by analysing lipid residues preserved in potsherds, with a focus on the northern Mediterranean area and the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture.

I then worked as a post-doctoral research associate (2013-2018) at the Organic Geochemistry Unit, University of Bristol in the NeoMilk project – the Milking Revolution in Temperate Neolithic Europe. The project was funded by an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018) accorded to Richard P. Evershed. I have been using lipid biomarker and stable isotope compositions of food residues from pottery containers to provide qualitative and quantitative assessments of the major animal products acquired and processed in pottery from prehistoric farming settlements in northern central mainland Europe.

I have been awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2018. 

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My main research has been focussing on the study of lipids preserved in archaeological artefacts, in order to reconstruct past exploitation of natural resources by ancient populations, using the molecular composition of extracts and compound-specific C isotope composition of fatty acids. I have been particularly interested in developing and validating new biomarker and compound-specific stable isotope proxies to investigate subsistence practices.

My Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship recognises the untapped potential of archaeological pottery vessels to serve as a novel proxy for palaeoprecipitation and explores the link between climate change and human responses in the past, and will be held in the Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, in collaboration with Professor Paul Valdes (climate modeller, BRIDGE, UoB), Professor Michael Lee (ruminant dietician, Bristol Veterinary School, UoB and North Wyke Farm Platform), Dr Marie Balasse (isotopic archaeozoologist, MNHN, Paris), Professor Arek Marciniak (archaeozoologist, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland) and Dr Olivier Nieuwenhuyse (Humboldt Fellow at the Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany).

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Further details of publications can be found in the University of Bristol publications system

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