Researchers at UCD


Jessica Smyth

Lecturer/Assistant Professor

School Of Archaeology
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168304


I obtained my BA in Archaeology and Italian from UCD in 2000, and my MA in Landscape Archaeology from Sheffield University in 2003, funded by an AHRB scholarship. As an IRCHSS scholar I returned to UCD to undertake PhD research on Neolithic settlement in Ireland, graduating in 2007. 

From 2007 to 2009 I worked for the Heritage Council compiling and editing the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Research Framework, before returning once more to UCD as an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2010).

In 2011, I relocated to the UK with a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship for Career Development (IEF). This was based within the Organic Geochemistry Unit, in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, and funded a two-year project undertaking an extensive programme of organic residue analysis of Irish Neolithic pottery.

From Bristol I moved to Cardiff, where I was lead postdoctoral research associate with the ERC-funded The Times of Their Lives project, within the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff University. ToTL aimed to construct more precise chronologies for the European Neolithic, exploring the timings and the duration of key events and phenomena through problem-oriented archaeological analysis with Bayesian statistical modelling.

In September 2014, I returned to the OGU at the University of Bristol to join NeoMilk, a five-year ERC-funded project that explores the introduction and spread of cattle-based agriculture by the earliest farming groups in central Europe, recognised archaeologically as the LBK or Linearbandkeramik culture.

In August 2016, I took up my current post in the UCD School of Archaeology. 




Smyth, J (2014) Settlement in the Irish Neolithic: new discoveries on the edge of Europe. Oxford: Oxbow. [Details]

Book Chapters

Smyth, J; Evershed, R (2014) 'Milk and molecules: secrets from prehistoric pottery' In: Kelly, B; Roycroft, N; Stanley, M (eds). Fragments of Lives Past: archaeological objects from Irish road schemes. Dublin: National Roads Authority. [Details]
Smyth, J (2013) 'Tara in pieces: change and continuity at the turn of the 3rd millennium BC' In: O'Sullivan, M; Scarre, C; Doyle, M (eds). Tara: from the past to the future. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
Hofmann, D; Smyth, J (2013) 'Introduction: Dwelling, materials, cosmology - transforming houses in the Neolithic' In: Hofmann, D; Smyth, J (eds). Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe: Sedentism, Architecture and Practice. New York: Springer. [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J (2013) 'Tides of change? The house through the Irish Neolithic' In: Hofmann, D; Smyth, J (eds). Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe: sedentism, Architecture and Practice. New York: Springer. [DOI] [Details]
Cooney, C. Bayliss, A. Healy, F. Whittle, A. Danaher, E. Cagney, L. Mallory, J. Smyth, J. Kador, T. and O'Sullivan, M. (2011) 'Ireland' In: Alasdair Whittle, Frances Healy and Alex Bayliss (eds). Gathering Time: Dating the Early Neolithic Enclosures of Southern Britain and Ireland. Oxford, England: Oxbow Books. , pp.562-669 Available Online [Details]
Smyth, J (2011) 'Breaking ground: an overview of pits and pit-digging in Neolithic Ireland' In: Anderson-Whymark, H; Thomas, J (eds). Regional perspectives on Neolithic pit deposition: beyond the mundane. Oxford: Oxbow. [Details]

Edited Books

Hofmann, D; Smyth, J (Ed.). (2013) Tracking the neolithic house in Europe: sedentism, architecture, and practice. New York, London: Springer. [Details]
Smyth, J (Ed.). (2009) Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Research Framework. Kilkenny: The Heritage Council. Available Online [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Smyth, J (2016) 'Breaking away: identity and society in Scotland's Neolithics'. Antiquity, 90 (354):1689-1691. [DOI] [Details]
Roffet-Salque, M; Dunne, J; Altoft, D; Casanova, E; Cramp, L; Smyth, J; Whelton, H; Evershed, R (2016) 'From the inside out: Upscaling organic residue analyses of archaeological ceramics'. Journal of Archaeological Science, . [DOI] [Details]
Roffet-Salque, M; Regert, M; Evershed, R; Outram, A; Cramp, L; Decavallas, O; Dunne, J; Gerbault, P; Mileto, S; Mirabaud, S; Pääkkönen, M; Smyth, J; ¿oberl, L; Whelton, H; Alday-Ruiz, A; Asplund, H; Bartkowiak, M; Bayer-Niemeier, E; Belhouchet, L; Bernardini, F; Budja, M; Cooney, G; Cubas, M; Danaher, E; Diniz, M; Domboróczki, L; Fabbri, C; González-Urquijo, J; Guilaine, J; Hachi, S; Hartwell, B; Hofmann, D; Hohle, I; Ibáñez, J; Karul, N; Kherbouche, F; Kiely, J; Kotsakis, K; Lueth, F; Mallory, J; Manen, C; Marciniak, A; Maurice-Chabard, B; Mc Gonigle, M; Mulazzani, S; Özdoğan, M; Perić, O; Perić, S; Petrasch, J; Pétrequin, A-M; Pétrequin, P; Poensgen, U; Pollard, C; Poplin, F; Radi, G; Stadler, P; Stäuble, H; Tasić, N; Urem-Kotsou, D; Vuković, J; Walsh, F; Whittle, A; Wolfram, S; Zapata-Peña, L; Zoughlami, J (2015) 'Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers'. Nature, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J; Evershed, R (2015) 'Milking the megafauna: the role of organic residue analysis in understanding early farming practice'. Environmental Archaeology, . [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J; Evershed, R (2015) 'The molecules of meals: new insight into Neolithic foodways'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics and Literature, . [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J; Evershed, R (2014) 'Pottery, archaeology and chemistry: contents and context'. Proceedings of the British Academy, 198 :347-367. [DOI] [Details]
Cramp, L; Jones, J; Sheridan, A; Smyth, J; Whelton, H; Mulville, J; Sharples, N; Evershed, R (2014) 'Immediate replacement of fishing with dairying by the earliest farmers of the northeast Atlantic archipelagos'. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, . [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J; (2011) 'The house and group identity in the Irish Neolithic'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics and Literature, 111 :1-31. [DOI] [Details]
Smyth, J (2006) 'The role of the house in early Neolithic Ireland'. European Journal of Archaeology, . [DOI] [Details]

Other Journals

Smyth, J; O'Flaherty, R (2015) 'From the ground up: engineering Irish Early Neolithic houses' Archaeology Ireland . [Details]

Published Reports

Smyth, J (2009) Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site Summary Research Framework. The Heritage Council, Kilkenny. [Details]


Research Interests

My research interests are firmly focused in piecing together daily life in prehistory. Doctoral and early postdoctoral research focused on the settlement archaeology of the Irish Neolithic, in particular domestic architecture. To further explore aspects of daily life, I have moved into material culture studies and archaeological science, with my work at the University of Bristol yielding important data on early dairying and prehistoric farming in general. 

The success of this biomolecular approach has led to an interest in developing micro-analytical toolkits to tap the potential of low visibility, poorly-preserved archaeological sites, such as those along the Atlantic Façade. I am currently investigating animal species identification via protein profiling on heavily degraded bone fragments, in collaboration with the Buckley Proteomics Lab at the University of Manchester. Related research involves exploring under-utilised sources of 14C, particularly in pottery lipids, for use in radiocarbon dating, being conducted with colleagues at the BRAMS facility at the University of Bristol.

As editor of the Bend of the Boyne World Heritage Site research framework, I remain deeply interested in the heritage-led regeneration of this area and of connected sites in Britain and Atlantic Europe. As part of the public-private Heritage, Food, Farming network I am helping drive forward sustainable alternatives to heritage management and promotion.




Modules Coordinated

201600   ARCH30510     Archaeology: Heritage Management
201600   ARCH20500     Archaeology: Archaeology of Things