Dr Svetlana Svyatko

Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow
Research Interests
: bioarchaeology, physical anthropology, Eurasian Steppe archaeology, stable isotope analysis, radiocarbon dating.


2010 - PhD in Physical Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Thesis title: "Palaeodietary analysis of prehistoric populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia".

2005 - MSc (Hons) in History, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia. Thesis title: "Golden Horde and the historiography of Mongolian state of the 13th-16th centuries (early 19th century perceptions of the history)".

Email: s.svyatko@qub.ac.uk


Archaeology and Palaeoecology
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 5123

Current Research:


a) Book chapters

Svyatko, S. V., accepted: The Potential of Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Analysis in Reconstructing of the Diet of the Eurasian Steppe Cultures of the 1st mil. BC. In Russian.

Svyatko, S. V., 2010: "The Diet of the Afanasyevo Population on the Data from Stable Isotope Analysis, Dental Palaeopathology Analysis and Statistical Analysis of Associated Burials". In: N.F. Stepanova, A.V. Polyakov, S. S. Tur and P. I. Shulga (eds.). Afanasyevskiy Sbornik. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 225-233. In Russian.

Svyatko, S. V., A. V. Polyakov, 2009: "New radiocarbon dates of the Bronze - Early Iron Age sites of the Middle Yenisey". In: Yu. F. Kiryushin and A. A. Tishkin (resp. eds). Rol Estestvenno-Nauchnyh Metodov v Arheologicheskih Issledovaniyah. Barnaul: Altai State University Press. P. 146-149. In Russian.

Svyatko, S., E. Murphy, R. Schulting, J. Mallory, 2008: "Diet of the Bronze to Early Iron Age populations of the Minusinsk Basin (Southern Siberia) according to the data from carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis: preliminary report". In: A. A. Tishkin (ed.). Drevniye i Srednevekovyye Kochevniki Tsentralnoy Azii. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 213-216. In Russian.

b) Journal papers

Tur S.S., S.V. Svyatko, A.Z. Beisenov, A.A. Tishkin, accepted: An Exceptional Case of Healed Vertebral Wound with Trapped Bronze Arrowhead: Analysis of a 7th – 6th c. BC Individual from Central Kazakhstan. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.

Svyatko, S. V., accepted: Stable Isotope Analysis: Overview of the Method and the Main Studies in Siberia and the Eurasian Steppe”. Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia.

Motuzaite Matuzeviciute G, Lightfoot E, O'Connell TC, Voyakin D, Liu X, Loman V, Svyatko S, Usmanova E, Jones MK. 2015. The extent of cereal cultivation among the Bronze Age to Turkic period societies of Kazakhstan determined using stable isotope analysis of bone collagen. Journal of Archaeological Science 59:23-34.

Svyatko, S., 2014: “Dental Palaeopathological Analysis of the Eneolithic-Early Iron Age Populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia: Palaeodietary Implications”. Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia 2(58), 143-156.

Svyatko, S.V., R.J. Schulting, J. Mallory, E.M. Murphy, P.J. Reimer, V.I. Khartanovich, Y.K. Chistov, M.V. Sablin, 2013: “Stable isotope dietary analysis of prehistoric populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia, Russia: a new chronological framework for the introduction of millet to the eastern Eurasian steppe”, Journal of Archaeological Science 40(11), 3936–3945.

Svyatko, S. V., J. P. Mallory, E. M. Murphy, A. V. Polyakov, P. J. Reimer, R. J. Schulting, 2009: “New Radiocarbon Dates and a Review of the Chronology of Prehistoric Populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia, Russia”, Radiocarbon 51(1), 243-273.

Polyakov, A. V., S. V. Svyatko, 2009: “Radiocarbon dating of the Neolithic-Early Iron Age archaeological sites of the Middle Yenisey: Overview of the results and new data”. In: A. A. Tishkin (resp. ed.). Teoriya I Praktika Arkheologicheskih Issledovaniy V. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 20-56. In Russian.

c) Public outreach

Reimer P., S. Hoper, J. McDonald, R. Reimer, S. Svyatko, M. Thompson, 2015: LABORATORY PROTOCOLS USED FOR AMS RADIOCARBON DATING AT THE 14CHRONO CENTRE. English Heritage Research Report Series 5-2015, 1-11.

Svyatko S.V., J.P. Mallory, 2014: Review of the book “E. N. Chernykh (2013) Kultury nomadov v megastrukture Evraziyskogo mira (The culture of nomads in the megastructure of the Eurasian world). 2 vols (367 + 424 pp). Moscow: Yask: Yazyki Slavyanskoy Kul’tury. ISBN 978-5-9551-0674-8 and 978-5-9551-0675-5”, Journal of Indo-European Studies 42(1-2).



External Grant Funding:

  1. Travel grant from the Radiocarbon & Diet meeting in Kiel, Germany, September 2014 (€300)
  2. The Leverhulme Trust Research Grant "Freshwater reservoir effect on re-dating of the Eurasian Steppe cultures", 2014-2016 (£112,245)
  3. Travel grant from the Royal Irish Academy for the research trip to Siberia, March 2013 (€2,000)
  4. Travel grant from the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge) for the research trip to Southern and Western Siberia, March-April 2012 (£2,000)
  5. Travel Scholarship from RCUK China, Cambridge University, Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for the workshop “Rethinking agricultural beginnings in Northwest China” and fieldtrip, September 2008 (full travel costs)
  6. William & Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship for the research trip to Southern Siberia, March 2007 (£1,000)
  7. Travel Grant from the 16th European Meeting of the Palaeopathology Association, May 2006 (€250)
  8. PhD scholarship from the Queen’s University of Belfast, 2005


Additional Information:

 Professional training

October 2012: Oxygen Isotope Analysis training, Cambridge University

August 2012: Archaeozoology training (by Dr Alexey Kasparov), Nymphaion archaeological expedition, Crimea

April 2012: Understanding Zooarchaeology course, University of Sheffield


Field Experience:

September 2013: Research trip to Barnaul and Tomsk (Siberia, Russia). Networking with a range of institutions and independent researchers; sampling human and faunal osteological materials with the aim to assess a palaeodiet of the local Neolithic-Iron Age populations and to assess the severity of the freshwater reservoir effect in the region and beyond.

2003-2012: Invited Osteologist in summer archaeological expeditions in Staryi Krym (site of Bokatash II), Sebastopol (Chersonese) and Kerch (Iluraton and Kitey), Crimea, Ukraine
Excavations and anthropological survey of the human remains from the Roman, Scythian and medieval Mongol sites (recording the finds, conservation of extremely fragile and poorly preserved human remains, sampling the osteological materials, writing reports in different formats).

March-April 2012: Research trip to Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Tyumen and Barnaul (Siberia, Russia). In collaboration with McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (University of Cambridge). Networking with a range of research institutions and independent researchers; sampling human and faunal osteological materials (tooth enamel and bone) with the aim to reconstruct a palaeodiet of the Neolithic-Iron Age populations of the Altai and Upper Ob River regions and to track down the signal of millet consumption.

September 2008: Fieldtrip to Gansu Province, China. Examining local archaeological sites which yielded substantial amounts of various cereals.

July-August 2007: Research trip to Minusinsk (Southern Siberia) and Moscow. Survey of different archaeological sites in the Minusinsk Basin and study of the osteological and archive materials in the N.M. Martyanov Regional Minusinsk Museum, sampling important osteological and floral materials from various parts of the Minusinsk Basin; study of the archive materials in the Institute of Archaeology (RAS), Moscow.

2006 – 2007: Three research trips to Saint-Petersburg. Collecting of the background archival and library information for the archaeology of the Minusinsk Basin, recording and sampling human and faunal individuals from relevant institutions and private collections.


Research Communication:

  1. September 2014: 20th Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Istanbul, Turkey.
  2. September 2014: Radiocarbon & Diet meeting, Kiel, Germany.
  3. March 2014: AYIA Conference, Sligo, Ireland.
  4. February 2014: invited presentations in various research institutions of Kazakhstan.
  5. September 2013: Modern Assessment of the Topical Issues of the Eurasian Archaeology Conference, Barnaul, Russia.
  6. April 2013: 7th International Symposium 14C and Archaeology, Gent, Belgium (attendance only).
  7. July 2012: 21st International Radiocarbon Conference, Paris, France (abstract submitted).
  8. March-April 2012: series of invited lectures and presentations in various research institutions of Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Tyumen and Barnaul (Southern and Western Siberia, Russia).
  9. March 2012: 2nd Russian National Conference “Man and the North: Anthropology, Archaeology, Ecology”, Tyumen, Russia (invited talk)
  10. May 2011: Stable Isotope Group Seminar Series, Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, University of Oxford (invited talk).
  11. April 2011: 6th International Symposium on Radiocarbon and Archaeology, Paphos, Cyprus.
  12. November 2010: Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland Autumn Conference 2010 (attendance only), Belfast.
  13. November 2009: Thursday Evening Seminar Series, School of GAP, QUB.
  14. May 2009: Friday Lunchtime Talks, George Pitt-Rivers Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, University of Cambridge (invited talk).
  15. September 2008: Workshop “Rethinking agricultural beginnings in Northwest China”, Jiuquan, China.
  16. June/July 2008: 6th World Archaeological Congress, Dublin, Ireland.
  17. February 2008: Thursday Evening Seminar Series, School of GAP, QUB.
  18. October 2007: Conference “Problems of biological and cultural adaptations of human populations”, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
  19. September 2007: 13th Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Zadar,Croatia.
  20. September 2007: Annual Conference of the Association for Environmental Archaeology, Poznan, Poland.
  21. August 2006: 16th Meeting of the Palaeopathology Association, Thira, Santorini, Greece.
  22. July 2006: Seminar in the Department of Physical Anthropology, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
  23. June 2006: Conference “National Museum of Ireland. Bog Bodies Research Project” (attendance only), Dublin, Ireland.

Other (pseudo)scientific activities:

Russian-English translation of academic texts
Languages: Russian (mother tongue), English (fluent), Spanish (fluent), French (reading), Latin (reading)
Russian Anthropology
Secretary of the Russian-Speaking Comminuty of Northern Ireland