Laura van der Sluis


MSc Earth Sciences - Archaeometry, VU University Amsterdam 2013, Institute for Geo- and Bioarchaeology (IGBA)
BA Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Amsterdam 2010




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

Current Research:

Stories of subsistence: People and coast over the last 6000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark

Over the decades stable isotope analysis has been widely applied on both human and faunal bone material to determine past dietary behaviour. Although contemporaneous environmental data is often absent in these studies, this is required for correct interpretation of the isotopic results. The human and faunal bone material used in this study originates from archaeological shell middens in the Limfjord area in Denmark, covering a time span of nearly 6000 years from the end of the Mesolithic (3900 B.C.) to the Viking Age/Middle Ages. Additionally, the bone remains will be accompanied by contemporaneous environmental data, such as salinity, nutrient concentrations, temperature and sea level, obtained from analysing sediment records (executed by Jonathan Lewis, PhD Loughborough University).

The main aim of the research is to determine if the availability of marine resources is driving cultural changes seen in the coastal archaeological record. The Limfjord provides an ideal location to study this, as this area has been fluctuating between marine and brackish conditions over the centuries. Additionally, multiple isotope proxies (carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and strontium) can provide insight into both the palaeodiet and possible migration patterns.

This research is financially supported by the Leverhulme award.

Project Supervisors

1st Supervisor: Professor Paula Reimer
2nd Supervisor: Dr. Eileen Murphy
External Supervisor: Dr. David Ryves (Loughborough University)


van der Sluis LG, Hollund H, Buckley M, De Louw PGB, Rijsdijk KF, Kars H, 2014. Combining histology, stable isotope analysis and ZooMS collagen fingerprinting to investigate the taphonomic history and dietary behaviour of extinct giant tortoises from the Mare aux Songes deposit on Mauritius, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 416, 80-91.

van der Sluis LG, Reimer, PJ, Lynnerup N, 2015. Investigating intra-individual dietary changes and 14C ages using high-resolution δ13C AND δ15N isotope ratios and 14C ages obtained from dentine increments, Radiocarbon 57(4) (in press.).
DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18338