Jess Thompson

Jess Thompson
Jess Thompson

Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department: Department of Archaeology, Darwin College

Keywords: Bioarchaeology, funerary ritual, prehistoric Europe

I am a bioarchaeologist specialising in the European Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age. I study the remains of people who lived between c. 9000-3000 years ago to tell the stories of their lives and deaths.

My work is predicated on the understanding that funerary treatment responds to, and can extend, aspects of an individual’s life. I intertwine the study of life histories with funerary practices to ask questions about individual and communal identity, power, gender and personhood. I have worked on archaeological excavations at sites in Britain (https://livingwithmonuments.org/), Malta, Italy and Egypt.

My PhD research formed part of the ‘FRAGSUS’ ERC-funded project (https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/FRAGSUS/). By analysing fragmented bones from two large Neolithic collective burial sites on the Maltese islands, I showed that most people – including babies and children – were deposited soon after death and disarticulated over a long process of revisiting the dead.

I am currently PDRA for the ERC-funded ‘ANCESTORS’ project, investigating social organisation and politics in prehistoric Italy from the traces of everyday life preserved in bodies: diet and nutrition, movement and physical activity, health and trauma, genetic relatedness, and treatment after death.

Get in touch: jet71 [at] cam.ac.uk, twitter @jess_e_thompson