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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Professor Janet Montgomery, BSc (Hons) 1st class, PhD

Professor in the Department of Archaeology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42980
Room number: 201E

Contact Professor Janet Montgomery (email at

Graduated in Archaeological Science (BSc Hons. 1st class) in 1996 University of Bradford

Received her NERC funded doctorate in 2002 University of Bradford.

2003- 2007 NERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bradford,

2007-2010 was Lecturer in Archaeological Science at the University of Bradford

Janet’s doctoral thesis awarded in 2002 (available to download from the AHDS website: was the first study to apply combined radiogenic lead and strontium isotope analysis to British archaeological humans. It explored such topics as how enamel lead compositions of archaeological humans become culturally focussed following the widespread use of metals, differential diagenesis of enamel, dentine and bone and the potential of lead and strontium to identify migration to, and within, Britain.
She has published her work in the journals of several disciplines: archaeological, biological, geochemical, geological and environmental. With various collaborators and students, Janet is currently working on a wide range of archaeological projects of humans and animals ranging in date from the Neolithic to the 19th century and funded by the NERC, AHRC, ESRF, Wellcome, British Academy, Royal Archaeological Institute, Royal Irish Academy, Leverhulme Trust, English Heritage and Historic Scotland. Of note is the Beaker People Project (PIs Profs. Parker-Pearson, Richards and Chamberlain) and The Gristhorpe Man Project which she co-directs with Nigel Melton. The Gristhorpe Man monograph was published in December 2013 by Oxbow.

In addition to archaeological case studies, her research continues on the two main themes of her NERC fellowship which are fundamental to a better understanding of how isotope analysis can be applied to archaeological questions of diet and mobility. These are the timing, duration and progression of enamel biomineralization and how it impacts on the dietary and mobility information obtained, and with her long-standing collaborator Professor Jane Evans at the British Geological Survey, environmental mapping of biosphere 87Sr/86Sr in Britain so the data obtained from humans and animals can be interpreted. The map published in 2010 is regularly updated and available as a plug-in for Google Earth here:

She is a member of the Academic Awards Committee of the Executive of the British Federation of Women Graduates and a Council member of the Prehistoric Society.

Current and recent grants awarded as principle or co-investigator:

  • AHRC CDA Studentship with Museum of London “The end of the world? Famine, plague and climate change in 14th century London”. Awarded 2007 with co-applicants Lee-Thorp and White.
  • NERC British University Funding Initiative doctoral studentship grant “Sr-isotope biosphere mapping in Britain”. Awarded 2007 with co-applicants Evans and Ander.
  • NERC standard grant “Does ancient human dental enamel record short-term seasonality? Investigating time-lines in teeth with computed tomography and oxygen isotopes”. Awarded 2008.
  • The British Academy “An isotopic investigation into the origins of the Iron Age “Chariot” burials of East Yorkshire”. Awarded 2009 with co-applicants Jay and Evans.
  • The Royal Irish Academy “Moving to “the smoak” – identifying survivors of the Great Irish Famine in a London cemetery”. Awarded 2009.
  • NERC Isotope Geosciences FSC isotope grant “The end of the world? Famine, plague and climate change in 14th century London.” Awarded 2010 with co-applicants Evans and White.
  • The British Academy “Building Silbury Hill - where did the antler picks come from? Awarded 2011 with co-applicants Evans, Worley and Warham.
  • The Leverhulme Trust (PI Dr. M. Lewis University of Reading) “Adolescence, Migration and Health in Medieval England: the Osteological Evidence”. Awarded 2011.
  • European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (PI Dr. M. Al-Jawad Queen Mary’s) 2D Mapping of Texture in Dental Enamel as a Marker of Maturity. Awarded 2010.
  • Wellcome Trust VIP Award (PI Dr. M. Al-Jawad Queen Mary’s) 2D Mapping of Texture in Dental Enamel as a Marker of Maturity. Awarded 2010.


Research Interests

  • Isotopic and trace element studies of diet and residential mobility in modern and archaeological humans and animals
  • Fundamental and developmental aspects of isotope and trace element systems in bone, teeth and the environment


Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article


Working Paper

Selected Grants

  • 2015: People and Place in the Kingdom of Northumbria AD 300 - 800 (£275742.00 from Leverhulme Trust)