Robert Hedges

Prof Robert Hedges

Professor of Archaeological Science

Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art
Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3QY

Tel: +44 (0)1865 285230

Fax: +44 (0)1865 285220


Research Interests

My interests in stable isotopes are defined by the work of the group as a whole. That is to say in recovering palaeodietary and environmental information concerning humans and animals in an archaeological context. This work has close connections with radiocarbon dating (where carbon flux is an essential basis), with the diagenetic alteration of bone during burial, and with the identification of surviving biomolecules.

Since collagen bulk carbon and nitrogen isotopic values give at best only two values with which to describe and quantify diet, I am concerned to expand the basis of information available. One approach being taken is at the individual amino acid level. Another is the study of other isotopes such as sulphur, hydrogen and oxygen, and also collaborative development work on calcium and boron.

Advances in methodology are likely to come from the interaction between field data, experimental studies, including living populations and an appropriate level of metabolic modelling, and the research of the group aims to address these. A particular developing interest of mine is bone turnover rates and the recovery of time-dependent information.


Journal Articles & Conference Proceedings

Douka, K., Bergman, C.A., Hedges, R.E.M., Wesselingh, F.P., Higham, T.F.G, (2013), Chronology of Ksar Akil (Lebanon) and implications for the colonization of Europe by anatomically modern human, PLoS ONE, 8(9) Sept 2013
Wysocki, M., Griffiths, S., Hedges, R.E.M., Bayliss, A., Higham, T.F.G., Fernandez-Jalvo, Y. and Whittle, A. , (2013), Dates, Diet, and Dismemberment: Evidence from the Coldrum Megalithic Monument, Kent, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 79,1–30
Douka, K., Perlès, C., Valladas, H., Vanhaeren, M., Hedges, R.E.M., (2011), Franchthi Cave revisited: the age of the Aurignacian in south-eastern Europe, Antiquity, 85 (330),1131-1150
Reynard, L.M., Henderson, G.M. and. Hedges, R.E.M., (2011), Calcium isotopes in archaeological bones and their relationship to dairy consumption , Journal of Archaeological Science, 38 (3),657-664
Douka, K., Hedges, R.E.M. and Higham, T.F.G, (2010), Improved AMS 14C dating of shell carbonates using high-precision X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and a novel density separation protocol (CarDS). , Radiocarbon, 52 (2-3),735-751
Douka, K., Higham, T.F.G., Hedges R.E.M. , (2010), Radiocarbon dating of shell carbonates: old problems and new solutions, Munibe.Suplemento, 31,18-27
Reynard, LM; Henderson, GM; Hedges, REM , (2010), Calcium isotope ratios in animal and human bone , Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74 (13), 3735-3750
Hamilton, J., Hedges, R.E.M. and Robinson, M. , (2009), Rooting for pigfruit: pig feeding in Neolithic and Iron Age Britain compared, Antiquity, 83,998-1011
Schroeder, H., O'Connell, T.C., Evans, J.A., Shuler, K.A. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2009), Trans-atlantic slavery: Isotopic evidence for forced migration to Barbados, American Journal of Physical Anthropology , 139,547-57
Berstan, R., Stott, A.W., Minnitt, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Hedges, R.E.M. & Evershed, R.P., (2008), Direct dating of pottery from its organic residues: new precision using compound-specific carbon isotopes, Antiquity, 82,702-713
Reynard, L.M. & R.E.M. Hedges, R.E.M., (2008), Stable hydrogen isotopes of bone collagen in palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Journal of Archaeological Science, 35,1934-1942
Hedges, R.E.M. & Reynard, L.M., (2007), Nitrogen isotopes and the trophic level of humans in archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, 34,1240-51
Fuller, B.T., Fuller, J.L., Harris, D.A. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2006), Detection of breastfeeding and weaning in modern human infants with carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 129,279-293
Fuller, B.T., Molleson, T.I., Harris, D.A., Gilmour, L.T., & Hedges, R.E.M., (2006), Isotopic evidence for breastfeeding and possible adult dietary differences from Late/Sub-Roman Britain, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 129,45-564
Honch, N.V., Higham, T.F.G., Chapman, J., Gaydarska, B. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2006), A palaeodietry investigation of carbon (13C/12C) and nitrogen (15N/14N) in human and faunal bones from Copper Age cemeteries of Varna and Durankulak, Bulgaria, Journal of Archaeological Science, 33(11),1493-1504
McCullagh, J.S.O., Juchelka, D. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2006), Analysis of amino acid 13C abundance from human and faunal bone collagen using liquid chromatography/isotope ratio mass spectrometry, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 20,2761-2768
Tripp, J.A., McCullagh, J.S.O. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2006), Preparative separation of underivatized amino acids for compound-specific stable isotope analysis and radiocarbon dating of hydrolyzed bone collagen, Journal of Separation Science, 29(1),41-48
Birchall, J., O'Connell, T.C. Heaton, T.H.E. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2005), Hydrogen isotope ratios in animal body protein reflect trophic level, Journal of Animal Ecology, 74,877-881
Formicola, V., Pettitt, P.B., Maggi, R. & Hedges, R., (2005), Tempo and mode of formation of the Late Epigravettian necropolis of Arene Candide cave (Italy): Direct radiocarbon evidence, Journal of Archaeological Science, 32(11),1598-1602
Fuller, B.T., Fuller, J.L., Sage, N.E., Harris, D.A., O'Connell, T.C. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2005), Nitrogen balance and delta-15N: Why you're not what you eat during nutritional stress, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 19(18),2497-2506
Hedges, R.E.M., Thompson, J.M.A. & Hull, B.D., (2005), Stable isotope variation in wool as a means to establish Turkish carpet provenance, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 19(22),3187-3191
McCullagh, J.S.O., Tripp, J.A. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2005), Carbon isotope analysis of bulk keratin and single amino acids from British and North American hair, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 19(22),3227-3231
Pike, A.W.G., Eggins, S., Grün, R., Hedges, R.E.M. & Jacobi, R.M, (2005), U-series dating of the Late Pleistocene mammalian fauna from Wood Quarry (Steetley), Nottinghamshire, UK, Journal of Quaternary Science, 20(1),59-65
Schulting, R.J, Trinkaus, E., Higham, T.F.G., Hedges, R.E.M., Richards, M. A. & Cardy, B., (2005), A Mid-Upper Palaeolithic human humerus from Eel Point, South Wales, UK, Journal of Human Evolution, 48(5),493-505
Bonsall, C., Cook, G.T., Hedges, R.E.M., Higham, T.F.G., Pickard, C. & Radovanovi, I., (2004), Radiocarbon and stable isotope evidence of dietary change from the mesolithic to the middle ages in the Iron Gates: New results from Lepenski Vir, Radiocarbon, 46 (1),293-300
Bronk Ramsey, C, Higham, T.F.G, Bowles, A. & Hedges, R., (2004), Improvements to the pretreatment of bone at Oxford, Radiocarbon, 46(1),155-163
Fuller, B.T., Fuller, J.L., Sage, N.E., Harris, D.A., O'Connell, T.C. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2004), Nitrogen balance and delta-15N: Why you're not what you eat during pregnancy, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 18 (23),2889-2896
Hedges, R.E.M., (2004), Isotopes and red herrings, Antiquity, 78(229),34-37
Hedges, R.E.M., Stevens, R.E. & Richards, M.P., (2004), Bone as a stable isotope archive for local climatic information, Quaternary Science Reviews, 23(7-8),959-965
Higham, T.F.G., Hedges, R.E.M., Anderson, A.J, Bronk Ramsey, C. & Fankhauser, B., (2004), Problems associated with the AMS dating of small bone samples: The question of the arrival of Polynesian rats to New Zealand, Radiocarbon, 46(1),207-218
Lampert, C.D., Glover, I.C., Hedges, R.E.M., Heron, C.P., Higham, T.F.G., Stern, B, Shoocongdej, R., Thompson, (2004), AMS radiocarbon dating of resins on ceramics: Results from Spirit Cave, Thailand, in 14C and Archaeology, TFG Higham, C. Bronk Ramsey, D.C Owen (eds)., ,161-169 : Proceedings of Fourth Symposium, Oxford 2002
Shin, J.Y, O'Connell, T.C., Black, S. & Hedges, R.E.M, (2004), Differentiating bone osteonal turnover rates by density fractionation; validation using the bomb 14C atmospheric pulse, Radiocarbon, 46 (2),853-861
Tripp, J., Higham, T.F.G. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2004), A pre-treatment procedure for the AMS radiocarbon dating of sub-fossil insect remains, Radiocarbon, 46(1),147-154
Charles, R, Hedges R., & Jadin, I, (2003), Aurignacian point, butchery remains and radiocarbon accelerator dates from the Trou Magrite at Pon-a-Lesse, Antrhopologica et Praehistorica, 114,1-4
Gonzalez, S., Jiménez-Lopez, J.C., Hedges, R., Huddart, D., Ohman, J.C., Turner, A. & Pompa y Padilla, J.A., (2003), Earliest humans in the Americas: new evidence from México, Journal of human evolution, 44(3),370-387
Gonzalez, S., Jimenez-Lopez, J. C., Hedges, R. E. M., Huddart, D., Ohman, J. C. & Turner, A., (2003), Earliest humans in the Americas: new evidence from Mexico, Journal of human evolution, 44 (3),379-387
Hedges, R. E. M., (2003), Puzzling out the past, Nature, 422,667
Hedges, R.E.M., (2003), On bone collagen - apatite-carbonate isotopic relationships, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 13,66-79
Hedges, R.E.M., (2003), Archaeological verification: Puzzling out the past, Nature, 422 (6933),667
Lampert, C. D., Glover, I. C., Hedges, R. E. M., Heron, C. P., Higham, T. F. G., Stern, B., Shoocongdej, R. & Thompson, G.B., (2003), Dating resin coating on pottery: the Spirit Cave early ceramic dates revised, Antiquity, 77, 295,126-133
Richards, M. P., Schulting, R. J. & Hedges, R. E. M., (2003), Sharp shift in diet at onset of Neolithic, Nature, 425,366
Richards, M.P., Hedges, R.E.M., (2003), Variations in bone collagen delta-13C and delta-15N values of fauna from Northwest Europe over the last 40 000 years, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 193,261-267
Stott, A. W., Berstan, R., Evershed, R. P., Bronk-Ramsey, C., Hedges, R. E. M. & Humm, M. J, (2003), Direct dating of Archaeological pottery by compound-specific 14C analysis of preserved lipids, Analytical Chemistry, 75,5037-5045
Bronk Ramsey, C., Higham, T.F.G., Owen, D.C., Pike, A.W.G. & Hedges, R.E.M., (2002), Radiocarbon dates from the Oxford AMS System: Datelist 31, Archaeometry, 44(3). Suppl 1.,1-149
Cook, G.T., Bonsall, C., Hedges, R.E.M., McSweeney, K., Boroneant, V., Bartosiewicz, L. & Pettitt, P.B., (2002), Problems of dating human bones from the iron gates, Antiquity, 76(291),77-85
Hedges, R.E.M., (2002), Bone diagenesis: An overview of processe, Archaeometry, 44(3),319-328
Pike, A. W. G., Hedges, R. E. M. & Van Calsteren, P., (2002), U-series dating of bone using the diffusion-absorption model, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 66 (24),4273-4286
Rush, E., Hedges, R. E. M., Aalsbersberg, B., Qionibaravi, Dinacika & Laulu, M., (2001), Staple food intake in a rural village in Verata, Fiji, Journal of Community Health and Clinical Medicine for the Pacific, 8(1),44-46
Cook, G.T., Bonsall, C., Hedges, R.E.M., McSweeney, K., Boronean, V. amp; Pettitt, P.B., (2001), A freshwater diet-derived 14C reservoir effect at the stone age sites in the Iron Gates Gorge, Radiocarbon, 42(2),453-460
Hedges, R.E.M., (2001), The future of the past, Radiocarbon, 43(2),141-148
Hillman, G., Hedges, R. E. M., Moore, A., Colledge, S. & Pettitt, P., (2001), New evidence of Lateglacial cereal cultivation at Abu Hureya on theEuphrates,, The Holocene, 11(4),383-393
Hodgins G. W. L. & Hedges, R. E. M., (2001), On the immunological characterisation of ancient collagen, Archaeological Sciences '97 BAR International Series 939, 2001 (Ed. A. Millard), ,61-67 : Proceedings of the conference held at the University of Durham 2nd - 4th September 1997
Hodgins, G. W. L., Butters, T. D., Bronk Ramsey, C. & Hedges, R. E. M., (2001), The chemical and enzymatic hydrolysis of archaeological wood cellulose and monosaccharide purification by high pH anion exchange chromatography for compound-specific radiocarbon dating, Radiocarbon, 43(3),209-215
Hodgins, G. W. L., Thorpe, J. L., Coope, G. R. & Hedges, R. E. M., (2001), Protocol development for purification and characterization of sub-fossil insect chitin for stable isotopic analysis and radiocarbon dating, Radiocarbon, 43(3),199-208
Montes, L., Utrilla, P., & Hedges, R. E. M., (2001), Le passage Paleolithique Moyen-Paleolithique Superieur dans la Vallee de l'Ebre (Espagne). Datations radiometriques des grottes de Pena Miel et Gabasa, Les Premiers Hommes Modernes de la Peninsule Iberique, Actes du colloque de la Commission VIII de L'UISPP, 87-102,87-102
O'Connell, T.C. & Hedges R.E.M, (2001), Isolation and isotopic analysis of individual amino acids from archaeological bone collagen: a new method using RP-HPLC, Archaeometry, 43 (3),421-438
O'Connell, T.C., Hedges, R.E.M., Healey M.A. & Simpson, A.H.R.W., (2001), Isotopic comparison of hair, bone and nail: modern analyses, Journal of Archaeological Science, 28,1247-1255
Pike, A.W.G., Nielsen-Marsh, C. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2001), Modelling bone dissolution under different hydrological regimes, Archaeological Sciences 97 BAR International Series 939,(Ed. A. Millard), ,127-132 : Proceedings of the conference held at the University of Durham 2nd - 4th September 1997
Richards, M. P., Hedges, R. E. M., Walton, I., Stoddart, S. & Malone, C, (2001), Neolithic diet at the Brochtorff Circle, Malta, European Journal of Archaeology, 4 (2),253-262
Stott, A. W., Berstan, R., Evershed, P., Hedges, R. E. M., Bronk Ramsey, C. & Humm, M. J, (2001), Radiocarbon dating of single compounds isolated from pottery cooking vessel residue, Radiocarbon, 43, Nr 2A,191-197 : Proceedings of 17th Int'l Radiocarbon Conference Jerusalem 2000
Wright, E.V., Hedges, R. E. M., Bayliss, A. & Van de Noort, R., (2001), New AMS radiocarbon dates for the North Ferriby boats - a contribution to dating prehistoric seafaring in northwestern Europe, Antiquity, 75,726-734
Hedges, R.E.M. & Pettitt, P.B., (2000), On the validity of archaeological radiocarbon dates beyond 30,000 years B, Acte du colloque "C14 and Archaeology", Lyon 1998 (eds. J. Evin, C. Oberlin, J-P.Daugas, & J-F Salles), Revue d'Archeometrie,G.M.C.P.A., Renne, ,137-141
Hedges, R.E.M., Bronk Ramsey, C. & Needham, S, (2000), Radiocarbon dating of metalwork from the British Bronze Age, Acte du colloque "C14 and Archaeology", Lyon 1998 (eds. J. Evin, C. Oberlin, J-P.Daugas, & J-F Salles), Revue d'Archeometrie,G.M.C.P.A., Renne, ,207-211
Nielsen-Marsh, C. M. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Patterns of diagenesis in bone II; effects of acetic acid treatment and the removal of diagenetic CO3 3-, Journal of Archaeological Science, 27,1151- 1159
Nielsen-Marsh, C. M. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Patterns of diagenesis in bone I: the effects of site environments, Journal of Archaeological Science, 27,1139-1151
Nielsen-Marsh, C.M. Hedges, R.E.M., Mann, T. & Collins, M.J., (2000), A preliminary investigation of the application of differential scanning calorimetry to the study of collagen degradation in archaeological bone, Thermochimica Acta, 365(1-2),129-139
Pike, A. W. G. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Sample Geometry and U uptake in Archaeological teeth: implications for U- series and ESR dating, Quaternary Science Reviews, 20,1021-1025
Richards, M. P. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Gough's Cave and Sun Hole Cave human stable isotope values indicate a high animal protein diet in the British Upper Palaeolithic, Journal of Archaeological Science, 27,1-3
Hodgins, G. & Hedges, R. E. M., (1999), : Proceedings of International Conference on non-destructive testing and microanalysis for the diagnostics and conser
Iacumin, P., Fattori, S., Hedges, R., Abbazzi, L. & Longinelli, A., (1999), Stable isotope (O, N, C) intra-specific variations in B. Primigenius skeletal remains from a pleistocene cave sequence: a proxy for detailed palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Italian Journal of Quaternary Sciences, 12(1),63-68
Nielsen-Marsh, C.M. & Hedges R.E.M., (1999), Bone porosity and the use of mercury intrusion porosimetry in bone diagenesis studies, Archaeometry, 41,165-174
O'Connell, T.C. & Hedges, R.E.M., (1999), Isotopic comparison of hair and bone: archaeological analyses, Journal of Archaeological Science, 26,661-665
Richards, M. P. & Hedges, R. E. M., (1999), A Neolithic revolution? New evidence of diet in the British Neolithic, Antiquity, 73,891-897
Richards, M. P. & Hedges, R. E. M., (1999), Stable Isotope evidence for similarities in the types of marine foods used by Late Mesolithic humans at sites along the Atlantic Coast of Europe, Journal of Archaeological Science, 26,717-722
Richards, M., Molleson, T. & Hedges, R. E. M., (1998), Stable isotope analysis reveals variations in human diet at the Poundbury Camp Cemetery site, Journal of Archaeological Science, 25,1247-1252
Webb, S. C., Hedges, R. E. M. & Robinson, M., (1998), The seaweed fly Thoracochaeta zosterae (Hal.) (Diptera: sphaerocidae) in inland archaeological contexts: δ13C and δ15N solves the puzzle, Journal of Archaeological Science, 25,1253-1257
Webb, S. C., Hedges, R. E. M. and Simpson, S. J., (1998), Diet quality influences the δ13C and δ15N of locusts and their biochemical components, Journal of Experimental Biology, 201,2903-2911
Webb, S.C., Simpson, S.J. and Hedges, R.E.M., (1998), The effect of diet quality on δ13C and δ15N in the tissues of locusts, Locusta Migratoria L, Isotopes Environ. Health Stud, 34,43-51
Nielsen-Marsh, C.M. and Hedges, R.E.M., (1997), Dissolution experiments on modern and diagenetically altered bone and the effect on the infrared splitting factor, Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, 168 (4),485-490
O'Connell, T.C., R.E.M. Hedges and G.J. van Klinken, (1997), An improved method for measuring racemization of amino acids from archaeological bone, Ancient Biomolecules, 1,215-220
Millard, A. R. and Hedges, R. E. M., (1996), A diffusion-adsorption model of uranium uptake by archaeological bone, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 60 (12),2139-2152
Weser,U., Kaup, Y., Etspuler, H., Kenward, N. & Hedges, R.E.M, (1996), Biochemically and Immunologically Active Alkaline Phosphatase in Archaeologically Important Bone Samples, Journal of Archaeological Science, 23,723-730
Evershed, R. P., Turner-Walker, G., Hedges, R. E. M., Tuross, N. and Leyden, A. J., (1995), Preliminary results for the analysis of lipids in ancient bone, Journal of Archaeological Science, 22,277-290
Hedges, R. E. M. & Millard, A. R., (1995), Bones and groundwater: towards the modelling of diagenetic processes, Journal of Archaeological Science, 22,155-164
Hedges, R. E. M., Millard, A. R. & Pike, A. W. G., (1995), Measurements and relationships of diagenetic alteration of bone from three archaeological sites, Journal of Archaeological Science, 22,201-209
Kaup, Y., Etspüler, H., Kenward, N. & Hedges, R. E. M., Eiring, P., Bailyes, E. M., Luzio, J. P. & Weser,, (1995), Biochemically and immunologically active Zn2Mg alkaline phosphatase in archaeologically important bone samples, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 59 (2 & 3),355
Millard, A. R. and Hedges, R. E. M., (1995), The role of the environment in uranium uptake by buried bone, Journal of Archaeological Science, 22,239-250
van Klinken, G. J. and Hedges, R. E. M., (1995), Experiments on collagen-humic interations: speed of humic uptake, and effects of diverse chemical treatments, Journal of Archaeological Science, 22,263- 270

Contributions to Edited Books

Hedges, R.E.M., Stevens, R.E. & Koch, P.L., (2006), Isotopes in bone and teeth: in “Iotopes in palaeoenvironmental research" (ed. Leng, M.J.), vol.10 of Developments in Environmental Rese”, pp , Springer, The Netherlands.
Privat, K., O.Connell, T.C., Neal ,K. & Hedges, R.E.M, (2004), Fermented dairy product analysis and palaeodietary repercussions: is stable isotope analysis not cheesy enough?: in “"The Archaeology of Animal Fats, Oils and Dairying" (eds. J. Mulville & A. Outram.)”, pp , Oxford: Oxbow Books.
O'Connell, T.C., Levine M.A. & Hedges, R.E.M, (2003), The importance of fish in the diet of central Eurasian peoples from the Mesolithic to the Early Iron Age: in “"Prehistoric Steppe Adaptation and the Horse", (eds. M.A. Levine, C. Renfrew & K. Boyle). Cambridge”, pp 253-268, McDonald Institute Monograph.
Hedges, R.E.M., (2001), Dating in archaeology; past, present and future: in “ Handbook of Archaeological Sciences (ed. D. R. Brothwell &A. M. Pollard),”, pp 3-8, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd..
Hedges, R.E.M. & van Klinken, G.J, (2000), Consider a spherical cow..- on modelling and diet: in “"Biogeochemical Approaches to Paleodietary Analysis" (eds. S. H. Ambrose and M. A. Katzenberg),Advances in Archaeological and Museum Science, 5”, pp 211-241.
Hodgins, G. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Towards the immunological detection of media: the detection of artificially aged collagen-based paints: in “Art et Chimie, La Couleur, Actes du congrès" (eds. J. Goupy and J-P. Mohe”, pp 75-79.
Nielsen-Marsh, C., Gernaey, A., Turner-Walker, G., Hedges, R., Pike, A. & Collins, M, (2000), The Chemical Degradation of Bone In Human OsteologyThe Chemical Degradation of Bone In Human Osteology: in “"Archaeology and Forensic Science" (ed. M. Cox & S. Mays)”, pp 439-454.
O'Connell, T.C. & Hedges, R. E. M, (2000), Human diet and the isotopic values of hair keratinHuman diet and the isotopic values of hair keratin: in “"The Phenomenon of the Altai Mummies", (ed. V.I. Molodin. Novosibirsk)”, pp , Russian Academy of Sciences.
School of Archaeology > People > RLAHA : Robert Hedges