Dr Kerry Sayle
- Research Scientist (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre)
I manage the running of the light stable isotope facility for the SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory in support of both collaborative research and commercial work.
In collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, I developed methodologies to simultaneously analyse δ15N, δ13C, and δ34S isotopes on small archaeological bone collagen/dentine samples (~1–1.5mg).
Those interested in using the facility should contact myself in the first instance and prior to submitting grant applications.
I am an isotope chemist specialising in the analysis archaeological bone collagen and tooth dentine.
- My main research interests include using nitrogen (δ15N), carbon (δ13C), and sulfur (δ34S) stable isotope analysis to investigate diet, mobility, and social status within pre-historic societies.
- I also exploit the use of sulfur isotope analysis (δ34S) in conjunction with radiocarbon (14C) dating to better understand marine and freshwater reservoir effects.
- I collaborate with archaeologists to produce more robust and precise Bayesian chronologies for archaeological sites.
Collaborative research projects are strongly encouraged. PhD project proposals and visitors interested in training at the facilty are warmly welcomed.
ONGOING COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS
- ERC – TRADITION: Long-term coastal adaptation, food security and poverty alleviation in Latin America. (2019–2025). https://erc-tradition.com/
- Leverhulme Trust – ArchaeoFINS: Medieval Archaeology of Fishing around the Irish and North Seas. (2022–2025). https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/en/projects/archaeofins-medieval-archaeology-of-fishing-around-the-irish-and-
- ANR – WOMENSOFAR: Individual life histories and WOMEN Status at the Onset of FARming. Bioarchaeological perspectives in the French and Mediterranean Prehistoric context. (2022–2026). https://womensofar.hypotheses.org/
- Icelandic Heritage Foundation Antiquities Fund – Svínasaga: The use of pigs during the Settlement Period. (2023–2024).
- (UKRI) Horizon Europe Guarantee Fund – PALaEoScot: People, Animals, Landscapes and Environments of Late Glacial Scotland. (2023–2028).
PAST COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS
- ERC – UP-NORTH: Colonisation and cultural diversification in unfamiliar landscapes. (2018–2020). https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/617777
Mapping the Icelandic Sea-Spray Effect: Implications for Palaeodietary Reconstruction and Chronology Building. Sayle. (British Academy/Leverhulme). £5,390. 2016.
Sulphur isotope analysis of water sources in Mývatnssveit, Iceland: an insight into early settler diets. Sayle. (Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland). £2,470. 2013.
CURRENT POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS
External Doctoral Committee Advisor:
- Ármann Guðmundsson (2023–) School of Humanities, University of Iceland.
PAST POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS
- Nicoline Schjerven (MSc completed 2021) – ‘Beyond the Harbour. Tracing animal mobility in the context of an urban Viking Age town, utilising a multi isotopic approach’. Institute of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo.
VISITING POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS
- Orsolya Czére (2017–2019): Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities Student Development Fund. Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen.
I joined the SUERC Radiocarbon Laboratory as a member of the technical team in August 2009 after spending a number of years in industry working for Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisations (CDMOs) as a Research & Development Chemist. In 2011 I was promoted to Research Associate and began developing methodologies for analysing sulfur isotope values in archaeological bone samples.
Ph.D. Medicinal Chemistry – Northern Institute for Cancer Research, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 2000–2003
M.Chem. (Hons) Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry – University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1996–2000