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Archaeology and History

Photo of Dr Carly Ameen

Dr Carly Ameen

Lecturer in Bioarchaeology


01392 726248


Carly Ameen (she/her) is an archaeological scientist specialising in bioarchaeology. She is an expert on the application of geometric morphometrics (GMM) to the study of archaeological materials and leads a morphometrics lab group as part of the Centre for HumAnE Bioarchaeology. Some of her most significant work has been on exploring the anthropogenic evolution of our closest domestic companions, namely dogs, and horses, as well as expanding methodological approaches to digital heritage.  

Carly teaches bioarchaeology and zooarchaeology courses at the undergradute and masters level. She also covers other aspects of archaeological method and theory, including research design, and contributes to archaeological and forensic science courses. She also co-directs the SHArD 3D Lab alongside Dr. Laura Evis. 

Carly is presently the Admissions Officer and Senior Tutor for Archaeology. 

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Carly's work focuses on the cultural and biological evolution of human-animal partnerships. She explore questions surrounding the emergence of distinctive breeds of domestic mammals, and the continuation of morphological and biological diversity exhibited through the long-term association of animals with humans and anthropogenic environments.

Geometric morphometrics

As an expert in geometric morphometrics, Carly investigates how animal bone respond to human management techniques, in order to distinguish between the faunal remains of closely related animals and to identify domesticates in archaeological contexts. She is primarily interested in how changes in animal bone morphology are related to changing husbandry practices and the unique cultural roles of animals in the past. Her research focuses on the use of Geometric Morphometrics (GMM) in combination with stable isotope ecology (primarily carbon and nitrogen isotopes) to explore the diet, environment, and mobility of ancient animals, and the sustainability of past animal exploitation practices. 

HumAnE Bioarchaeology

The Centre for Human-Animal-Envionmental Bioarchaeology focuses on developing world leading research on themes of human-animal-environmental interactions and the influence of these relationships on human societies both today and in the past. HumAnE promotes a full-suite analytical methodology (combining studies of osteology, metrics, pathology, genetics and isotopes) to the analysis of wild and domestic animals, and humans remains. Increasingly our work aligns with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focussed on providing a deep-time perspective to some of the largest issues facing humans, animals and our shared environment today. This work includes exploring the long-term relationship between humans both domestic animals and their wild counterparts and Carly is interested in exploring the localised extinctions of wild animals, such as the wolf and the wild boar, and contextualising these historical extinctions in the framework of modern rewilding policy. Increasingly her research is seeking to create a comprehensive picture of human-animal-environmental relationships in the past in order to better understand those relationships today.

Warhorse: Archaeology of a medieval revolution

Carly is a senior researcher on the "Warhorse" project, which is a collaborative AHRC funded research project, lead by Professors Oliver Creighton and Alan Outram. Her work on the Warhorse project focuses on the zooarchaeological analysis of equid remains from key archaeological sites across Britian to provide a deeper-time perspective on the impact of this Medieval icon on both the broader cultural landscape of the Middle Ages, as well as on the biology of the horse itself. Her research combines traditional zooarchaeological methods with geometric morphometrics and stable isotope analysis to reconstruct changing human-equid relationships.

  Deciphering Dog Domestication Carly has been involved in a long running colloborative project on the origins of the dog, our first domestic animal. This project, which has analysed almost 10,000 individual dog bones to date, aims to directly address where, when, and how many times dogs were domesticated. Carly works with Dr. Allowen Evin on the morphometrics package of this project, which is seeking to characterise and track fine-scale morphometric variation in wolves and dogs through space and time, in order to idenfity incipient domestic morphologies. These data are combined with analysis of canids DNA, led by Prof. Greger Larson and Dr. Laurent Frantz, to create a comprehensive picture of canid bio-cultural history. The large dataset of archaeological canids has also allowed for her to exmaine the emergence of specalised dog breeds, and to reconsider the biological markers of domestication in canids.   

Research collaborations

"From Feed the Birds to Do Not Feed the Animals" PI Prof. Naomi Sykes (Wellcome Trust)

"Warhorse: The Archaeology of a Military Revolution?", PI Prof. Oliver Creighton, University of Exeter (AHRC)

Exploring the Easter E.g.- Shifting Baselines and Changing Perceptions of Cultural and Biological ‘Aliens’”, PI Prof. Naomi Sykes, University of Exeter (AHRC).

Deciphering dog domestication through a combined ancient DNA and geometric morphometric approach”, PI: Prof. Greger Larson, Oxford University (NERC)

"Understanding Cultural Resilience and Climate Change on the Bering Sea through Yup’ik Ecological Knowledge, Lifeways, Learning and Archaeology" ELLA Project, PI: Dr. Rick Knecht, University of Aberdeen (AHRC)


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Carly is open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject within her areas of research expertise, and am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in the following areas:

Bioarchaeology, zooarchaeology, geometric morphometrics, 3D modelling, human-animal relationships

Research students

Current PhD Students

  • Jessica Peto - 'Assessing bio-cultural impacts on British biodiversity, AD 0 – 1000'
  • Jack Sudds - Medieval deer management
  • Felix Sedebeck - 'Conquest by Cattle' 

Past Students

  • Helene Benkert - 'The zooarchaeological view on the role of horses in European medieval warfare and beyond'

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| To Appear | 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 |

To Appear

  • Pryor A, Ameen C, Outram A, Creighton O, et. A. Isotopic biographies reveal horse rearing and trading networks in medieval London, Science Advances.







  • Ameen C, Feuerborn TR, Brown SK, Linderholm A, Hulme-Beaman A, Lebrasseur O, Sinding M-HS, Lounsberry ZT, Lin AT, Appelt M. (2019) Specialized sledge dogs accompanied Inuit dispersal across the North American Arctic, Proc Biol Sci, volume 286, no. 1916, DOI:10.1098/rspb.2019.1929. [PDF]
  • Evin A, Hulme-Beaman A, Ameen C, Cucchi T, Larson G, Dobney K. (2019) Unravelling Phenotypic Evolution during Domestication Using Modern and Archaeological Remains, JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY, volume 280, pages S5-S5. [PDF]




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External impact and engagement

Contribution to discipline

Member of the AHRC Peer Review College (2022-2025)

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Carly was appointed as a lecturer in bioarchaeology in the department in October 2022. She holds degrees in both archaeological science and anthropology and completed her PhD at the University of Liverpool in 2018 as part of the NERC funded “Deciphering Dog Domestication” project following study at the University of Aberdeen (MSc 2014) and Williams College (BA 2011). Her doctoral research focused on exploring the morphometric variability in prehistoric New World dogs, and investigated how changes in canid morphology can reflect changes in the cultural, technological and economic use of dogs in the Americas. She joined the department in Exeter in 2018 as a research associate on the AHRC 'Exploring the Easter E.g.' project, and from 2019-2022 worked as a research fellow and project officer for the AHRC project 'Warhorse: The Archaeology of a Military Revolution'.

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