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Dr Svetlana Svyatko

<p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Research Interests</span>: osteology, physical anthropology, dental pathology, Russian and Crimean archaeology, <a href="">stable isotope analysis</a>, radiocarbon dating.</p>

Research Interests: osteology, physical anthropology, dental pathology, Russian and Crimean archaeology, stable isotope analysis, radiocarbon dating.


2010 - PhD Physical Anthropology, Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland 2005 - MSc (Hons) in History, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia



Archaeology and Palaeoecology
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 5123

Current Research: Past Cultural Change

   Currently I am doing experimental work in the Radiocarbon laboratory of the 14CHRONO Centre, QUB

   Recent research: Palaeodietary analysis of prehistoric populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia
   My Ph.D. research project was concerned with the palaeodietary analysis of the Eneolithic – Early Iron Age populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia. The research was an international project organized by the 14CHRONO Centre for Climate, the Environment, and Chronology (Queen’s University of Belfast) and Department of Physical Anthropology of the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg, and funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.
   The research represented the first attempt to study the complex inter-relationships between the environment, lifestyle and diet of the prehistoric populations of the Minusinsk Basin. The region has unique climatic and geographical specifics. It is a naturally isolated steppe and forest-steppe depression, located in the modern Republic of Khakasia and Krasnoyarsk District in Southern Siberia, Russian Federation. The main objective of the study was to gain an understanding of the reasons behind the dietary and economic changes that occurred in the region from the Eneolithic to Iron Age periods.
   The research focused on human remains derived from the five main archaeological cultures of the region dated from 30th to 1st centuries BC. Two main methods were employed: carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis and dental palaeopathology analysis. Additionally, statistical analysis of the associated graves was undertaken to clarify the social structure of each population and its possible relationship with the diet. A new program of radiocarbon dating was performed on the remains to fit the dietary and economic changes within a reliable chronological timeframe.
   The obtained results suggest that the millet cultivation was introduced in the Minusinsk Basin approximately in the 14th century BC. Apparently, millet came from Northern China and thus Southern Siberia appeared to be one of the first regions encountered the spread of millet in the eastern part of Russia. The unexpectedly stable consumption of fish in all studied populations indicated that fishing was a continuously important economic staple throughout the Eneolithic – Early Iron Age of the Minusinsk Basin.



a) Book chapters

1. Svyatko, S. V., in press: "The Diet of the Afanasyevo Population on the Data from Stable Isotope Analysis, Dental Palaeopathology Analysis and Statistical Analysis of Associated Burials". In: N.F. Stepanova, A.V. Polyakov, S. S. Tur and P. I. Shulga (eds.). Afanasyevskiy Sbornik. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 225-233. In Russian.

2. Svyatko, S. V. and A. V. Polyakov, 2009: "New radiocarbon dates of the Bronze - Early Iron Age sites of the Middle Yenisey". In: Yu. F. Kiryushin and A. A. Tishkin (resp. eds). Rol Estestvenno-Nauchnyh Metodov v Arheologicheskih Issledovaniyah. Barnaul: Altai State University Press. P. 146-149. In Russian.

3. Svyatko, S., E. Murphy, R. Schulting and J. Mallory, 2008: "Diet of the Bronze to Early Iron Age populations of the Minusinsk Basin (Southern Siberia) according to the data from carbon and citrogen stable isotope analysis: preliminary report". In: A. A. Tishkin (ed.). Drevniye i Srednevekovyye Kochevniki Tsentralnoy Azii. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 213-216. In Russian.

b) Journal papers

1. Svyatko, S. V., J. P. Mallory, E. M. Murphy, A. V. Polyakov, P. J. Reimer and R. J. Schulting, 2009: “New Radiocarbon Dates and a Review of the Chronology of Prehistoric Populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia, Russia”, Radiocarbon 51(1), 243-273.

2. Polyakov, A. V. and S. V. Svyatko, 2009: “Radiocarbon dating of the Neolithic-Early Iron Age archaeological sites of the Middle Yenisey: Overview of the results and new data”. In: A. A. Tishkin (resp. ed.). Teoriya I Praktika Arkheologicheskih Issledovaniy V. Barnaul: Azbuka. P. 20-56. In Russian.


External Grant Funding:

1. July 2008: travel scholarship from RCUK China, Cambridge University, Peking University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences for the workshop “Rethinking agricultural beginnings in Northwest China” and fieldtrip (China, September 2008; full travel costs awarded).
2. March 2007: William & Betty MacQuitty Travel Scholarship (£1000).
3. May 2006: travel grant from the 16th European Meeting of the Palaeopathology Association organizing committee (€300).


Additional Information:


July 2009: PhD in Physical Anthropology, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast. Thesis title: “Palaeodietary analysis of prehistoric populations from the Minusinsk Basin, Southern Siberia”. Supervisors: Dr E. Murphy (QUB), Prof. J. Mallory (QUB), Dr R. Schulting (University of Oxford) and Dr V. Khartanovich (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences).

July 2005:  MSc (Honors) in History, Department of History, Saint-Petersburg State University. Thesis title: Golden Horde and the historiography of Mongolian state of the 13th-16th centuries (early 19th century perceptions of the history)”. Thesis advisers: Prof. E. V. Letenkov (SPbSU) and Dr. Mark G. Kramarovskiy (the State Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg).

Field Experience:

Since 2003 - Invited osteoarchaeologist, summer archaeological expeditions to Staryi Krym (site of Bokatash II), Sebastopol (Chersonese) and Kerch (Iluraton and Kitey, also Myrmekion and Nymphaeum), Crimea, Ukraine. Excavations and anthropological survey of the human remains from the medieval Mongolian and Ancient Greek, Roman and Scythian sites.

September 2008 - Fieldtrip to Gansu Province, China: examination of the local archaeological sites which yielded substantial amounts of various cereals.

July-August 2007 - Research trip to Minusinsk (Southern Siberia) and Moscow: survey of different archaeological sites in the Minusinsk Basin and study of the osteological and archive materials in the N.M. Martyanov Regional Minusinsk Museum, sampling important osteological and floral materials from various parts of the Minusinsk Basin; study of the archive materials in the Institute of Archaeology (RAS), Moscow.

2006–2007 - Three research trips to Saint-Petersburg: collecting of the background archival and library information for the archaeology of the Minusinsk Basin, recording and sampling human and faunal individuals from relevant institutions and private collections.

Laboratory Experience:

2006-present: Radiocarbon laboratory of the School of GAP, QUB (sampling skeletons, preparation of bone collagen and other samples for radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analysis).

2004-2005: Department of Physical Anthropology, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Saint-Petersburg, Russia (sorting out human bone pathology collections, cataloguing osteological materials, working with archives and libraries).

Research Communication:

1. April 2011: 6th International Symposium on Radiocarbon and Archaeology, Paphos, Cyprus.
2. November 2010: Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland Autumn Conference 2010 (attendance only), Belfast.
3. November 2009: Thursday Evening Seminar Series, School of GAP, QUB.
4. May 2009: Friday Lunchtime Talks, George Pitt-Rivers Laboratory for Bioarchaeology, University of Cambridge (invited talk).
5. September 2008: Workshop “Rethinking agricultural beginnings in Northwest China”, Jiuquan, China.
6. June/July 2008: 6th World Archaeological Congress, Dublin, Ireland.
7. February 2008: Thursday Evening Seminar Series, School of GAP, QUB.
8. October 2007: Conference “Problems of biological and cultural adaptations of human populations”, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
9. September 2007: 13th Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Zadar,Croatia.
10. September 2007: Annual Conference of the Association for Environmental Archaeology, Poznan, Poland.
11. August 2006: 16th Meeting of the Palaeopathology Association, Thira, Santorini, Greece.
12. July 2006: Seminar in the Department of Physical Anthropology, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
13. June 2006: Conference “National Museum of Ireland. Bog Bodies Research Project” (attendance only), Dublin, Ireland.

Professional membership:

International Association for Paleodontology

Other (pseudo)scientific activities:

Russian-English translation of academic texts
Languages: Russian (mother tongue), English (fluent), Spanish (fluent), French (reading), Latin (reading)
Russian Anthropology
Academic tourism