Dr. Amy Styring
Humboldt Research fellow

Campus Westend, Poelzig-Building
Room Q4, 6.417

Tel: 069 798-32091
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Goethe University
Institute of Archaeological Sciences
Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1, Fach 3

60629 Frankfurt am Main

Research interests

Research projects

Academic career


Research interests
  • Isotopengeochemie (δ13C, δ15N, 87Sr/86Sr in Pflanzen, Knochen und Zähnen von Tieren und Menschen)

  • Mensch-Umwelt-Verhältnis im Altertum (Landnutzung, Landwirtschaft, Klima usw.)


Research projects

2017- : Humboldt Research Fellow, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany

Refining crop isotopic approaches to understanding past farming practice: gaining an archaeological insight into agricultural sustainability in West Africa

I am using isotope analysis of modern and ancient crops to reconstruct past farming practice in the Sahel region of West Africa. The aim is to gain an understanding of the long-term effects of climatic and environmental change on agricultural sustainability, in a region that today is vulnerable to the repercussions of global warming.

2013-2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford, UK
AGRICURB: The Agricultural Origins of Urban Civilization’ European Research Council Project.

As part of this project I used isotope analysis of ancient crop remains and human and animal bone collagen from south-west Asia and western Europe to reconstruct past farming regimes and better understand the relationship between early farming practice and social change, in particular with the emergence of urbanism.

2007-2012: PhD, University of Bristol, UK

‘Crop δ15N Value Expression in Bone Collagen of Ancient Fauna and Humans: A New Approach to Palaeodietary and Agricultural Reconstruction’

During my PhD I developed a method to determine the δ15N value of amino acids in archaeological bones and modern cereals, with the aim of identifying the use of manure in the past

Academic career

Since 2017

Humboldt Research fellow at the Goethe Universität Frankfurt with a research project entitled: ‘Refining crop isotopic approaches to understanding past farming practice: gaining an archaeological insight into agricultural sustainability in West Africa

2013 – 2017

Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, UK as part of the ‘AGRICURB: The Agricultural Origins of Urban Civilization‘ European Research Council Project.

2007 – 2012

PhD in Archaeological Chemistry at the University of Bristol, UK with a thesis entitled: ‘Crop d15N Value Expression in Bone Collagen of Ancient Fauna and Humans: A New Approach to Palaeodietary and Agricultural Reconstruction’

2004 – 2007

BSc in Archaeology and Chemistry (first-class honours) at the University of Exeter, UK



Styring, A.K., Evans, J.A., Nitsch, E.K., Lee-Thorp, J.A., Bogaard, A., (2018) Revisiting the potential of carbonised grain to preserve biogenic 87Sr/86Sr signatures within the burial environment. Archaeometry.

Styring, A.K., Knipper, C., Müller-Scheeßel, N., Grupe, G., Bogaard, A., (2018) The proof is in the pudding: crop isotope analysis provides direct insights into agricultural production and consumption. Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology.

Bogaard, A., Styring A.K., Whitlam J., Fochesato M. & Bowles S. (2018) Farming, inequality and urbanization: a comparative analysis of late prehistoric northern Mesopotamia and south-west Germany. In Kohler T. & Smith M. E. (eds) Ten Thousand Years of Inequality: The Archaeology of Wealth Differences. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, Amerind Seminar Series, pp. 201-229.


Styring A.K., Charles M., Fantone F., Hald M.M., McMahon A., Meadow R.H., Nicholls G.K., Patel A.K., Pitre M.C., Smith A., Sołtysiak A., Stein G., Weber J.A., Weiss H. & Bogaard A. (2017) New isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world’s first cities were fed. Nature Plants.

Styring A.K., Rösch M., Stephan E., Stika H-P., Fischer E., Sillmann, M. & Bogaard A. (2017) Centralisation and long-term change in farming regimes: comparing agricultural practices in Neolithic and Iron Age south-west Germany. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.


Bogaard, A., Arbogast, R-M., Ebersbach, R., Fraser, R. A., Knipper, C., Krahn, C., Schäfer, M., Styring, A. K. & Krause, R. (2016) The Bandkeramik settlement of Vaihingen an der Enz, Kreis Ludwigsburg (Baden-Württemberg):  an integrated perspective on land use, economy and diet. Germania 94, 1-60.

Bogaard A., Styring A.K., Ater M., Hmimsa Y., Green L., Stroud E., Whitlam J., Diffey C., Nitsch E., Charles M., Jones G. & Hodgson J. (2016) From traditional farming in Morocco to early urban agroecology in northern Mesopotamia: combining present-day arable weed surveys and crop isotope analysis to reconstruct past agrosystems in (semi-)arid regions. Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology.

Styring A.K., Ater M., Hmimsa Y., Fraser R.A., Miller H., Neef R., Pearson J.A. & Bogaard A. (2016) Disentangling the effect of farming practice from aridity on crop stable isotope values: A present-day model from Morocco and its application to early farming sites in the eastern Mediterranean, The Anthropocene Review 3, 2-22.

Styring A.K., Maier U., Schlichtherle H. & Bogaard A. (2016) Cultivation of choice: new insights into farming practices at Neolithic lakeshore sites. Antiquity 349, 95-110.


Styring A.K., Fraser R.A., Arbogast R.-M., Halstead P., Isaakidou V., Pearson J.A., Schäfer M., Triantaphyllou S., Valamoti S.M., Wallace M., Bogaard A. & Evershed R.P. (2015) Refining human palaeodietary reconstruction using amino acid δ15N values of plants, animals and humans. Journal of Archaeological Science 53, 504–515.

Bogaard A., Hodgson J., Nitsch E., Jones G., Styring A.K., Diffey C., Pouncett J., Herbig C., Charles M., Ertug F., Tugay O., Filipovic D. & Fraser R.A. (2015) Combining functional weed ecology and crop stable isotope ratios to identify cultivation intensity: a comparison of cereal production regimes in Haute Provence, France and Asturias, Spain. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 1–17.


Styring A.K., Fraser R.A., Bogaard A. & Evershed R.P. (2014) The effect of manuring on cereal and pulse amino acid δ15N values. Phytochemistry 102, 40–45.

Styring A.K., Fraser R.A., Bogaard A. & Evershed R.P., (2014) Cereal grain, rachis and pulse seed amino acid δ15N values as indicators of plant nitrogen metabolism. Phytochemistry 97, 20-29.


Bogaard A., Fraser R.A., Heaton T.H.E., Wallace M., Vaiglova P., Charles M., Jones G., Evershed R.P., Styring A.K., Andersen N.H., Arbogast R.-M., Bartosiewicz L., Gardeisen A., Kanstrup M., Maier U., Marinova E., Ninov L., Schäfer M. & Stephan E. (2013) Crop manuring and intensive land management by Europe’s first farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12589–12594.

Styring A.K., Manning H., Fraser R.A., Wallace M., Jones G., Charles M., Heaton T.H.E., Bogaard A. & Evershed R. P. (2013) The effect of charring and burial on the biochemical composition of cereal grains: Investigating the integrity of archaeological plant material. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 4767-4779.


Styring A.K., Kuhl A., Knowles T.D.J., Fraser R.A., Bogaard A. & Evershed R.P. (2012) Practical considerations in the determination of compound-specific amino acid d15N values in animal and plant tissues by gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry, following derivatisation to their N-acetylisopropyl esters. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 26, 2328-2334.


Styring A.K., Sealy J. and Evershed R.P. (2010) Resolving the bulk d15N values of ancient human and animal bone collagen via compound-specific nitrogen isotope analysis of constituent amino acids. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 74, 241-251.