My interests lie in northern European prehistory, notably the Mesolithic and early Neolithic periods. I have recently completed a fieldwork project on the early human occupation of western Scotland in collaboration with Caroline Wickham-Jones.

My particular focus today is on the use of plants both as raw materials for the construction of items of material culture and also the detection of starchy foods in early diet.Currently I am working on the role of string and string manufacture in prehistory and I have also recently begun extracting starch from dental calculus found adhering to ancient teeth to explore the use of starch in prehistoric diet.

I am a European Union Marie Curie Outgoing International Fellow and I have recently returned from a spell in Australia where I worked with a group of starch biochemists from the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Sydney

During my time in Australia I had the good fortune to spend a short period of time in Central Australia with an Aboriginal woman, and members of her family, collecting and processing wild seeds.  This experience made me realize how important it is for us to acknowledge how little we understand the hunter-gatherer mind set, how very different it is from our own and how much we have to learn. 

I am collecting and processing samples of ancient starch from several sites, notably the Neolithic site of Catal Hoyuk, and the multi–period site of Kaman Kalehoyuk, both in Anatolia.  I have also recently collected material from sites in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Isle of Skye, Scotland, Ireland and England.

There is still no clear understanding of how survives into archaeological timescales. To study this I have created a team of international specialists; our first success is to have degraded ancient starch with a dedicated amylase thereby proving for the first time that starch can survive for several thousand years. 

With the help of volunteers and students I am compiling a reference collection of starchy tubers native to Europe and Anatolia.

I enjoy organizing international conferences and particularly focus on bringing together regional researchers in ethnoarchaeology.  Thanks to a Wenner Gren Foundation grant and the support of the Foundation of Lodz University I was able to co-organise a WAC inter-congress on Archaeological Invisibility and Forgotten knowledge.  

 Along with several collaborators we have recently been awarded another Wenner Gren Foundation grant to hold a conference on the archaeology and ethnoarchaeology of shell middens which will take place next April (2008) in Senegal. I have also begun to organize a conference on ethnoarchaeology in Pune, India with a group of Indian colleagues to take place in 2010.

I have 5 children and am therefore a leading expert in combining children with fieldwork, artifacts, computers, suitcases and au pairs. Consequently many of my publications are either not yet written or only recently completed and in press (see below pictures for the list). 


In Press. Hardy K.  Prehistoric String Theory.  How twisted fibres helped to shape the world.  Antiquity.

In Press.  Hardy K. Where would we be without string?  Ethnographic and prehistoric evidence for the use, manufacture and role of string in the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic of northern Europe.  Préhistoire et ethnographie du travail des plantes Actes de la Table ronde de l’Université de Gand (Belgique), 28 novembre 2006. Edited by Valérie Beugnier and Philippe Crombé.  BAR International Series.

In Press.  Hardy K. Assessment of the potential for survival, extraction and identification of starch granules at Kaman-Kalehöyük, Turkey.  AAS XVI.  Kaman, Turkey.

In Press. Hardy K.  Starch.  In Çatalhöyük 2007 Archive report. Çatalhöyük Research Project.

 In Press. Hardy K. Tools were made to be used: use-wear analysis, residues and ethnoarchaeology as means to determine use.    Bond C. (ed.) Lithic technology, manufacture and replication studies reconsidered. (BAR)

In Press.  Hardy K, C.R. Wickham-Jones  (eds.) Mesolithic and later sites around the Inner Sound, Scotland: the Scotland's First Settlers project 1998 – 2004. SAIR. (Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports)

In Press. Hardy K., S Birch, R. Shiel. Bevel-ended bone tools from Scottish Mesolithic sites. Proceedings of the Meso 2005 conference,  BAR. 

In Press. Hardy K. Recent stone tool use and material culture of the Wola, Papua New Guinea.  Proceedings of the Meso 2005 conference,  BAR. 

In Press. Hardy K, R. Shiel & D. Manning.  Residues and use-wear analysis.  In Waddington, C. (Ed.) Mesolithic Settlement in the North Sea Basin. A Case Study from Howick, Northumberland. Oxford, Oxbow.

2007. Hardy K. Food for thought.  Tubers, seeds and starch in hunter gatherer diet.  Mesolithic Miscellany.  18:2.

2006  Hardy K.  La litica tallada y la cultura material de los Wola, de Papua, Nueva Guinea.  Proceedings of the Etnoarqueologia de la prehistòria: més enllà de l’analogia conference. Barcelona Sept 2004. Departament d’Arqueologia i Antropologia.  Institucio Mila I Fontanels. CSIC. Barcelona.

2006.  Chapman J., Gaydarska B.,Hardy K.   Does enclosure make a difference?  A view from the Balkans..A. Harding, S. Sievers and N. Venclova eds.  Enclosing the Past:  inside and outside in prehistory.  Sheffield, J.R. Collis Publications, pp 5-19.

2006  Hardy K. Plants for food plants as raw materials: plant use in the past and one way to detect it. Past. April 2006.

2004  Hardy K.,  C. R. Wickham-Jones  Scotland’s First Settlers.  The study of an archaeological seascape.  Proceedings of the Scottish Archaeological Forum 2001: Modern Views - Ancient Lands: New Work and Thought on Cultural Landscape.

2004    Wickham-Jones, C.R., K. Hardy   Camas Daraich: A Mesolithic site at Point of Sleat, Skye.  SAIR. 12  (Scottish Archaeological Internet Reports)

2003  Hardy K. & P Sillitoe.      Material Perspectives: stone tool use and material culture among the Wola, PNG. Internet Archaeology:14.

2003  Sillitoe P., K. Hardy  Living Lithics. Ethnography and archaeology in Highland Papua New Guinea.  Antiquity:77, 297:555-566..

2003  Hardy K.,  C.R.  Wickham-Jones  Scotland´s First Settlers: An Investigation into Settlement,  territoriality and mobility during the Mesolithic in the Inner Sound,  Scotland, in L. Larsson, H. Kindgren, A. Åkerlund, K. Kuntsson K. and D. Loeffler, .Mesolithic on the Move: Proceedings of the Meso 2000 conference, Oxford: Oxbow Book

2002  Hardy K.,  C.R. Wickham-Jones  Scotland's First Settlers:  the Mesolithic Seascape of the Inner Sound, Skye and its contribution to the early prehistory of Scotland.  Antiquity 76(3) 825-833.