Caroline Cartwright


+44 (0)20 7323 8581


Caroline Cartwright’s primary areas of scientific expertise cover the identification and interpretation of organics such as wood, charcoal, fibres and other plant remains, shell, ivory and bone from all areas and time periods in the British Museum’s collection.

She has led many teams of archaeobotanists, archaeozoologists and human osteologists on archaeological projects in various parts of the world including the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.

Before taking up her post at the British Museum, Caroline was a lecturer for many years at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London teaching the topics mentioned above as well as ceramic and stone petrography, lithic technology and early agriculture. Her research interests have focused on the human resource exploitation of plant and animals, modelling environmental reconstruction, past human ecology and subsistence change. Also, in examining the evidence from the archaeological record for the biology, biogeography and diversity of Mediterranean-climate ecosystems.

Current projects

Mesoamerican shell, wood and other plant remains

Mesoamerican copal resins

Icons (wood)

Nebamun wall paintings (organics)

Tell es-Sa’idiyeh (organics - ivory, bone, charcoal, grain and seeds etc)

Ringlemere (organics)

Mesoamerican copal resins

Fitzwilliam Museum coffin catalogue (wood)

Syrian helmets (wood)

Egyptian mummy portraits (wood)

Egyptian wooden coffins and other funerary items

Salcombe (wood)

Hoxne (wood)

Previous projects

Mexican turquoise mosaics (shell, wood, plant fibres etc)

Jericho wood

Ra’s al-Hadd (Oman) (shell, plant remains, fish bones etc)

Stonea Grange (wood)

Runnymede (organics)

Arctic clothing (animal hair)

Limestone stelae

Sutton Hoo (organics)

External fellowships/ honorary positions/ membership of professional bodies

Keeper of Natural History Collections, Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF)

Member of the International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA)

Chairman, Grants Committee, Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF)

Recent publications

C.R.Cartwright, 'Reconstructing the use of coastal resources at Ra’s al-Hadd, Oman, in the third millennium BC' Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, 34 (2004), pp.45-51

C.R.Cartwright, 'Grapes or raisins? An Early Bronze Age larder under the microscope; Antiquity 77 (296), (2003) pp.345-348

C.R.Cartwright, 'Grape and grain; dietary evidence from an Early Bronze Age store at Tell es-Sa'idiyeh, Jordan' Palestine Exploration Quarterly, 134 (2002) pp. 98-117

C.R.Cartwright, 'Egyptian mummy portraits: examining the woodworkers’ craft', in M. Bierbrier (ed.) Portraits and Masks. Burial Customs in Roman Egypt (British Museum Press, London, 1997) pp.106-11

C.R.Cartwright, 'The wood charcoal assemblages from Elands Bay Cave, southwestern Cape: principles, procedures and preliminary interpretation', with J. Parkington South African Archaeological Bulletin (1997) pp.52;59-72