UHI PhD Student Magdalena Awarded Prize at AEA Conference

Magdalena presenting her paper at the AEA Conference in Denmark

Magdalena Blanz, PhD Student at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, is undertaking research into seaweed as fodder, food and fertiliser in the North Atlantic Islands: past, present and future opportunities.

Magdalena attended the AEA 2018 conference, hosted by the Association for Environmental Archaeology at Moesgaard Museum, near Aarhus, Denmark from 29th November to 1st December 2018.

Magdalena’s paper was  entitled “Recreating past effects of seaweed-fertilisation on the isotopic and chemical composition of barley to further palaeodietary reconstructions” for which she was awarded the prize for best student presentation at the conference.

The research concerns how fertilisation with seaweed changes the chemical and isotopic composition of the barley, and what implications this may have for reconstructing past diets. In this study, barley was fertilised with seaweed, and found an elevation in δ15N values of the seaweed-fertilised crops. This indicates that when we study δ15N values in animal and human remains, the position of the consumers of these crops in the foodchain (i.e. trophic level) may be overestimated if seaweed-fertilisation is not taken into account.

Magdalena receiving her prize

For more information on Magdalena’s research and experimental phase of the project, see her previous blog posts:

This PhD studentship is funded by the European Social Fund and Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme


If you are interested in postgraduate research at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute then please do not hesitate to get in touch by e-mailing studyarchaeology@uhi.ac.uk or see our guide page on this blog.