Louise Le Meillour


I am French postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen in both Collins and Welker groups at the Globe Institute. My main interests lie in applying palaeoproteomics to remains from arid environments, and more specifically about human-animals relationship, the spread of domesticates and adoption of pastoral practices in the Near East and Africa.

I did my PhD in the Natural History Museum in Paris, France, between 2017 and 2021. My doctoral project on bioarchaeology was focused on developing palaeoproteomics analyses on remains from arid environments and I focused on African prehistory. I was particularly interested in the arrival and subsequent spread of domestic sheep and goats on the African continent. Because such animals, caprines, are every similar morphologically, it is particularly challenging to distinguish between the two species, especially in environments as harsh as the ones in Africa. In addition, in such contexts, caprines not only share similarities between themselves, but also with a large number of wild bovids. Being able to clearly trace the arrival of domesticates is then a matter of clear archaeological remains' identification. That is the reason why, apart from archaeological material from sixteen different archaeological sites, I also built a modern reference protein sequences database of nineteen wild species of endemic bovids of Africa.

Prior to my arrival in Denmark, I did my BSc (Biology and History of Art-Archaeology) at Sorbonne Université and a MSc in Prehistory and Quaternary at the French National Natural History Museum in Paris. My doctoral research, conducted between several different labs of the Museum in Paris, focused on the application of palaeoproteomics to remains of domesticated caprines (sheep and goat) in Eastern and Southern African contexts from the Late Stone Age to the Iron Age, in order to better understand how these domesticates spread across the continent.

Research: Looking for constraints