Alison Harris

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Archaeology

Main Focus

I am fascinated by the experiences of women and children during the European settlement of North America. I principally use stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bulk proteins and amino acids to investigate infant feeding practices in the North Atlantic world. My research brings together bioarchaeology and feminist theory to achieve two main goals: 1) To use isotopic analysis of amino acids to better understand how physiology and nutrition interact to influence the isotopic composition of human infant tissues; and 2) To analyse family life, gender, and infant and maternal health in French and British colonial settings in eastern North America

Curriculum Vitae

I competed a BA in history at the University of Prince Edward Island and a BA(Honours) in archaeology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. I completed my MA at Memorial University and went on to do a double doctorate in archaeology and scientific archaeology at the University of York and Stockholm University. I held a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship at Memorial University. I am currently adjunct faculty at Memorial University and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology.


Scott, A., MacInnes, S., Hughes, N., Munkittrick, T.J.A., Harris, A., and Grimes, V. (2022) A bioarchaeological exploration of adolescent males in eighteenth-century Atlantic Canada. Bioarchaeology International, 

Väre, T., Harris, A.J.T., Finnilä, M., and Lidén, K. (2022) Breastfeeding in low-income families of the turn of the 19th-century town of Rauma, southwestern Finland, according to stable isotope analyses of archaeological teeth. Journal of Archaeological Sciences: Reports, 

Doherty, S.P., Collins, M.J., Harris, A.J.T., Sistiaga, A., Newton, J., and Alexander, M.M. (2022) A modern baseline for the paired isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) analysis of skin and bone in terrestrial mammals. Royal Society Open Science 9: 211587. 

Dury, J.P.R., Eriksson, G., Savinetsky, A., Dobrovolskaya, M., Dneprovsky, K., Harris, A.J.T., van der Plicht, H., Jordan, P., and Lidén, K. (2021) Species-specific reservoir effects: A case study of archaeological marine samples from the Bering Strait. Holocene, 

Soncin, S., Talbot, H., Fernandes, R., Harris, A.J.T., Korzow Richter, K., Alexander, M., Robson, H.K., Bakker, J.K., Ellis, S., Thompson, G., Amoretti, V., Osanna, M., Caso, M., Sirano, F., Fattore, L., Colonese, A., Garnsey, P., Bondioli, L., and Craig, O.E. (2021) High-resolution dietary records from victims of the AD 79 Vesuvius eruption at Herculaneum. Science Advances 7(35),

Dury, J.P.R., Lidén, K., Harris, A., and Eriksson, G. (2021) Dental wiggle matching: Radiocarbon modelling of microsampled archaeological human dentine. Quaternary International 595:118-127. 

Harris, A.J.T. (2020) Palaeodiet and infant feeding in coastal Arctic settlements. Theses and Papers in Scientific Archaeology 18. Stockholm University. 

Harris, A.J.T., Feuerborn, T.R., Sinding, M.H.S., Nottingham, J., Knudsen, R., Rey-Iglesias, A., Schmidt, A.L., Appelt, M., Grønnow, B., Alexander, M., Eriksson, G., Dalén, L., Hansen, A., and Lidén, K. (2020) Archives of human-dog relationships: Genetic and stable isotope analyses of Arctic fur clothing. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 59,

Harris, A.J.T., Elliott, D., Guiry, E.J., von Tersch, M., Rankin, L., Whitridge, P., Alexander, M., Eriksson, G., and Grimes, V. (2020) Diversity in Labrador Inuit sled dog diets: Insights from d13C and d15N analysis of bone and dentine collagen. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 32, 

Harris, A.J.T., and Elliott, D. (2019) Stable isotope analysis of North American Arctic populations: A review. Open Quaternary 5(1),

Harris, A.J.T., Duggan, A.T., Marciniak, S., Marshall, I., Fuller, B.T., Southon, J., Poinar, H., and Grimes, V. (2019) Dorset Pre-Inuit and Beothuk foodways in Newfoundland, Canada ca. AD 500-1829. Plos One 14:1-24. 

Burchell, M., and Harris, A.J.T. (2018) Stable isotopes in Canadian archaeology: Current and future directions. Special Issue: Celebrating 50 Years of the Canadian Journal of Archaeology, 42(1). 

Deal, M., Farrell, T., Hartery, L., Harris, A.J.T., and Sanders, M. (2018) Ceramic use by Middle and Late Woodland foragers of the Maritime Provinces. In K. Gibbs and P. Jordan (Eds.) Ceramics in Circumpolar prehistory: Technology, lifeways and cuisine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 168-192.

Duggan, A.T., Harris, A.J.T., Marciniak, S., Marshall, I., Kuch, M., Kitchen, A., Renaud, G., Southon, J., Fuller, B.T., Young, J., Fiedel, S., Golding, G.B., Grimes, V., and Poinar, H. (2017) Genetic discontinuity between the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk populations in Newfoundland, Canada. Current Biology 27: 3149-3156.

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