We’re delighted to introduce the 15 Early Career Researchers who have been selected to present their cutting edge research at the AHRC Science in Culture Theme Ignite event on 26th March 2014. The event will be held at the Natural History Museum and limited tickets are still available.

The fourth Science in Culture Theme Ignite Speaker is:

DR TYR FOTHERGILL, University of Leicester, ‘The Turkey or the Egg? Cycles of Reflexivity in Research of a Domesticate Species’

Fothergill editedIn the spirit of Ignite can you describe your topic in 140 characters?

Bones of diseased 19th-century turkeys excavated from the Royal London Hospital show how the ethic of ‘improvement’ affected animal health.

What would you like people to take away from your Ignite talk?

Studying the archaeology of animal disease provides valuable data on the health of domestic species, but only evidence from history and the other humanities can contextulise these data in ways which allow us to further interpret and illustrate how humans and animals lived together in the past.

How did you get involved in interdisciplinary research across Sciences and Arts and Humanities?

Whilst I was conducting fieldwork for my PhD, I found a number of turkey wing bones (ulnae) from several different archaeological sites in the American Southwest. All had been broken at the same location and in similar ways; these injuries could not be easily explained by either wild turkey biology or behaviour. This led me to look to disciplines outside of archaeological science for different perspectives on turkey-human relationships.

Tell us a bit about your academic background.

I have studied in three countries which has encouraged me to incorporate a broad range of perspectives and methods into my research strategy. I completed my BA at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA and my MA at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada. I undertook my PhD at the University of Leicester and have recently returned to Leicester to take up a post as Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the AHRC Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken Interactions Project.

A film of Dr Tyr Fothergill’s presentation at the AHRC Science in Culture Theme Ignite event is available here.