Richards is a Professor in the Department of Human Evolution
where he runs the archaeological science group. His research
interests primarily involve isotope analysis in archaeology,
palaeoanthropology and palaeontology, especially for reconstructing
past diets and migration patterns. Most of his research
has involved the application of stable isotope analysis
(C and N) of bone collagen to determine human and animal
diets, and especially diet shifts, in Prehistoric and Historic
Europe. Particular areas of interest are the shift in diet
between the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods in Europe,
associated with the adoption of agriculture, and contrasting
the diets of Neanderthals and modern humans in Europe.
Mike’s current research involves the use of other
isotopes to reconstruct climate and migration patterns,
as well as the extraction and isotopic analysis of proteins
preserved in old or poorly preserved bone and teeth.
Mike studied at the Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada (BA and MA), and the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, UK (Ph.D.). He held post-doctoral positions at both institutions. He was a Lecturer, Reader and Professor at the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, UK, a position mainly funded by the Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology programme. In addition to his current post as Professor at the MPI in Leipzig, he also holds a Professorship in Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Mike’s research has been published in journals such
as Nature, PNAS, AJPA, JAS, and Current Anthropology.