skip to content

Department of Archaeology



I conduct research on past human-animal relations in the context of changing natural and social environments. This research has focussed on past foodways and environments, in southern Europe and India during the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods. I am currently engaged in field projects focussing on the Middle Palaeolithic-Neolithic periods in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.


  • Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
  • Zooarchaeology
  • European Prehistory
  • Hunter-Gatherers
  • Food and Diet
  • The Body 

I am presently involved in the following research projects:

  • 2016-2019: 'MendTheGap - Smart Integration of Genetics with Sciences of the Past in Croatia: Minding and Mending the Gap' 692249-H2020-TWINN-2015
  • 2010-present: 'Excavations at Vela Spila Cave (Korčula, Croatia)
  • 2010-present: 'Excavation at Rastuša Cave (Republika Srpska, Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Related links:


Key publications: 
[1] Farbstein R., Radic D., Brajkovic D. and Miracle P.T. (2012). First Epigravettian ceramic figurines from Europe (Vela Spila, Croatia). PLoS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041437.
[2] Miracle P.(2011). Sex and size of the Krapina cave bears, Fragments of Ice Age Environments. Proceedings in Honour of Ivan Turk’s Jubilee, Vol.21 (Opera Instituti Archaeologici Sloveniae.) Ljubljana: Inštitut za arheologijo ZRC SAZU. 85-110.
[3] Miracle P.T., Mauch Lenardić J. and Brajković D. (2010). Last glacial climates, "Refugia", and faunal change in Southeastern Europe: Mammalian assemblages from Veternica, Velika pećina, and Vindija caves (Croatia). Quaternary International, 212(2), 137-148. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2009.06.003.
[4] Miracle P. and Brajkovic D. (2008). Middle Palaeolithic and Early Upper Palaeolithic subsistence practices at Vindija Cave, Croatia. A. Darlas, D. Mihailović and I.U.O.P.A.P. Sciences (eds.), The Palaeolithic of the Balkans. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports Ltd.
Other publications: 


[1] Miracle P.T., Pandžić N.M. and Mihovilić K. (1999). Pupićina Peć 1995.-1999. : Život u Sjeni Učke Krajem Ledenog Doba. (Catalogue 56.) Archaeological Museum of Istria.


Edited books

[1] P.T. Miracle and N. Milner (eds.), (2002). Consuming Passions and Patterns of Consumption. (McDonald Institute Monograph.) McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.


Articles & Chapters

[1] Lin M., Miracle P. and Barker G. (2016). Towards the identification of the exploitation of cattle labour from distal metapodials. Journal of Archaeological Science, 66, 44-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.12.006.
[2] Pilaar Birch S.E. and Miracle P. (2015). Subsistence continuity, change, and environmental adaptation at the site of Nugljanska, Istria, Croatia. Environmental Archaeology, 20(1), 30-40. DOI: 10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000051.
[3] Richards M.P., Karavanić I., Pettitt P. and Miracle P. (2015). Isotope and faunal evidence for high levels of freshwater fish consumption by Late Glacial humans at the Late Upper Palaeolithic site of Šandalja II, Istria, Croatia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 61, 204-212. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.06.008.
[4] Cristiani E., Farbstein R. and Miracle P. (2014). Ornamental traditions in the Eastern Adriatic: The Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic personal adornments from Vela Spila (Croatia). Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 36(1), 21-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2014.06.009.
[5] Rainsford C., O'Connor T. and Miracle P. (2014). Fishing in the Adriatic at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition: Evidence from Vela Spila, Croatia. Environmental Archaeology, 19(3), 311-320. DOI: 10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000018.
[6] Roberts P., Delson E., Miracle P., Ditchfield P., Roberts R.G., Jacobs Z., Blinkhorn J., Ciochon R.L., Fleagle J.G., Frost S.R., Gilbert C.C., Gunnell G.F., Harrison T., Korisettar R. and Petraglia M.D. (2014). Continuity of mammalian fauna over the last 200,000 y in the Indian subcontinent.. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(16), 5848-5853. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1323465111.
[7] Forenbaher S., Kaiser T. and Miracle P.T. (2013). Dating the East Adriatic Neolithic. European Journal of Archaeology, 16(4), 589-609. DOI: 10.1179/1461957113Y.0000000038.
[8] Oros Sršen A., Brajković D., Radović S., Mauch Lenardić J. and Miracle P.T. (2013). The Avifauna of Southern Istria (Croatia) During the Late Pleistocene: Implications for the Palaeoecology and Biodiversity of the Northern Adriatic Region. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
[9] Appleby J.E.P. and Miracle P. (2012). Sacred spaces, sacred species: Zooarchaeological perspectives on ritual uses of caves. H. Moyes (ed.), Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective on the Ritual Use of Caves. Boulder: Univeristy Press of Colorado. 275-284.
[10] Seetah T.K., Cardini A. and Miracle P.T. (2012). Can morphospace shed light on cave bear spatial-temporal variation? Population dynamics of Ursus spelaeus from Romualdova pećina and Vindija, (Croatia). Journal of Archaeological Science, 39, 500-510. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2011.10.005.
[11] Lightfoot E., Boneva B., Miracle P.T., Šlaus M. and O'Connell T.C. (2011). Exploring the Mesolithic and Neolithic transition in Croatia through isotopic investigations. Antiquity, 85(327), 73-86.
[12] Maher L.A., Stock J.T., Finney S., Heywood J.J., Miracle P.T. and Banning E.B. (2011). A unique human-fox burial from a pre-Natufian cemetery in the Levant (Jordan). PLoS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015815.
[13] Lightfoot E., Miracle P.T., Radić D., Šlaus M. and O'Connell T.C. (2010). Stable isotope analysis of human diets during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods at Vela Spila cave, Korčula. Izdanja HADa, 26, 19-25.
[14] Miracle P.T. and Brajković D. (2010). The palaeoecological significance of the Pleistocene mammalian fauna from Veternica Cave, Croatia. Revision of the lagomorpha, canidae, mustelidae and felidae. Geologia Croatica, 63(2), 207-224.
[15] Clarkson C., Petraglia M., Korisettar R., Haslam M., Boivin N., Crowther A., Ditchfield P., Fuller D., Miracle P.T., Harris C., Connell K., James H. and Koshy J. (2009). The oldest and longest enduring microlithic sequence in India: 35,000 years of modern human occupation and change at the Jwalapuram Locality 9 rockshelter. Antiquity, 83(320), 326-348.
[16] Karavanić I., Miracle P.T., Culiberg M., Kurtanjek D., Zupanič J., Golubić V., Paunović M., Lenardić J.M., Malez V., Šošić R., Janković I. and Smith F.H. (2008). The Middle Paleolithic from Mujina Pećina, Dalmatia, Croatia. Journal of Field Archaeology, 33(3), 259-277.
[17] Miracle P. and Boric D. (2008). Bodily beliefs and agricultural beginnings in western Asia: Animal-human hybridity re-examined. D. Borić and J. Robb (eds.), Past bodies. Oxbow Books Ltd. 101-113.
[18] Miracle P.(2007). The Late Glacial 'Great Adriatic Plain': 'Garden of Eden' or 'no man's land' during the Epipalaeolithic? A view from Istria (Croatia), R. Whallon (ed.), Late Paleolithic Environments and Cultural Relations Around the Adriatic = Environnements du Paléolithique Final et Rapports Culturels Autour de l’Adriatique, Vol.1716Oxford: Archaeopress. 41-51.
[19] Larson G., Albarella U., Dobney K., Rowley-Conwy P., Schibler J., Tresset A., Vigne J-D., Edwards C.J., Schlumbaum A., Dinu A., Bǎlǎçsescu A., Dolman G., Tagliacozzo A., Manaseryan N., Miracle P., Van Wijngaarden-Bakker L., Masseti M., Bradley D.G. and Cooper A. (2007). Ancient DNA, pig domestication, and the spread of the Neolithic into Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(39), 15276-15281. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0703411104.
[20] Miracle P.T. and Robb J.E. (2007). Beyond ‘migration’ versus ‘acculturation’: New models for the spread of agriculture, A. Whittle (ed.), Going Over: The Mesolithic–Neolithic Transition in Western Europe, Vol.144 (Proceedings of the British Academy.) London: British Academy. 90-113.
[21] Balbo A.L., Andrič M., Rubinić J., Moscariello A. and Miracle P.T. (2006). Palaeoenvironmental and archaeological implications of a sediment core from Polje Čepić, Istria, Croatia. Geologia Croatica, 59(2), 109-124. DOI: 10.4154/GC.2006.08.
[22] Miracle P.(2005). Late Mousterian subsistence and cave use in Dalmatia: The zooarchaeology of Mujina Pecina, Croatia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 15(2), 84-105. DOI: 10.1002/oa.736.
[23] Forenbaher S. and Miracle P.T. (2005). The spread of farming in the eastern Adriatic. Antiquity, 79(305), 514-528.
[24] Miracle P.T. and Forenbaher S. (2005). Neolithic and Bronze-Age herders of Pupićina Cave, Croatia. Journal of Field Archaeology, 30(3), 255-281.
[25] Miracle P.T.(2004). Antelope procurement and hunting strategies at the Henderson Site. J.D. Speth (ed.), Life on the Periphery: Economic Change in Late Prehistoric Southeastern New Mexico. (Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.) University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology. 148-214.
[26] Borić D. and Miracle P. (2004). Mesolithic and Neolithic (dis)continuities in the Danube Gorges: New AMS dates from Padina and Hajdučka Vodenica (Serbia). Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 23(4), 341-371. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0092.2004.00215.x.
[27] Miracle P.T.(2003). Review: The Palaeolithic Archaeology of Greece and Adjacent Areas. Proceedings of the ICoPAG Conference, Ioannina, September 1994 edited by G.N. Bailey, E. Adam, E. Panagopoulou, C. Perlès, and K. Zachoas. American Journal of Archaeology, 107, 670-671.
[28] Miracle P.T.(2003). Binford’s World. Review: Constructing Frames of Reference: An Analytical Method for Archaeological Theory Building Using Ethnographic and Environmental Data Sets by L.R. Binford. Before Farming, 2003/1, 1-11.
[29] Miracle P.T.(2003). Review: Excavations at Franchthi Cave, Greece. Volume 12. Depositional History of Franchthi Cave: Sediments, Stratigraphy and Chronology by W.R. Farrand. American Journal of Archaeology, 107, 297-298.
[30] Miracle P.T., Corrado A. and Hanks B.K. (2003). The faunal remains. C.A.I. French (ed.), Wandlebury Ringwork, Cambridgeshire. Evaluation Survey and Excavation. (CAU Report 553.) Cambridge Archaeological Unit. 41-48.
[31] Miracle P.T. and Forenbaher S. (2003). Neolithic and Bronze-Age herders of Pupićina Cave, Croatia. Aperture
[32] Miracle P.T.(2002). Mesolithic meals from Mesolithic middens. P.T. Miracle and N. Milner (eds.), Consuming Passions and Patterns of Consumption. (McDonald Institute Monograph.) McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. 65-88.
[33] Milner N. and Miracle P.T. (2002). Introduction: Patterning data and consuming theory. P.T. Miracle and N. Milner (eds.), Consuming Passions and Patterns of Consumption. (McDonald Institute Monograph.) McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. 1-5.
[34] Miracle P.T.(2001). Feast or famine? Epipalaeolithic subsistence in the northern Adriatic basin. Documenta Archaeologica, XXVIII, 177-197.
[35] Miracle P., Galanidou N. and Forenbaher S. (2000). Pioneers in the hills: Early mesolithic foragers at Sebrn Abri (Istria, Croatia). European Journal of Archaeology, 3(3), 293-329. DOI: 10.1177/146195710000300301.
[36] Miracle P.T. and Forenbaher S. (2000). Pupićina Cave Project: Brief summary of the 1998 season. Histria Archaeologica, 29, 27-48.
[37] Miracle P.(1999). Through the Clovis barrier. Review: Monte Verde, A Late Pleistocene Settlement in Chile, vol 1. Palaeoenvironment and Site Context, vol 2. The Archaeological Context and Interpretation by T.D. Dillehay. Antiquity, 73(282), 944-947.
[38] Miracle P.T.(1999). Breaking the Clovis Barrier. Antiquity, 73, 944-947.
[39] Miracle P.T. and Forenbaher S. (1999). Peta sezona iskopavanja Pupićina Peć (Istra). Obavijesti Hrvatskog Arheološkog Drustva, 33, 54-57.
[40] Miracle P.T.(1998). Faunal remains. T. Pauketat (ed.), The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia: The Tract 15A and Dunham Tract Excavations. (Studies in Archaeology 1 Illinois Transportation Archaeological.) University of Illinois. 309-331.
[41] Miracle P.T.(1998). The spread of modernity in Paleolithic Europe. K. Omoto and P.V. Tobias (eds.), The Origins and Past of Modern Humans—Toward Reconciliation. (Recent Advances in Human Biology 3.) World Scientific. 171-187.
[42] Miracle P.T.(1998). Human remains. T. Pauketat (ed.), The Archaeology of Downtown Cahokia: The Tract 15A and Dunham Tract Excavations. (Studies in Archaeology 1 Illinois Transportation Archaeological.) University of Illinois. 337-338.
[43] Miracle P.T.(1998). Review: Humans at the End of the Ice Age: The Archaeology of the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition edited by L.G. Straus, B.V. Eriksen, J.M. Erlandson, and D.R. Yesner. The Holocene, 8(1), 123-124. DOI: 10.1177/095968369800800120.
[44] Miracle P.T. and Brien C.O. (1998). Seasonality of resource use and site occupation at Badanj, Bosnia-Herzegovina: Subsistence stress in an increasingly seasonal environment?. T. Rocek and O. Bar-Yosef (eds.), Seasonality and Sedentism: Archaeological Perspectives from Old and New World Sites. (Peabody Museum Bulletin 6.) Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University. 41-74.
[45] Miracle P.T.(1997). Review: American Beginnings edited by F.H. West. Endeavour, 21, 90.
[46] Miracle P.T.(1997). Early Holocene foragers in the karst of northern Istria. Poročilo o raziskovanju paleolita, neolita in eneolita v Sloveniji, XXIV, 43-61.
[47] Miracle P.T.(1997). Environmental archaeology comes of age. Review: Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology edited by E.J. Reith, L.E. Newsom and S.J. Scudder. Antiquity, 71(273), 750-754.
[48] Miracle P.T.(1996). Diversification in Epipaleolithic subsistence strategies along the eastern Adriatic coast: A simulation approach applied to zooarchaeological assemblages. Atti del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, Trieste, IX, 33-62.
[49] Miracle P.T. and Brajković D. (1992). Revision of the ungulate fauna and Upper Pleistocene stratigraphy of Veternica Cave (Zagreb, Croatia). Geologia Croatica, 45, 1-14. DOI: 10.4154/GC.1992.01.
[50] Miracle P.T.(1991). Carnivore dens or carnivore hunts? A review of Upper Pleistocene mammalian assemblages in Croatia and Slovenia. Hrvatske Akademije Znanosti i Umjetnosti, 458, 193-219.
[51] Miracle P.T.(1991). Two burials from Santo Ni no Church, Cebu City, Philippines. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, 19, 37-80.
[52] Miracle P.T. and Fisher L.E. (1991). Introduction: Hunter-gatherers and their ethnography. P.T. Miracle, L.E. Fisher and J. Brown (eds.), Foragers in Context: Long-Term, Regional and Historical Perspectives in Hunter-Gatherer Studies. (Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 10.) 1-8.
[53] Miracle P.T. and Sturdy D. (1991). Chamois and the karst of Herzegovina. Journal of Archaeological Science, 18, 89-108. DOI: 10.1016/0305-4403(91)90080-9.

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

I currently supervise students investigating in a range of topics related to the archaeology of hunter-gatherers, zooarchaeology, European Prehistory, food and diet, and the body. I am interested in supervising students who wish to study for an MPhil or a PhD in the following topics: 

  1. Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Archaeology
  2. Zooarchaeology
  3. European Prehistory
  4. Hunter-Gatherers
  5. Food and Diet
  6. The Body

Current students


Past Students

  • Dr. A. Oros-Sršen (2015, Zagreb University)
  • Dr. R. Wallduck (2013)
  • Dr. V.P. Spry-Marques (2012)
  • Dr. S. Pilaar Birch (2012)
  • Dr. J. Sanford (2012)
  • Dr. A. Kapetanios (2012)
  • Dr. S. Radović (2011, Zagreb University)
  • Dr. P. Ewonus (2011)
  • Dr. C. Stimpson (2011)
  • Dr. P. Skinner (2010)
  • Dr. M. Arroyo-Kalin (2008)
  • Dr. D. Orton (2008)
  • Dr. K. Seetah (2007)
  • Dr. A. Balbo (2007)
  • Dr. F. Riede (2007)
  • Dr. L. Marlow (2007)
  • Dr. D. Brajković (2005, Zagreb University)
  • Dr. M. Amatt (2005)
  • Dr. I. Morley (2004)
  • Dr. D. Borić (2003)
  • Dr. L. Pugsley (2003)
  • Dr. R. Rabett (2002)
  • Dr. E. Kotjaboupolou (2002)

Job Titles

Senior Lecturer in Zooarchaeology
Fellow of St John's College

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Palaeoecology

Contact Details

Office: 1.5
West Building
01223 (3)33532


Material Culture
Human Evolutionary Studies