Recent major reviews and perspectives

The study of ancient biomolecules is undergoing rapid development. Below are lists of major reviews and perspectives articles that can help orient you to recent trends, developments, and updates in the field. If you have additional resources to suggest, please send your suggestions to

Ancient DNA

Orlando L, Allaby R, Skoglund P, Sarkissian C, Stockhammer PW, Avila M, Fu Q, Krause J, Willerslev E, Stone A, Warinner C. (2021) Ancient DNA analysis. Nature Reviews Methods Primers 1:14. Related PrimeView Highlights.

Gokcumen O and Frachetti M. (2020) The impact of ancient genome studies in archaeology. Annual Review of Anthropology 49(1). (open access version)

Mathieson I, Scally A. (2020) What is ancestry? PLoS Genetics 16(3):e1008624.

Spyrou, M. A., Bos, K. I., Herbig, A., & Krause, J. (2019). Ancient pathogen genomics as an emerging tool for infectious disease research. Nature Reviews Genetics 20(6): 323-340.

Hofman CA, Warinner C. (2019) Ancient DNA 101: An introductory guide in the era of high-throughput sequencing. SAA Archaeological Record 19(1):18-25.

Skoglund P and Mathieson I. (2018) Ancient genomics of modern humans: the first decade. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 19: 381-404. (open access version)

Warinner C, Herbig A, Mann A, Fellows Yates JA, Weiß CL, Burbano HA, Orlando L, Krause J. (2017) A robust framework for microbial archaeology. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 18:321-56.

Ancient Proteins

Warinner C, Richter K, Collins, M. (2022) Paleoproteomics. Chemical Reviews. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00703

Richter K, Seabrook M, Codlin M, Warinner C. (2022) A primer for ZooMS applications in archaeology. PNAS 119(20) e2109323119.

Hendy J. (2021) Ancient protein analysis in archaeology. Science Advances 7(3), eabb9314.

Hendy J, Welker F, Demarchi B, Speller C, Warinner C, Collins MJ. (2018) A guide to ancient protein studies. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2:791-799.

Organic Residues

Roffet-Salque, M., Dunne, J., Altoft, D. T., Casanova, E., Cramp, L. J., Smyth, J., Whelton HL, and Evershed, R. P. (2017) From the inside out: Upscaling organic residue analyses of archaeological ceramics. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 16:627-640.

Lipid Maps – a free resource for lipid analysis. These web pages constitute an introduction to the chemistry and biochemistry of individual lipid classes, together with an incomparable compendium of information on mass spectrometry of fatty acids.

Research Ethics

Mangola SM, Lund JR, Schnorr SL, and Crittenden AN. (2022) Ethical microbiome research with Indigenous communities. Nature Microbiology 7:749–756.

Alpaslan-Roodenberg S, Anthony D, Babiker H, Bánffy E, Booth T, Capone P, Deshpande-Mukherjee A, Eisenmann S, Fehren-Schmitz L, Frachetti M, Fujita R, Frieman CJ, Fu Q, Gates Jr. HL, Gibbon V, Haak H, Hajdinjak M, Hofmann KP, Holguin B, Inomata T, Kanzawa-Kiriyama H, Keegan W, Kelso J, Krause J, Kumaresan G, Kusimba C, Kusimba S, Lalueza-Fox C, Llamas B, MacEachern S, Mallick S, Matsumura H, Morales-Arce AY, Motuzaite Matuzeviciute G, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Nakatsuka N, Nores R, Ogola C, Okumura M, Patterson N, Pinhasi R, Prasad SPR, Prendergast ME, Punzo JL, Reich R, Sawafuji R, Sawchuk E, Schiffels S, Sedig J, Shnaider S, Sirak K, Skoglund P, Slon V, Snow M, Soressi M, Spriggs M, Stockhammer PW, Szécsényi-Nagy A, Thangaraj K, Tiesler V, Tobler R, Wang CC, Warinner C, Yasawardene S, Zahir M. (2021) Ethics of DNA research on human remains: Five globally applicable guidelines. Nature 599(7883):41-6.

Gibbon VE. (2020) African ancient DNA research requires robust ethics and permission protocols. Nature Reviews Genetics 21:645–647.

Wagner JK, Colwell C, Claw KG, Stone AC, Bolnick DA, Hawks J, Brothers KB, Garrison NA. (2020) Fostering responsible research on ancient DNA. The American Journal of Human Genetics 107(2):183-95.

Hudson M, Garrison NA, Sterling R, Caron NR, Fox K, Yracheta J, Anderson J, Wilcox P, Arbour L, Brown A, Taualii M., Kukutai T, Haring R, Te Aika B, Baynam. GS, Dearden PK, Chagné D, Malhi RS, Garba I, Tiffin N, Bolnick D, Stott M, Rolleton AK, Ballantyne LL, Lovett R, David-Chavez D, Martinez A, Sporle A, Walter M, REading J, Carroll SR. (2020) Rights, interests and expectations: Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data. Nature Reviews Genetics 21(6):377-84.

Claw KG, Anderson MZ, Begay RL, Tsosie KS, Fox K, Garrison NA. (2018) A framework for enhancing ethical genomic research with Indigenous communities. Nature Communications 9(1):1-7.

Stable Isotopes

Roberts P, Fernandes R, Craig OE, Larsen T, Lucquin A, Swift J, Zech J. (2018) Calling all archaeologists: guidelines for terminology, methodology, data handling, and reporting when undertaking and reviewing stable isotope applications in archaeology Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 32(5):361-72.

Loftus E, Roberts P, and Lee-Thorp JA (2016) An isotopic generation: four decades of stable isotope analysis in African archaeology. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 51(1):88-114.

Madgwick R, Lamb A, Sloane H, Nederbragt A, Albarella U, Pearson MP, and Evans J (2021) A veritable confusion: use and abuse of isotope analysis in archaeology. Archaeological Journal 178:2:361-385.