University of Leeds

University of Bradford

Wakefield Council

You Are What You Ate

Food lessons from the past

Learn about this project and its
wide-ranging team of researchers and specialists

Image of skeleton courtesy of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford

About the project

You Are What You Ate is an innovative project run by historians, scientists, historical re-enactors and archaeologists. We want to bring up-to-date research on food science, nutrition, medical history and archaeology to a wider audience. Our aim is to encourage public debate and personal reflection on modern eating habits through exploration of the dietary choices of the past.

From 2010 to 2014, the You Are What You Ate project was out and about at festivals and street markets, schools, museums and castles in the area of West Yorkshire. We have worked in close association with Wakefield Council to provide a wide range of activities such as schools and youth activities, exhibitions, talks, festival attendance, adult workshops and bone workshops.

The project was funded by a Wellcome Trust Society Award from 2010 to 2014. These prestigious awards are granted by the Wellcome Trust to encourage public engagement with medical science. The Wellcome Trust is a global medical research charity based in the UK that aims ‘to achieve extraordinary improvements in human and animal health’.

Although the funding from the Wellcome Trust has now ended, please contact us if you have funding for the project to attend events in the Yorkshire area or if you would like any expertise or further information.

Project team:
Fiona Blair, You are what you ate project administrator, University of Leeds
Jo Buckberry, archaeologist and biological anthropologist, University of Bradford
Maya Harrison, Senior Cultural Development Officer, Wakefield Museum, Wakefield Council
Iona McCleery, historian & You are what you ate project co-ordinator, University of Leeds
Vicky Shearman, Senior Cultural Development Officer, Wakefield Council
Gary Williamson, food scientist, University of Leeds

Project contributors have included:
Alex Bamji, historian, University of Leeds
Louise Bragan, You are what you ate schools interpreter
Sally-ann Burley, You are what you ate schools interpreter
Janet Cade, nutritional epidemiologist, University of Leeds
Kev Cale, archaeologist, Director of Community Archaeology Ltd
Alison Creasey, You are what you ate 'Skeleton Secrets' facilitator
Richard Fitch, archaeologist and cook, Tudor Kitchens, Hampton Court Palace
Jonathan Gibson, Learning Support Services, Wakefield Council
Dawn Hadley, archaeologist, University of Sheffield
Jane Howroyd, You are what you ate youth sessions facilitator
Katrina Longhurst, Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarship, University of Leeds
Axel Műller, Director of the International Medieval Congress, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Alan Ogden, biological anthropologist and dentist, University of Bradford
Annabelle Patchett, school nutritionist, Switzerland
Karen Stewart, You are what you ate activity facilitator
Dave Weldrake, KS1 schools facilitator
Rachel Wilcox, Public Health Commissioning Manager (Healthy Choices), NHS Wakefield
Caroline Yeldham, historian and cook, independent scholar, Stevenage

For more information about the project, please contact us at