To celebrate Year of the Rooster University research explores intriguing tales of chickens

To celebrate the Chinese Year of the Rooster, a research team involving our University has shed light on the fascinating role chickens have played in the development of our planet - by taking audiences on the Chicken Trail.

To launch the Chicken Trail, the researchers held a day of chicken-related activities at Oxford University Museum of Natural History
The AHRC-funded research, which was conducted by a number of experts from across universities, including Dr Richard Thomas from the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, explores how the story of chickens is the story of people, charting the spread of global cultures, the rise and fall of ideologies and empires, as well as human impact on the planet.

The team will present tales that intrigue, terrify and inspire hope – as it becomes clear that chickens may be the key to helping some of the most vulnerable people in contemporary communities and cultures.

To launch the Chicken Trail, the team held a day of chicken-related activities at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Dr Thomas said: “The Chicken Trail marks the end point of three years of investigation by a team of over 25 archaeologists, anthropologists, and geneticists from six different universities. Being involved in this project has been a huge privilege and we have learnt a huge amount about the complicated and changing relationships between people and chickens and the centrality of this bird to societies: from religious symbols to fast food.”