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Bioarchaeology: Research and Impact Group

The Team

Our research

The Bioarchaeology group applies a wide range of cutting-edge science to explore different impacts on human and other animal populations. We have a wide expertise across in soils and the remains of plants, animals and humans, including microscopic, macroscopic and biomolecular methods. We work in both the laboratory and the field on a variety of geographical and temporal scales. Our work involves wide collaboration, with international partnerships in over 30 countries, and many projects jointly with colleagues in our own Department. Our research encompasses:

  • Human-environment interactions in marginal regions and climate/change impacts.
  • The spread and impact of agriculture through plants, animals and diet.
  • The mobility and dietary histories of humans and animals.
  • Research on the health and well-being of varied demographic and social groups, with emphases on the life course and past infectious diseases.
  • Human identity and identification in archaeological and modern forensic contexts.

 We have a wide range of high-quality laboratory and field facilities including:

  • Botanic Garden experimental archaeology facility
  • Environmental archaeology laboratory
  • Environmental processing laboratory (shared with Archaeological Services)
  • Fenwick human osteology laboratory
  • Microscopy laboratory
  • Ancient DNA laboratory
  • Modern DNA laboratory
  • Isotope preparation laboratory
  • Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory (in collaboration with the Department of Earth Sciences)

 The strategic goals of the group over the coming years are:

  • To set new agendas for understanding human resilience and survival in relation to challenging environments, catastrophes, and disease, and to assess their impact on the well-being of past and present communities.
  • Integrate our research with the Department’s commercial infrastructure.
  • Collect and analyse exciting new primary data through innovative programmes of problem-oriented field and laboratory-based research.

Some recent and current research projects include:


Our regular activities during the academic year include:

  • Bioarchaeology research seminars open to all, with both internal and external speakers presenting recent research in any aspect of bioarchaeology.
  • A student-run journal club.
  • Research conversations where members give short presentations to maintain awareness of current research in the group.