As an experienced bioarchaeologist, my skills combine teaching and research, with a demanding fieldwork programme. I have extensive expertise in the archaeological excavation of Egyptian and Sudanese cemetery sites, and the examination of mummified and skeletonised human remains, using established protocols and state-of-the-art techniques. My research is concerned with various aspects of the relationship between humans and their environment in the Nile Valley, including the impact of environmental changes on childhood development and adult health, disability and care, as well as ancient burial practices.
Public engagement remains an important element of my academic work and research, providing opportunities to share my knowledge of ancient civilizations, and life and death in past populations.
Since 2002, I have been actively involved in archaeological research, specialising in funerary archaeology and the post-mortem treatment of the human body in ancient Egypt. I conducted my studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (Cairo Centre), University of Warsaw, where I was awarded a postgraduate scholarship. I returned to AMU where I designed and delivered tutorials on funerary archaeology, burial practices and post-mortem body treatment. During these formative years, I decided to focus my future studies on human remains, moving to the University of Sheffield, UK, where I obtained a Masters degree in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology. This course built a strong foundation which enabled me to work with international missions on the excavation and analysis of skeletonised and mummified human remains from high-profile burial sites in Egypt (primarily Saqqara) and Sudan. I am currently working with the Polish Mission excavating a multi-period necropolis west of the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara, and with the Swiss team investigating high-profile royal and noble tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Theban Necropolis. As a bioarchaeologist with extensive field experience, I feel confident and passionate about investigating the lives and deaths of the inhabitants, using established and purpose-specific protocols.
During my time excavating in Egypt, I became interested in the relationship between social status and physical health in past populations; a subject which formed the basis of my PhD. The project aimed to identify patterns of health distribution in respect to different social classes within the Saqqara population, and to establish to what extent the observed patterns of social and biological status changed over the period of use of the cemetery. This topic continues to hold relevance in modern societies where extenuating economic pressures impact on the state of health of families across the social spectrum. There is strong and enduring public and broadcast media interest in the history and cultures of the ancient Nile Valley, and I have recently featured in the National Geographic documentary Lost Treasure of Egypt which focused on my research conducted at the Theban Necropolis, as part of the Life Histories of Theban Tombs project based at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
I am passionate about teaching and sharing my knowledge by engaging students of all ages and abilities using a combination of captivating lectures and hands-on laboratory-based sessions. I continually strive to incorporate current pedagogy to develop courses which appeal to a variety of learning styles on varied topics relating to bioarchaeology, biological sciences and palaeopathology. I pride myself on providing an open and supportive learning environment by encouraging debate between students. During my fieldwork seasons in Egypt and Sudan, I enjoy developing and delivering training courses in the field to share with students and graduate archaeologists the methods of recovery, identification and inventory of human remains. In 2018 and 2019, I co-directed a course for the Bloomsbury Summer School at UCL.
In 2016, I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship, funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, based at the University of Warsaw. My research sought to investigate environmental changes as a causative factor for the collapse of the Kingdom of Meroe (300 BC - AD 350) in Sudan, using stable isotope analysis of human remains. In 2017, in recognition of my experience working with curated collections of human remains, I was appointed to the role of Honorary Academic Curator of Human Remains at the Manchester Museum.
Recently, I have been awarded the National Geographic Society grant (NGS-61475R-19) for my project entitled "Crossing Boundaries: Peoples' Movement and the Collapse of the Kingdom of Meroe (300 BC - AD 350), Sudan".
MA Archaeology (Mummification as an Element of the Rites of Passage in the New Kingdom Period in Ancient Egypt)
MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology (Pathological Conditions in the New Kingdom Assemblage from Theban Area in Egypt)
PhD Bioarchaeology (Social Stratification and Physical Health in an Ancient Egyptian Population of Saqqara, Egypt)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
ILM Level 5 Award in Leadership in Management, awarded by the City and Guilds of London Institute
Isotope Workshop, Centre for Human-Animal-Environment Bioarchaeology, University of Exeter
Palaeoradiology - A Workshop for Osteoarchaeologists, Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
The Coimbra Method: An Entheseal Scoring Workshop, University of Sheffield
Cross Sectional and Surface Histology Workshop: An Application of Anthropological Methods, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Using Human Remains in Teaching Archaeology, The Higher Education Academy Discipline Workshop, University of Manchester
Dental Anthropology Short Course, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford
8th Palaeopathology Short Course, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford
- International Society for Nubian Studies
- Egypt Exploration Society