Name: Professor John Robb
Principal Investigator, Social bioarchaeology
John Robb has studied medieval English literature, European
prehistory, and human skeletal studies at the University of Chicago
and the University of Michigan. He has taught at Cambridge since 2001,
and has carried out major projects on the history of the human body
from the Palaeolithic through the present, on skeletal evidence of
lifestyle and ritual, and on Italian archaeology. He is also
interested in theories of art and material culture. As this suggests,
he specialises in being a generalist.
•   BA, University of Chicago, medieval English literature, 1983
•   MA (1989) and PhD (1995), anthropological archaeology, University of Michigan
•   Lecturer, Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton (1996-2001)
•   Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer/ Reader/ Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge (2001 - present)
•   Fellow, Peterhouse (2015 - present)
•   Archaeological and anthropological theory, particularly theories of agency, material culture, gender and the body,
and scales of analysis/ long term change.
•   European prehistory, particularly the Neolithic and Bronze Age of the Central Mediterranean, with a focus upon
cultural life, symbolism, and historic processes.
•   Prehistoric art throughout Europe, with a focus upon art as a specialised form of material culture.
•   Selected topics in human skeletal analysis, particularly signs of activity, funerary ritual and taphonomy,
and extensions of the social biography after death.
Name: Mr Craig Cessford
Archaeological and historical researcher
Craig has worked in developer-funded and academic archaeology since graduating
from Newcastle University in 1990 and has been based in Cambridge since 1997. As well as the After the Plague project he
works for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, directing and publishing major excavations. In Cambridge he ran excavations at
the major Grand Arcade site, the St. John’s Hospital Cemetery that forms the core of the After the Plague project, and most
recently at the Augustinian Friary.
Craig’s research interests principally relate to urbanism, with a focus on the medieval
and more recent periods, although he has also worked at the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk. He is particularly interested in how
specifically archaeological manifestations of urbanism relate to social, economic, religious and political aspects of past societies.
•   Cessford, C. 2015 The St. John’s Hospital Cemetery and Environs, Cambridge: Contextualising the Medieval Urban Dead,
Archaeological Journal 172, 52–120.
•   Cessford, C. 2014 Assemblage biography and the life course: an archaeologicallymaterialised temporality of Richard and
Sarah Hopkins, International Journal of Historical Archaeology 18, 555–90.
•   Cessford, C. 2012 Life in a “Cathedral of Consumption”: Corporate and Personal Material Culture Recovered from a Cellar
at the Robert Sayle Department Store in Cambridge, England, ca. 1913–21, International Journal of Historical Archaeology 16,
•   Cessford, C., Dickens, A., Dodwell, N., and Reynolds, A. 2008 Middle Anglo-Saxon Justice: the Chesterton Lane Corner
execution cemetery and related sequence, Cambridge,Archaeological Journal 164, 197–226.
Name: Dr.Jenna Dittmar
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, Jenna worked for several years as a commercial archaeologist in the United States before pursuing a MSc in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology at the University of Bradford in 2011. Her PhD, completed at the University of Cambridge (2016) focused on how the examination of tool marks on dissected individuals from hospital cemeteries can increase our understanding of medical history.
As a specialist in human osteology and paleopathology, Jenna utilises a multidisciplinary approach to questions about disease presence and treatment in past populations.
•   Dittmar J (2017) ‘Cut to the bone’: The enhancement and analysis of skeletal trauma using scanning electron
microscopy. In: Errickson D and Thompson T, Human Remains – Another Dimension: The Application of 3D Imaging in
the Funerary Context.
•   Dittmar J and Mitchell PD (2016) From cradle to grave via the dissection room: The role of foetal and infant
bodies in anatomical education from the late 1700s to early 1900s. Journal of Anatomy. Online 30 June.
•   Dittmar J and Mitchell PD (2015) New criteria for identifying and differentiating human dissection and
autopsy in archaeological assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Volume 3, 73-79. doi:10.1016/j.
•   Dittmar J, Errickson D and Caffell A (2015) The comparison and application of silicone casting material
for trauma analysis on well preserved archaeological skeletal remains. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
Volume 4, 559-564. doi: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.008
•   Dittmar J and Mitchell PD (2015) The afterlife of Laurence Sterne (1713-68): body snatching, dissection and the role of Cambridge anatomist Charles Collignon. Journal of Medical Biography, Volume 24(4), 559-565. doi:10.1177/0967772015601584
Name: Miss Sarah-Jane Harknett
Public Outreach Officer
Sarah-Jane has specialised in museum education and public engagement
since 2004, teaching groups from preschool to postgraduate level.
Through her work at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, she has
worked extensively with a wide range of audiences and community groups,
producing relevant and engaging events and activities.
Name: Miss Ruoyun Hui
Post-doctoral Research Associate
After a BSc in Biology (Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2013) and a MSc in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 2015), Ruoyun became interested in population genetics. Her PhD research at the Department of Genetics (2019) investigated population structure and archaic admixtures around the world using high-coverage modern genomes.
Ruoyun is interested in using population genetics to understand history.
•   L. Skov, R. Hui, V. Shchur, A. Hobolth, A. Scally,M. H. Schierup, and R. Durbin (2018). Detecting archaic introgression using an unadmixed outgroup. PLoS Genet 14(9): e1007641. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007641.
Name: Dr Sarah Inskip
Social bioarchaeology and osteobiography
After a first degree in Forensic Science (Lincoln, 2004) Sarah became an
osteoarchaeologist after studying for her MA at Southampton University in 2005. During her PhD research, Sarah worked
as a part-time lecturer at Southampton University and as a freelance osteoarchaeologist. Her PhD research (2013), which
explored emerging Iberian Islamic identity, compared skeletal signs of activity in early Medieval skeletons from Ecija, Spain. Between 2013 and 2016, Sarah worked as assistant professor in bioarchaeology at Leiden University.
Sarah’s research interests focus upon the connection between social roles and activity and the changing morphology of the skeleton. In addition to this, Sarah has an interest in ageing and sexing methodology, and is a member of the European Leprosy Project. Sarah is the osteoarchaeologist for the Dutch Italian Mission in Saqqara, Egypt, and for the Jebel Qurma project, Jordan.
•   Inskip SA, Constantinescu M, Brinkman A, Hoogland ML and Sofaer J. 2018.
Testing the Accuracy of Basal Occipital Measurements and their Discriminant Functions for Predicting Sex Using
Four Documented Early Modern European Collections.The Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences10
•   Inskip SA, Taylor GM, Anderson S, and Stewart G. 2017. Leprosy in Pre-Norman Suffolk: Biomolecular and Geochemical
Analysis of the Woman from Hoxne. Journal of Medical Microbiology 66(11):1640-1649. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.000606
•   Inskip SA. 2016. Death and life in Al-Andalus: Approaches to Funerary Archaeology and Osteoarchaeology. In Carvajal JL (ed.).
Al-Andalus in History and in Memory. Akkadia Press, pp 39-45.
•   Inskip SA, Taylor GM, Zakrzewski SR, Mays SA, Pike AWG, Llewellyn G, Williams CM, Lee O Y-C, Wu HHT, Minnikin DE,
Besra GS, Stewart GR. 2015. Osteological, Biomolecular and Geochemical Examination of an Early Anglo-Saxon Case of
Lepromatous Leprosy.PLoS One10 (5): e0124282.
•   Schuenemann VJ, Avanzi C, Seitz A, Krause-Kyora B, Herbig A, Benjak A, Inskip S Boldsen J,Taylor GM, Singh P,
Mays S, Donoghue HD, Zakrzewski S,Nieselt K, Cole ST, Krause J. 2018. Genome wide spread study on European
Name: Dr.Toomas Kivisild
Ancient DNA and genetics
After a first degree in Zoology (Tartu, 1995) and a change of topic from bones
to human cellular power-plant DNA in his PhD and later shifts of focus from human to wolf genetics and back again, Toomas
Kivisild became a DNA anthropologist. With a postdoctoral training funded by Oracle’s grant to study aging, he has, since
then, while aging himself, studied signs of genetic and non-genetic activities in a range of populations from Campania to
Iowa. He is Professor of genetics at KU Leuven, Belgiium.
Toomas’ research interests include human evolution and evolutionary population
genetics, with a particular curiosity in questions relating global genetic population structure with evolutionary processes
such as selection, drift, migrations and admixture.
•   Jobling M, Hollox E, Hurles M, Kivisild, T, Tyler-Smith C (2014). Human Evolutionary Genetics, 2nd Edition, Garland
Science, New York and London. 670 p.
•   Pagani L et al. (2016) Genomic analyses inform on migration events during the peopling of Eurasia. Nature
•   Inchley et al. (2016) Selective sweep on human amylase genes postdates the split with Neanderthals. Sci Rep 6:37198
•   Clemente et al. (2014) (2014) A Selective Sweep on a Deleterious Mutation in CPT1A in Arctic Populations.
Am J Hum Genet. 95(5):584-589
Name: Dr. Piers Mitchell
Co Investigator, lead for palaeopathology
Piers has degrees in medicine, nutrition, archaeology of disease,
medical history, and higher education. He has been president of the British Association of Biological Anthropology
and Osteoarchaeology (2012-2015) and the Paleopathology Association (2015-2017). Piers is associate editor for the International Journal of Paleopathology, the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, and PostMedieval: a Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies. He is also editor in chief of the book series Cambridge Texts in Human Bioarchaeology and Osteoarchaeology.
Piers’ research focuses on the study of ancient diseases (palaeopathology), using
human skeletal remains, historical written sources, and latrine soils for ancient parasites. He has a particular
interest in diseases of the medieval period, having undertaken key projects on the Crusades to the medieval Middle East, and the remains of King Richard III of England. Piers also runs one of the top ancient parasite labs in the world.
•   Mitchell, P.D. Medicine in the Crusades: Warfare, Wounds and the Medieval Surgeon. Cambridge University Press:
Cambridge 2004. ISBN 0-521-84455 x
•   Mitchell, P.D. (ed.) Anatomical Dissection in Enlightenment England and Beyond: Autopsy, Pathology and Display.
Ashgate: Farnham 2012. ISBN 978-1-4094-1886-3, Reprinted by Routledge: Abingdon 2016.
•   Mitchell, P.D., Buckberry J. (eds) Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the British Association for
Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Archaeopress: Oxford 2012. ISBN 978-1-4073-0970-5
•   Mitchell, P.D. (ed.) Sanitation, Latrines and Intestinal Parasites in Past Populations. Ashgate: Farnham, 2015.
ISBN 978-1-4724-4907-8 Reprinted by Routledge: Abingdon 2015.
•   Mitchell, P.D., Brickley, M. (eds) Update to the Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains. Chartered
Institute for Archaeologists/British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology: Reading, for publication
•   Mitchell, P.D. and Le Bailly, M. Parasites in Past Civilisations and their Impact Upon Health. Cambridge University
Press: Cambridge, for publication soon. ISBN 978-0-5117-3238-6.
Name: Bram Mulder
Phd student, Geometric morphometrics
After having finished his MA in ancient history at Utrecht University, Bram continued his studies at Leiden University, where he got his MSc in human osteology. He graduated on a study of the microstructure of entheses.
Bram’s main interests are bone biomechanics and the processes involved in bone remodelling. For his PhD he will be studying bone geometry, assessing how the plague affected people’s daily lives.
Name: Dr. Tamsin O’Connell
Tamsin O'Connell started academic life as a chemist at the University of Oxford. The lure of applied science led her to archaeology, working with Prof Robert Hedges at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art in Oxford, firstly for her undergraduate dissertation followed by a SERC/NERC-funded DPhil. She had a Wellcome Trust Post-doctoral Fellowship, then two post-doctoral positions at the RLAHA. She joined the Department in Cambridge in 2004, with a Wellcome Trust University Award, to set up an isotope laboratory, now called the Dorothy Garrod Laboratory.
Tamsin’s research traces signals of diet and climate in human and animal tissues, using isotopic analysis. As well as application to archaeological, ecological and epidemiological case studies, her work focuses on developing our understanding of the underlying principles, so as to improve the resolution of interpretations and conclusions that we can draw from isotopic analyses.
•   O'Connell T.C., Kneale C.J., Tasevska N. and Kuhnle G.G.C. (2012). The diet-body offset in human nitrogen isotopic
values: A controlled dietary study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 149(3), 426-434. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22140
•   Lightfoot, E. and O’Connell, T.C. (2016) On The Use of Biomineral Oxygen Isotope Data to Identify Human Migrants in the
Archaeological Record: Intra-Sample Variation, Statistical Methods and Geographical Considerations. Plos One, 11, e0153850.
•   Hedges REM, Clement JG, Thomas CDL and TC O’Connell (2007). Collagen turnover in the adult femoral mid-shaft: modeled
from anthropogenic radiocarbon tracer measurements. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133: 808-816. DOI:
Name: Alice Rose
Phd student, stable isotope analyses
After completing a degree in Archaeology (BSc) at the University of Reading, and a Masters degree in Palaeopathology (MSc) at Durham University, Alice spent four years working as a commercial archaeologist and osteologist before starting a PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2016. Her PhD research utilises isotopic analysis to help understand diet and mobility in Medieval Cambridge, focussing on the Medieval hospital of St John.
Isotopic analysis, Palaeodiet, Mobility and Migration, Osteoarchaeology, Palaeopathology, Medieval Archaeology.
Name: Dr Christiana Scheib
Ancient DNA, genetics
Christiana completed her MPhil and PhD at the University of Cambridge in
with a research focus on the peopling of the Americas. After beginning her post-doctoral career with the After
the Plague project generating the ancient DNA data, she was appointed a senior researcher and head of the new
ancient DNA laboratory at the University of Tartu, Institute of Genomics, Tartu, Estonia where she continues to
generate aDNA data for the ATP as well as a number of other projects. Her research interests include the complex
interactions between diet, social factors, hereditary variation and pathogens such as Y. pestis and M. tuberculosis as
well as opportunistic pathogens such as S.pyogenes.
•   Scheib, CL et al. (2018). Ancient human parallel lineages within North America contributed to a coastal expansion. Science 360(6392),
pp. 1024-1027. Doi: 10.1126/science.aar6851.
•   Scheib, CL and Dominguez, V. Interview with Christiana L. Scheib, Cambridge University, UK and Estonian Biocentre, Tartu,
Estonia. Am Anthro. 2018 May 20;120(2):328-347. doi: 10.1111/aman.13047.
•   Haber M, Doumet-Serhal C, Scheib C, et al. Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite
and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences. Am J Hum Genet.
2017 Aug 3;101(2):274-282. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.06.013.
•   Saag L, Varul L, Scheib CL, et al. Extensive Farming in Estonia Started through a Sex-Biased Migration from the Steppe. Curr Biol.
2017 Jul 24;27(14):2185-2193.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.022.
•   Pagani L, Lawson DJ, Jagoda E, Mörseburg A, Eriksson A, Mitt M, Clemente F, Hudjashov G, DeGiorgio M, Saag L, Wall JD, Cardona A, Mägi R,
Wilson Sayres MA, Kaewert S, Inchley C, Scheib CL, et al. Genomic analyses inform on migration events during the peopling of Eurasia. Nature. 2016 Oct 13;538(7624):238-242. doi: 10.1038/nature19792.
Name: Dr Jay Stock
Co Investigator, geometric morphometrics
Jay's research primarily concerns understanding the mechanisms which drive
the biological diversification of our species. He has particular interest in differentiating neutral variation
from 'adaptive' variation, and the relationship between natural selection and the origins of human plasticity.
He works primarily as a human bioarchaeologist, but also conduct research on living humans. Research in both fields
aims understand the evolution of human phenotypic variation, to identify the mechanisms underlying human adaptabiliy
in response to colonisation events, and to understand the impact of these mechanisms on skeletal biology and the
•   Macintosh A.A., Pinhasi R. and Stock J.T. (2016). Early Life Conditions and Physiological Stress following the Transition
to Farming in Central/Southeast Europe: Skeletal Growth Impairment and 6000 Years of Gradual Recovery. PLoS One DOI:
•   Stock J.T. and Macintosh A.A. (2016). Lower limb biomechanics and habitual mobility among mid-Holocene populations of
the Cis-Baikal. Quaternary International DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.04.052.
•   Pinhasi R. and Stock J.T. (2011). Human Bioarchaeology of the Transition to Agriculture.
•   Gallego Llorente M., Jones E.R., Eriksson A., Siska V., Arthur K.W., Arthur J.W., Curtis M.C., Stock J.T., Coltorti M.,
Pieruccini P., Stretton S., Brock F., Higham T., Park Y., Hofreiter M., Bradley D.G., Bhak J., Pinhasi R. and Manica A.
(2015). Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent.. Science,
350(6262), 820-822. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2879.
•   Longman D., Wells J.C. and Stock J.T. (2015). Can persistence hunting signal male quality? A test considering digit
ratio in endurance athletes.. PLoS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121560.