Research Group: Osteo-archaeology

Sonia Zakrzewski, Jaco Weinstock, Yannis Hamilakis and Jo Sofaer work in this area, together with Simon Mays (English Heritage) and Dale Serjeantson.

There are currently three full-time and six part-time research students registered in this field. They have developed Archaeology's traditional strengths in zooarchaeology and human osteology.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Research Focus

Jo Sofaer researches at the interface of bioarchaeology and social archaeology, considering aspects of age, sex and gender within society. Much of her research concentrates upon technological innovation and development, and its interface with the body. Yannis Hamilakis primarily focuses upon the social aspects of zooarchaeology, the archaeology of the human body (including the consuming body), bodily senses and bodily memory. The main focus of research undertaken by Jaco Weinstock is upon Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions and their relationships with humans. This is undertaken using traditional zooarchaeological and ancient DNA techniques.

Sonia Zakrzewski studies humans in the context of population diversity. She has studied the skeletal changes associated with state formation in ancient Egypt, and recently has started working upon Islamic material from Medieval Spain.

Within the osteoarchaeology research area, the Laboratory for Social Zooarchaeology (LSZ) functions as both a spatial and conceptual focus for researching the relationship between humans and animals. It succeeds the Faunal Remains Unit, continuing the distinguished tradition of innovative zooarchaeological work carried out at the University since 1975.

Our lab

Our lab

Part of our collection

Part of our collection


Members of staff associated with this group:



Our ample osteo-archaeological facilities are located in the recently built Archaeology building. Our animal bone reference collection is regarded as one of the best in the UK; it comprises a very large number of mammals, birds and fish, each of these three classes stored in a separate research room. In addition, we have collections of archaeological faunal material dating mainly to the Saxon and Medieval periods.

Regarding human osteology, beside an excellent collection of detailed casts, we also house a large collection of many hundreds of skeletons spanning multiple periods and comprising individuals of both sexes and all ages. We also curate a number of cremated remains. Research on these collections is an integral part of our MA Programme. Students have the opportunity to work intensively with archaeological bone material and learn the skills of writing osteoarchaeological bone reports, both on human and faunal material.