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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

March 2016 Charlotte Henderson

Alumni Feature - Questions

  • What and when did you study at Durham?

I started with a BA in Philosophy in 1997, but I had always wanted to study palaeopathology and on initially looking into this, I was told I needed a medical degree. I discovered in my final year that Charlotte Roberts had started up the MSc in Palaeopathology, so naturally I applied stressing the importance of modules I had taken in the philosophy of science and the three summer's of excavation that I had undertaken prior to my first degree. Following on from my MSc I undertook a PhD studying activity-related stress in past populations awarded in 2010.

  • What are you doing now?

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Coimbra in Portugal studying methods to identify occupational disease and injury in past populations.

  • How do you feel your experiences of studying Archaeology at Durham shaped your life afterwards?

Much of my current work, as well as my research networks, is built upon my PhD at Durham and it is clear that without this I could not be in my current position. The opportunities to do laboratory demonstration, attend conferences as well as do research, are ones that I could not work without. In addition to this, my current role includes MSc and PhD supervision and I often use my experiences from Durham to guide me in this.

  • What are your favourite memories/experiences of studying Archaeology at Durham?

The facilities on offer, particularly the laboratories, are really first class. The friendly environment made transitioning from another department easier. Initially I found laboratory-based learning hard. I found the friendly demonstrators really helped and their advice on learning anatomy invaluable. During the PhD, I enjoyed sharing an office with other research postgraduates and their support during the PhD process, as well as starting friendships that will last me a lifetime.

  • What do you miss most about studying at Durham?

The library is fantastic and the training courses offered by various other support departments were really useful. However, the thing I miss most was the journal clubs: opportunities to discuss publications, exchange ideas and learn more about writing for scientific papers in a friendly group.