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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Ms Leslie Quade, MSc, BA

(email at

Research Topic

Impact of cultural and living environments, socio-political conditions and stress on health


‘When in Gaul, do as the ‘Romans’ do? Shifting Health in Gaul during Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period’

The fall of the Roman Empire and rise of Medieval Kingdoms have long conjured a grim image of a destabilization of society, regression of enlightened progress and deterioration of living conditions across Europe. This conception of a bleak destruction of civilization – the ‘Dark Ages’– has remained cemented in the popular imagination. Perhaps this is because societal and cultural transformations have become a nearly omnipresent component of contemporary daily life and are a hallmark of the modern age. Although it is well-established in modern clinical literature that health is impacted by cultural and political environments, how these processes manifest in the body is an exciting, cutting-edge area of research. The nature of the cultural and political environment during Late Antiquity and whether transitions might be considered as continuous or catastrophic has been a contentious source of debate. Analyses of health data from human skeletal remains have yet to be fully integrated into this discussion, despite their informative potential. If catastrophic hypotheses of Late Antique life experiences are correct, the social and political instability would have had a discernable effect on the health and well-being of the populace. In the present research, the skeletal remains of 800 individuals from Gaul (modern-day France) dating to Late Antiquity are examined for several indicators of systemic stress or health status. There is a particular focus on stress indicators occurring during childhood and development, when health is most sensitive to environmental conditions. This research demonstrates the utility of examining health during Late Antiquity as a barometer of the socio-political environment and concentrates on often overlooked subdivisions of the population, including women and children. Although subject to different factors, investigating health and wellbeing in the past permits a wide-ranging and temporally deep understanding regarding how and what impacts human life experiences. 


  • 2016 Durham University, PhD Bioarchaeology (anticipated completion 2020)
  • 2015 Durham University, MSc Paleopathology - Graduated with Distinction
  • 2014 Columbia University, BA Biological Anthropology - Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, Departmental Honours

Academic Background

Previous Academic Employment

  • 2015-2016 Bioarchaeologist. Austrian Archaeological Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • 2013 Visiting researcher in human osteology. Université Bordeaux 1, PACEA Lab, France
  • 2012-2014 Non-adult specialist, NAGPRA repatriation projects. Columbia University, USA
  • 2011-2012 Research Assistant, Spectrographic Analysis Lab. Columbia University, USA

Field Work

  • 2017 Excavation team member. Le Saint-Mont, Saint Amé, France
  • 2014-2016 Bioarchaeologist/excavator (non-adult specialist). Pollena Trocchia, Roman Bath Complex.The Apolline Project, Italy
  • Bioarchaeologist/excavator. Excavations at La Granède, Millau, France

Academic Editing

  • 2015-2016 Technical Editor, bioarchaeological texts, Natural History Museum of Vienna, Austria

Conference Contributions

Papers (presentations)

  • 2018: ‘Urban disease in a rural environment: evidence of pauper apprentices in Fewston, North Yorkshire’ Quade, L., Gowland, R., Caffel, A., Millard, A., Holst., M. Nowell, G. Gröcke, D. Le Groupe d’anthropologie et d’archéologie funéraire, Bordeaux, France
  • 2017: ‘When in Gaul, do as the ‘Romans’ do? Shifting Health in Gaul during Late Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period’ Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing Early Stage Researcher Conference, Durham University
  • 2017: ‘La vie et la mort sur le champ de bataille Napoléonien : une analyse bioarchéologique’ Quade, L. and Binder, M. Combattre, souffrir, mourir dans les guerres de la Révolution et de l’Empire’, CHERPA (IEP d’Aix-en-Provence), Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Éthique & Santé, faculté de Médecine de Marseille, France
  • 2016: ‘Life and Death on a Napoleonic Battlefield: Soldiers from the battle of Aspern’ Quade, L. and Binder, M. European Palaeopathology Association Meeting, Moscow, Russia
  • 2015: ‘Dental Development and Pathology in Non-Adults’, Senior Common Room Postgraduate Symposium, Durham University


  • 2017: ‘Family isn’t everything: Strontium and oxygen stable isotope analysis of a known population from Fewston Parish, UK’, Quade, L., Gowland, R., Caffell, A., Millard, A., Holst, M., Nowell, G., Gröcke, D. Association of American Physical Anthropologists Conference. New Orleans, USA
  • 2017: ‘The Precarious Search for Caries: Progression of Oral Health at the Medieval site of La Granède, France’, Quade, L. and Naji, S. Palaeopathology Association Meeting. New Orleans, USA


  • 2017 Birley Bursary, Department of Archaeology, Durham University, UK
  • 2016-2019 Durham Doctoral Studentship, Durham University, UK
  • 2016-2019 Reading University International Research Studentship, UK (awarded)
  • 2014-2015 Archaeology Masters Bursary, Durham University, UK
  • 2014 Senior Thesis Stipend, Columbia University, NY 
  • 2013 Craig Family Stipend, Columbia University, NY
  • 2012-2014 Larry J. Lawrence Scholarship, Columbia University, NY

Public Outreach

  • 2018 Science Day Volunteer, Prince Street Primary School, Spennymoor, UK
  • 2018-present Equality and Diversity Committee, PhD representative, Archaeology Department, Durham University
  • 2018-present Skype a Scientist Volunteer
  • 2017-present Antioch House Archaeology Group guest lecturer, Durham, UK
  • 2017 Palaeopathology Association Meeting volunteer, New Orleans, USA
  • 2017 Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference volunteer. Durham University, UK
  • 2016 Student Archaeology Workshop guest lecturer, Durham, UK


  • Quade, L. and Binder, M. (In press-2019). Life and Death on the Napoleonic Battlefield: a Bioarchaeological Analysis of Soldiers from the Battle of Aspern. In Combattre, souffrir, mourir dans les guerres de la Révolution et de l’Empire : approches croisées en histoire et anthropologie, Presses Universitaires de Provence. 
  • Quade, L. and Binder, M. (2018). Life on a Napoleonic Battlefield: Soldiers from the battle of Aspern. International Journal of Palaeopathology. 22 p23-38
  • Binder, M. And Quade, L. (2018). Death on a Napoleonic battlefield–Peri-mortem trauma in soldiers from the Battle of Aspern 1809. International Journal of Palaeopathology, 22, pp.66-77
  • Ranseder, C., Sakl-Oberthaler, S., Penz, M., Binder, M., Czeika, S., Jäger-Wersonig, S. and Quade, L. (2017). Napoleon in Aspern. Archäologische Spuren der Schlacht 1809. Wien: Phoibos-Verlag.
  • Quade, L. (2015). Review of Medieval Childhood: Archaeological Approaches by D.M. Hadley and K.A. Hemer Archaeology: Myths Within and Without 30.2, Archaeological Review from Cambridge p 186-190.

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