Dr Becky Gowland
I studied for my undergraduate degree at this very Department and it was during this time that I first developed an interest in studying human bones. On completing my degree, I spent a year working for various archaeological units; excavating sites of all periods and types from settlements to cemeteries. This work gave me the opportunity to excavate and analyse human skeletal remains from a variety of time periods. Having enjoyed this experience immensely, I undertook the MSc in Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology taught jointly between the Universities of Sheffield and Bradford. It was during this time that I began to specialise in skeletal age estimation techniques and age as an aspect of social identity, and I returned to Durham University to pursue this subject at doctoral level. During the course of my PhD I became interested in the divide between science and social theory in archaeology and the implications of this for human skeletal analysis and funerary archaeology. This became the subject of a book The Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains that I co-edited with Dr Chris Knüsel (University of Exeter).
After completing my PhD, I became a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, where I worked on a project examining skeletal indicators of age-at-death and the palaeodemography of both catastrophic and attritional skeletal assemblages. On completing this post I was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, which I began in February 2003. Whilst at Cambridge I began to collaborate with several members of the Classics Faculty on projects involving human skeletal remains from Rome and this collaboration continues today.
In October 2006 I was appointed as Lecturer in Bioarchaeology at the University of Durham. I am very happy to be teaching and researching human skeletal remains in the department where I first became fascinated by them myself.
I currently teach human skeletal analysis at both Undergraduate and Masters level. I also co-organise and teach a short course in Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology with Dr Tim Thompson at Teesside University. Tim and I have recently completed a co-authored book Human Identity and Identification which examines the inter-relationship between social identity and the biological tissues of the body.
- Health and demography in the Roman world
- Skeletal ageing and age as an aspect of social identity
- Social perceptions, care and treatment of the physically impaired in early medieval England
- The history of malaria in England
- The inter-relationship between the physical body and social identity
- Bones and Human Societies
- Identification and Analysis of the Normal Human Skeleton
- Palaeopathology. Theory and Method
- Themes in Palaeopathology
Indicators of Esteem
- 2013: External Examiner: Bounemouth University:
- 2013: Invited speaker: Ancient Perspectives on Ageing Retirement and Health, Manchester:
- 2013: Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past:
- 2010: Treasurer of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology:
Book chapters: online
- Gowland, R. L. & Garnsey, P. (2010). Skeletal evidence for health, nutritional status and malaria in Rome and the empire. In Roman diasporas; archaeological approaches to mobility and diversity in the Roman Empire. Eckardt, Hella Journal of Roman Archaeology. Supplement 78: 131-156.
- Gowland, R. L. & Thompson, T. J. U. (2013). Human Identity and Identification. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
- Gowland, R. & Knusel, C. (2006). Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. Oxford: Oxbow.
- Gowland, R. L (2010). Palaeoepidemiology: the measure of disease in the human past. Medical History 54(3): 407-408.
- Gowland, R.L. (2009). Children, Identity, and the Past. Edited by Liv Helga Dommasnes and Melanie Wrigglesworth. Childhood in the Past: An International Journal
- Gowland, R.L. (2004). Review of 'Burial in early medieval England and Wales', edited by Sam Lucy and Andrew Reynolds. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 14(2): 145-147.
- Gowland, R. (2006). Age as an aspect of social identity: the archaeological funerary evidence. In Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. Gowland, R. & Knusel, C. Oxford: Oxbow. 143-154.
- Gowland, R. L. & Knusel, C. J. (2006). Introduction. In Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. Gowland, R. L. & Knusel, C. J. Oxford: Oxbow. ix-xiv.
Edited works: conference proceedings
- Lewis, M. E. & Gowland, R. L. (2009). Infantile cortical hyperostosis: cases, causes and contradictions. Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, University of Reading, Archaeopress.
- Gowland, R. L. & Chamberlain, A.T. (2005). Estimating age-at-death from the pubic symphysis: past, present and future. British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology 2003, Southampton, Archaeopress.
- Gowland, R.L. (2004). The social identity of health in late Roman Britain. Thirteenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, Leicester, Oxbow.
- Millard, A. & Gowland, R. (2003). A Bayesian approach to the estimation of age-at-death from tooth development and wear in humans.
- Gowland, R. L. & Chamberlain, A.T. (2003). A new method for estimating gestational age from skeletal long bone length. Archaeological Sciences 1999, Bristol, Archaeopress.
- Gowland, R. (2001). Playing dead: implications of mortuary evidence for the social construction of childhood in Roman Britain. Tenth Annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, London, Oxbow.
Edited works: contributions
- Redfern, R. C. & Gowland, R. L. (2012). A bioarchaeological perspective on the pre-adult stages of the life course: implications for the care and health of children in the Roman Empire. In Families in the Roman and Late Antique World. Harlow, M. & Larsson Loven, L. Continuum. 111-140.
Journal papers: academic
- DeBattista, R, Thompson, T J U, Thompson, C E & Gowland, R L (2013). A comparison of surface features on submerged and non-submerged bone using scanning electron microscopy. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 20(6): 770-776.
- Henderson, C Y, Craps, D D, Caffell, A C, Millard A R & Gowland R L (2013). Occupational mobility in 19th century rural England: the interpretation of entheseal changes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23(2): 197-210.
- Gowland, R L, Chamberlain, A T & Redfern, R C (2013). On the brink of being: re-evaluatng infanticide and infant burial in Roman Britain. Journal of Roman Archaeology Suppelmentary Series
- Gowland, R.L. & Western, A.G. (2012). Morbidity in the Marshes: Using Spatial Epidemiology to Investigate Skeletal Evidence for Malaria in Anglo-Saxon England (AD410-1050). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147(2): 301-311.
- Thompson, C. E. L., Ball, S., Thompson, T. J. U. & Gowland, R. L. (2011). The abrasion of modern and archaeological bone by mobile sediments: the importance of transport modes. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 784-793.
- Gowland, R. L. & Redfern, R. C. (2010). Childhood health in the Roman World: perspectives from the centre and margin of the Empire. Childhood in the Past: An International Journal 3: 15-42.
- Gowland, R. (2007). Age, ageism and osteological bias: the evidence from late Roman Britain. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 65: 153-169.
- Gowland, R. (2007). Beyond ethnicity: symbols of identity in fourth to sixth century AD England. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 14: 56-65.
- Lewis, M. E. & Gowland, R. L. (2007). Brief and precarious lives: infant mortality in contrasting sites from medieval and post-medieval England (AD 850-1859). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 134(1): 117-129.
- Samworth, R. & Gowland, R. (2007). Estimation of adult skeletal age-at-death: statistical assumptions and applications. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 17(2): 174-188.
- Gowland, R. & Chamberlain, A.T. (2005). Detecting plague: palaeodemographic characterisation of a catastrophic death assemblage. Antiquity 79(303): 146-157.
- Gowland, R. L. & Chamberlain, A.T. (2002). A Bayesian Approach to Ageing Perinatal Skeletal Material from Archaeological Sites: Implications for the Evidence for Infanticide in Roman-Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science 29(6): 677-685.
Journal papers: popular
- Redfern, R, Gowland, R & Powell, L (2013). La sante des enfants sous l'Empire romain. Dossiers d'Archaeologie 356: 80-83.
- 2010: Investigating morbidity and malaria in Anglo-Saxon wetland environments (British Academy Small Grant). Research Assistants are Gaynor Western and Martin Redding.
- 2008: One NorthEast Pathfinder: Body Location and Recovery in Forensic Contexts (£39,000)