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.
Department of Archaeology
Department of Archaeology
- Health, diet and living environment in the Roman Empire: the skeletal and funerary evidence
- Investigating Morbidity and Malaria in Anglo-Saxon Wetland Environments
- The Taphonomic Effects of Marine Submersion on Human Skeletal Remains
- 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
Indicators of Esteem
- 2016: Editorial Board: Bioarchaeology International:
- 2016: External Examiner: University of Sheffield:
- 2016: Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past:
- 2015: Editorial Board: Science and Justice:
- 2015: Roman Archaeology Committee Member:
- 2013: External Examiner: Bounemouth University:
- 2013: Invited speaker: Ancient Perspectives on Ageing Retirement and Health, Manchester:
- 2010: Treasurer of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology:
- Gowland, R. L. & Thompson, T. J. U. (2013). Human Identity and Identification. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
- 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.
Chapter in book
- Gowland, R. L. (2018). ‘A Mass of Crooked Alphabets’ The Construction and Othering of Working Class Bodies in Industrial England. In Bioarchaeological Analyses and Bodies New Ways of Knowing Anatomical and Archaeological Skeletal Collections. Stone, P. Springer.
- Gowland, R. L. & Walther, L. J. (2018). Human Growth and Stature. In The Science of Roman History Biology, Climate, and the Future of the Past. Scheidel, W. Princeton University Press.
- Gowland, R.L. & Penny-Mason, B. (2018). Overview: Archaeology and the Medieval Life-Course. In Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology in Britain. Gerrard, C. & Gutiérrez, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 759-773.
- Southwell-Wright, W., Gowland, R. L. & Powell, L. (2016). Foundations and approaches to the study of care in the past. In Care in the Past: Archaeological and interdisciplinary perspectives. Southwell-Wright, W., Powell, L. & Gowland, R. L. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 1-19.
- Gowland, R. L. (2016). Growing Old: Biographies of Care and Disability in Later Life. In New Developments in the Bioarchaeology of Care. Tilley, Lorna, Schrenk, Alicia & Martin, Debra Cham: Springer. 237-251.
- Gowland, R. L. (2016). That 'tattered coat upon a stick' the ageing body: evidence for elder marginalisation and abuse in Roman Britain. In Care in the Past: Archaeological and interdisciplinary perspectives. Powell, L., Southwell-Wright, W. & Gowland, R. L. Oxford: Oxbow Books.
- Cataroche, J & Gowland, R. L. (2015). Flesh, Fire, and Funerary Remains from the Neolithic site of La Varde, Guernsey: Investigations Past and Present. In Cremation in Archaeology. Thompson, T. J. U. Oxbow.
- 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.
- 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. (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.
- Lewis, M. E. & Gowland, R. L. (2009), Infantile cortical hyperostosis: cases, causes and contradictions, in Lewis, M. E. & Clegg, M. eds, BAR International Series 1918: Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Reading, Archaeopress, Oxford, 43-52.
- 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.
- Powell, L., Southwell-Wright, W. & Gowland, R. L. (2016). Care in the Past: Archaeological and Interdisciplinary perspectives. Oxbow.
- Gowland, R. & Knusel, C. (2006). Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains. Oxford: Oxbow.
- Mays, Simon, Gowland, Rebecca, Halcrow, Siân & Murphy, Eileen (2017). Child Bioarchaeology: Perspectives on the Past 10 Years. Childhood in the Past 10(1): 38-56.
- Newman, S.L. & Gowland, R.L. (2017). Dedicated followers of fashion? Bioarchaeological perspectives on socio-economic status, inequality, and health in urban children from the Industrial Revolution (18th-19th C), England. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 27(2): 217-229.
- Gowland, R. L. (2017). Embodied Identities in Roman Britain: A Bioarchaeological Approach. Britannia 48: 175-194.
- Errickson, D., Grueso, I., Griffith, S., Setchell, J., Thompson, T. J. U., Thompson, C. E. L. & Gowland, R. L. (2017). Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 27(4): 650-661.
- Roberts, C. A., Caffell, A., Filipek-Ogden, K., Gowland, R. L. & Jakob, T. (2016). ‘Til Poison Phosphorous Brought them Death’ A potentially occupationally-related disease in a post-medieval skeleton from north-east England. International Journal of Paleopathology 13: 39-48.
- Arthur, N., Gowland, R. L. & Redfern, R. C. (2016). Coming of age in Roman Britain: osteological evidence for pubertal timing. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159(4): 698-713.
- Thompson, T.J.U., Szigeti, J., Gowland, R.L. & Witcher, R.E. (2016). Death on the frontier: military cremation practices in the north of Roman Britain. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10: 828-836.
- Gowland, R. L. (2016). Elder abuse: evaluating the potentials and problems of diagnosis in the archaeological record. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 26(3): 514-523.
- Griffith, S., Thompson, C. E., Thompson, T. J. U. & Gowland, R. L. (2016). Experimental abrasion of water submerged bone: The influence of bombardment by different sediment classes on microabrasion rate. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 10: 15-29.
- Shaw, Heidi, Montgomery, Janet, Redfern, Rebecca, Gowland, Rebecca & Evans, Jane (2016). Identifying migrants in Roman London using lead and strontium stable isotopes. Journal of Archaeological Science 66: 57-68.
- Booth, T., Redfern, R. C. & Gowland, R. L. (2016). Immaculate conceptions: Micro-CT analysis of diagenesis in Romano-British infant skeletons. Journal of Archaeological Science 74: 124-134.
- Kendall, R., Hendy, J., Collins, M. J., Millard, A. R. & Gowland, R. L. (2016). Poor preservation of antibodies in archaeological human bone and dentine. STAR: Science and Technology of Archaeological Research 2(1): 15-24.
- Kendall, R., Kendall, E., Macleod, I., Gowland, R. L. & Beaumont, J. (2015). An unusual exostotic lesion of the maxillary sinus from Roman Lincoln. International Journal of Paleopathology 11: 45-50.
- Gowland, R. L. (2015). Entangled lives: Implications of the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis for bioarchaeology and the life course. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(4): 530-540.
- Gilmour, R. L., Gowland, R. L., Roberts, C. A., Bernert, Z., Klara Kiss, K & Lassanyi, G. (2015). Gendered Differences in Accidental Trauma to Upper and Lower Limb Bones at Aquincum, Roman Hungary. International Journal of Paleopathology 11: 75-91.
- Millett, M. & Gowland, Rebecca (2015). Infant and child burials rites in Roman Britain: a study from East Yorkshire. Britannia 46: 171-189.
- Craps, D. & Gowland, R. L. (2015). The proximal ulna as an additional diagnostic feature of advanced rheumatoid arthritis. International Journal of Paleopathology 10: 26-30.
- Newman, S. L. & Gowland, R. L. (2015). The Use of Non-Adult Vertebral Dimensions as Indicators of Growth Disruption and Non-Specific Health Stress in Skeletal Populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(1): 155-164.
- Gowland, R. L., Chamberlain, A. & Redfern, R. C. (2014). On the brink of being: re-evaluating infanticide and infant burial in Roman Britain. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 96: 69-88.
- Penny-Mason, Bennjamin J & Gowland, Rebecca L (2014). The Children of the Reformation: Childhood Palaeoepidemiology in Britain, ad 1000–1700. Medieval Archaeology 58(1): 162-194.
- 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.
- Redfern, R, Gowland, R & Powell, L (2013). La sante des enfants sous l'Empire romain. Dossiers d'Archaeologie 356: 80-83.
- Henderson, CY, Craps, DD, Caffell, AC, Millard, AR & Gowland, R (2013). Occupational mobility in 19th Century rural England: the interpretation of entheseal changes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23(2): 197-210.
- 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(1): 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.
- Mrs Joy Szigeti
- Mrs Ellen Kendall
- Miss Ingrid Grueso-Dominguez
- Ms Kori Lea Filipek
- Miss Joanna Moore
- Miss Sian Mui
- Mr Bennjamin J. Penny-Mason
- Miss Sarah Morrison
- Ms Leslie Quade
- 2015: People and Place in the Kingdom of Northumbria AD 300 - 800 (£275742.00 from Leverhulme Trust)
- 2008: One NorthEast Pathfinder: Body Location and Recovery in Forensic Contexts (£39,000)
- 2014: Children of the Revolution: Health Inequalities during Industrialisation in the North of England (18th-19th Centuries) (£9396.60 from The British Academy)
- 2010: Investigating morbidity and malaria in Anglo-Saxon wetland environments (£7485.00 from The British Academy)