Staff Profile:Dr Mary Lewis

Dr Mary Lewis
Job Title:
Associate Professor
  • Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes (SAGES)
Areas of Interest:
  • Child Paleopathology
  • Child growth and development
  • Osteology of the life course
  • Adolescence and puberty
  • Medieval and Roman Child Health


Mary is convenor for Bones, Bodies and Burials (Year 1); Introduction to human osteoarchaeology (Year 2); Palaeopathology (Year 3); Human Bioarchaeology and Issues and Debates in Bioarchaeology (Masters)

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to discuss proposals for postgraduate research in any area of biological anthropology, but especially palaeopathology and non-adult osteology. For further information, please contact Dr Lewis and see funding opportunities here.

Mary has supervised students on a variety of topics in bioarchaeology (forensic anthropology, adult ageing and the life course, urbanisation and health, Roman transitions). She currently supervises five postgraduate students:

  • Judith Arnett: Age estimation and secular change: Developing criteria to aid in the identification of the child victims of Colombia's internal armed conflict.
  • Jennifer Austen: Cribra orbitalia, Cribra Humeralis and Cribra Femoralis: understanding their aetiology.
  • Candace McGovern: Coming of Age as a Woman in Roman Britain: physical development and the life course from puberty through adulthood
  • Sophia Mills: The elderly in Medieval England.
  • Sasha Valme: Age of Puberty in Post-Medieval England.

Previous Graduates include:

  • Anna Rohnbogner (AHRC Studentship, with Dr Eckardt) "Dying young: a palaeopathological analysis of child health in Roman Britain" Graduated 2015. Anna currently works as an Outreach officer at the University of Gloucester.
  • Petra Verlinden (Leverhulme Trust Studentship) "Child's Play? A new methodology for the identification of trauma in non-adult skeletal remains." Graduated 2015. Petra currently works as an Osteology Demonstrator at the University of Sheffield
  • Rebecca Watts (AHRC Studentship) "Childhood development and adult longevity in archaeological populations from medieval and post-Medieval England (AD 950-1855)." Graduated 2014. Rebecca currently works as an osteoarchaeologist for AOC Archaeology.
  • Margaret Andrews (with Dr Gabor Thomas) "The palaeopathology of the Romano-British to early Medieval Transition in Southern Britain." Graduated 2014. Margaret is a General Medical Practitioner
  • Ceri Falys (overseas, AHRC Studentship) "Extending the Life Course: developing new methods for identifying the elderly in the archaeological record." Graduated 2012. Ceri is the Head Osteoarchaeologist at TVAS, Reading,
  • Justine Tracey (with Prof. Richard Bradley) "Cultural behaviour or Natural Processes? A review of Southern Britain Iron Age Skeletal Remains." Graduated 2011. Justine works as a civil servant.
  • Maria Jelaca-Tavakoli (overseas) "A forensic approach to estimation of stature from dimensions of the skeletonised lumbar and sacral spine." Graduated 2008. Maria teaches Anthropology at Southwestern College, California.
Research groups / Centres:

Key Facts

Dr Mary Lewis teaches the method and theory behind the study of human skeletal remains, osteological techniques and palaeopathology at undergraduate and Master's level. Mary's research primarily aims to enhance our knowledge of diseases in children from archaeological contexts (palaeopathology). This includes devising new diagnostic criteria (e.g. endocranial lesions, thalassaemia, TB etc.) and exploring social questions such as the impact or urbanisation, work and migration on child health.

Her recent work has focussed on child health in Roman Britain, stemming from an AHRC-funded Roman Diaspora Project (2007-9), and the health and movement of medieval apprentices (Leverhulme Trust, 2012-4), both previously neglected subjects in bioarchaeology. Second, her work and that of her research students has broadened osteological techniques used to explore aspects of the life course (infancy, childhood, adolescence and old age), including the development of a new method to identify the stages of puberty in skeletal remains.

Mary is Associate Editor for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and the International Journal of paleopathology, and and sits on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. She is currently working on a single-authored book entitled: Identification of Pathological Conditions in Child Human Skeletal Remains (Academic Press, 2018).

A video based on Mary's 'medieval adolescent' research has been created and can be viewed here. Click to follow the story of William Westoby, a 14-year-old apprentice in the city of York.

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Number of items: 40.

















This list was generated on Tue Feb 19 04:21:52 2019 UTC.

Earlier Publications

Lewis, M.E. and Rutty, G. (2003) Endangered Children: the personal identification of children in forensic anthropology. Science and Justice 43(4): 201-209

Lewis, M.E. (2002) The impact of industrialisation: comparative study of child health in four sites from medieval and post-medieval England (850-1859). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 119(3): 211-223.

Lewis, M.E. and  Roberts C.A. (1997) Growing pains: the interpretation of stress indicators. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 7: 581-586

Lewis, M.E. and  Roberts C.A. (1996) A comparative study of the prevalence of maxillary sinusitis in medieval urban and rural populations in Northern England. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 98(4): 497-506.

Lewis, M.E., Roberts C.A. and  Manchester, K. (1995) Inflammatory bone changes in the leprous skeletons from the medieval hospital of St. James and St. Mary Magdalene. International Journal of Leprosy Vol. 63(1): 77-85.

BA (Leicester), MSc, PhD (Bradford)




Contact Details

+44 (0) 118 378 8927

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