Osteology LaboratoryOsteo-banner

Research and teaching in osteology has been a key strength of the Department of Archaeology for over 40 years. Our focus in based on both the detailed knowledge and understanding of primate and human anatomy across time and space, and the importance of situating these in a broader context through archaeological and multidisciplinary study of topics such as funerary practice, palaeoenvironment and palaeoeconomy. Sheffield has a long heritage of contributing to fundamental questions and cutting-edge issues within the field. Past and present staff and students have made significant contributions to the advancement of: methods such as the assessment of age at death in humans and the inference of substance patterns from primate teeth; the study of skeletal remains in their wider context including themes such as health, disease and disability and primate mating strategies; and field work projects across the world. We champion multidisciplinary engagement at all levels, providing teaching in areas such as biomolecular archaeology and evolutionary and human anatomy, alongside fundamental training in subject-specific method and theory.


Our current staff specialise in the analysis of all major forms of biological anthropological evidence: modern primates, extinct hominins, anatomically modern humans up to the present day and animals, both ancient and modern. In particular, we provide teaching as part of undergraduate modules People, Plants and Animals (2nd year), Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3rd year), and the MSc programmes in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology, Osteoarchaeology and Palaeoanthropology.


The department benefits from four dedicated lab facilities specific to the teaching of primate or human skeletal analysis including both lecture/practical spaces and research areas. On site, we also have a cutting-edge imaging suite (complete with photographic and X-ray equipment, and 3D scanning facilities), wet labs and a dedicated histology lab, plus facilities for human dissection via collaboration with the Faculty of Science.

We benefit from significant research collections for primatology and human osteology, many of which derive from Sheffield-based field projects over the past decade, and a close collaboration with the Zooarchaeology Lab facilities and staff. These facilities are available to all student and staff whether as part of our taught courses, research degrees or on-going research projects. We are also happy to receive requests for access from external researchers.