Dr Katie A. HemerKatie Hemer

Lecturer in Bioarchaeology

BA Hons (Cantab) Archaeology and Anthropology (First Class), MSc Palaeopathology, MSc Biomolecular Archaeology, PhD (Sheffield).

Email address: k.hemer@sheffield.ac.uk

Twitter: @KatieAHemer

Telephone: 0114 222 2925

Department address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House. Room C01
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom

Twitter: @KatieAHemer



I read Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam College) where I focused on Indian archaeology for my final year. I subsequently studied for an MSc in Palaeopathology at Durham University, followed by a second MSc in Biomolecular Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. I remained at Sheffield for my doctorate, which I was awarded in 2011. During the 2011-12 academic year, I was appointed as a University Teacher to cover Professor Mike Parker Pearson’s study leave. Between 2012-2015, I held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (“East meets West: Mobility and cultural contact between the Mediterranean and western Britain in the early medieval period, c.400 – 800 A.D”), and in 2013, I was also awarded a University of Sheffield Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship.

After returning from maternity leave in 2017, I transitioned from my VC Fellowship to become a Lecturer.


Research Interests

  • Early medieval period
  • Bioarchaeology, including stable isotope analysis (diet and population mobility)
  • Western Britain
  • Early medieval trade and migration
  • The Archaeology of Children and Childhood
  • Human osteology and Palaeopathology
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Disability and physical impairment in past populations

Current Research Projects:

Scremby Anglo-Saxon Cemetery

I am currently working with Dr Hugh Willmot from the Department and Dr Adam Daubney (Portable Antiquities Scheme) on the current excavations of the late 5th- and early 6th-century cemetery at Scremby, Lincolnshire: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/news/scremby-1.818298
Excavation of over 20 burials has shown the cemetery was the focus for a number of very high status burials. Scientific analysis of the human remains, including stable isotope analysis, and material culture from the cemetery is on-going.

The St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation Project

I am the co-director of The St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation Project, which is a collaborative research project with Dyfed Archaeological Trust. St Patrick’s Chapel is an early medieval (5th-10th century AD) Christian cemetery situated in sand dunes overlooking Whitesands Beach, Pembrokeshire. Further information about the project can be found on our A-Z List of Research Projects page: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/archaeology/research/st-patricks

Professional Roles

Professional Roles

  • I am a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
  • I am the President of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past: https://sscip.wordpress.com
  • I am a member of the Historic Environment Trailblazer Group.
  • I am a member of the Editorial Board for the journal, Childhood in the Past
  • I am a member of Editorial Board for the journal, Isle of Man Studies: Proceedings of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society.
  • I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • I am a member of the Irish Isotopes Research Group.

Selected publications:


Hadley, D.M. and Hemer, K.A. (eds.). 2014. Medieval Childhood: archaeological approaches. SSCIP Monograph 3. Oxford, Oxbow.

Book Chapters

Shiner, M., Hemer, K.A. and Commeau, R. 2019. The St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation Project: Public Engagement with the Rescue Excavation of an Early Medieval Cemetery in South West Wales. In, Williams, H., Wills-Evev, B. and Osborne, J (eds). The Public Archaeology of Death. Equinox Publishing, Sheffield

Hemer, K.A. and Evans, J.A. 2018. ‘The contribution of stable isotope analysis to the study of childhood movement and migration’, in Hadley, D.M., Crawford, S. and Shepard, G. Handbook of the Archaeology of Childhood. Oxford University Press Handbook.

Hemer, K.A. 2014. ‘Are we nearly there yet? Children and migration in early medieval western Britain’, in Hadley, D.M. and Hemer, K. A. (eds.). Medieval Childhood: archaeological approaches. SSCIP Monograph 3. Oxford, Oxbow, pp. 131-144.

Refereed Journal Articles

Hemer, K.A., Lamb, A.L., Chenery, C.A., and Evans, J.A. 2017. A multi-isotope investigation of diet in early medieval western Britain. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162: 423-440.

Hemer, K.A., Evans, J.A., Chenery, C.A., and Lamb, A.L. 2014. ‘No Man is an island: evidence of pre-Viking Age migration to the Isle of Man’. Journal of Archaeological Science 52: 242-249.

Hemer, K.A., Evans, J.A., Chenery, C.A., and Lamb, A.L. 2013. Evidence of early
medieval trade and migration between Wales and the Mediterranean Sea region. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 2352-2359.

Hemer, K.A. 2012. Stable isotope analysis of human remains: Brownslade and West Angle Bay. In Groom, P., Schlee, D., Hughes, G., Crane, P., Ludlow, N. and Murphy, K (eds.). Two Early Medieval Cemeteries in Pembrokeshire: Brownslade Barrow and West Angle Bay. Archaeologia Cambrensis 160: 133-203.

Hemer, K.A. 2012. A bioarchaeological study of the human remains from the early medieval cemetery of Cronk Keeillane, Isle of Man. Proceedings of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society XII (3): 469-486.

Hadley, D. and Hemer, K.A. 2011. Microcosms of migration: children and early medieval population movement. Childhood in the Past 4: 63-78.


Edwards, N., Davies, T., and Hemer, K.A. 2017. Research Framework For The Archaeology of Early Medieval Wales C. Ad 400–1070. IFA Wales/Cymru.

Conference posters

Raffone, C. Hemer, K.A., Willmott, H. August 2018. A histological investigation into the strategies for dealing with victims of the Black Death at medieval Thornton Abbey. 22nd European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, Croatia.

Hemer, K.A., Verlinden, P., Murphy, K., Shiner, M. 2017. A bioarchaeological investigation of the early medieval cemetery of St Patrick’s Chapel, Pembrokeshire. UK Archaeological Science Conference, April 2017. UCL, London. (Awarded Early Career Researcher Poster Prize by the Society for Archaeological Science).

Recent Conference Papers

  • May 2018. Macro and Micro migrations in post-Roman Britain. Maternitas in Classical Antiquity. The British School at Rome, Italy.
  • April 2018. Non-adult dis/ability and care in early medieval Britain. Society for American Archaeology 83rd Annual Meeting, Washington.
  • April 2018. Concern for the living, care for the dead: non-adult burial at the early Christian cemetery of St Patrick’s Chapel, Pembrokeshire. Society for American Archaeology 83rd Annual Meeting, Washington. (co-authored with Marion Shiner, University of Sheffield).
  • May 2016. “A’e tat en argluyd arnau”: women and children in early medieval Wales. Listening to Silence: sounding the experiences of women and children in Late Antiquity. Brown University, USA. (presented via Skype).
  • October 2015. St Patrick’s Chapel Cemetery. Bioarchaeological analyses: Preliminary Results. Early Medieval Wales Archaeology Research Group, Welshpool.
Public Engagement


August/September 2015.‘The St Patrick’s Chapel Excavation Project Exhibition’ hosted by St David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.

Invited talks:

  • November 2015. ‘On the utmost border of the earth’: life and death in early medieval Wales. UCL Institute of Archaeology / British Museum Medieval Seminar Series, London.
  •  July 2015. Caethion Cymru: investigating slavery in early medieval Wales. Leeds International Medieval Congress 2015.
  • February 2015. A world in motion: investigating population mobility in early medieval western Britain. Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt.
  • February 2015. ‘A’e tat en argluyd arnau’: perspectives on children and childhood in early medieval Wales. University of Sheffield, MARS lecture series.
  • December 2014. ‘On the utmost border of the earth’: Long-distance trade and contact with early medieval western Britain. Linking the Mediterranean: Regional and Trans-Regional Interactions in Times of Fragmentation (300 - 800 CE). Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Abteilung Byzanzforschung, Vienna, 11th-13th December.
  • October 2014. ‘On the utmost border of the earth': evidence for contact and migration in early medieval Wales. Irish Isotopes Research Group, University College Dublin, Dublin.
  • October 2013. Ymchwilio y gorffennol trwy archaeoleg biomoleciwlaidd. Welsh public lecture to Derby Welsh Speakers Society.
  • August 2013. Ymchwilio y gorffennol trwy moleciwlau. Welsh public lecture at the National Eisteddfod, Denbighshire.


  • World Civilisations (Coordinator - L1)
  • Archaeology of Britain (Coordinator - L1)
  • The Celtic West (Coordinator - L2)
  • Anglo-Saxon England (L2)
  • Dissertation supervision (L3)


  • Applied Archaeological Science
  • Dissertation supervision

PhD Students

Current students:

  • Marion Shiner (Sept 2017 – present): “Transient relations: non-adult funerary practices in 1st–10th century AD Wales and Ireland and the origin of separate infant burial grounds”. Funded by WRoCAH.
  • Valasia Strati (June 2017 – present): “The effects of Industrialization on the state of health and disease of a Victorian Urban Population: A case study from St. Hilda’s Church, South Shield (Newcastle)”. Project on-going. Self-funded.
  • Marit van Cant (Sept 2018 – present): “Dyed-In-The-Wool: The Impact of Occupational Behaviour and the Environment on Small Urban and Rural Communities in Flanders, c. 1200-1860 AD”.

Prospective students:

I am happy to discuss PhD supervision with prospective students interested in:The Early Medieval Period
The Archaeology of Children/Childhood
Funerary Archaeology
Bioarchaeology (including Human osteology/Palaeopathology/Biomolecular Archaeology)

Television and Media • Contributor – ‘Digging for Britain’, BBC Four, December 2016.
• Presenter for the Welsh-language channel, S4C:
• May – September 2015. Presenter, ‘Corff Cymru, Series 3’. Produced by Boom Pictures Cymru. 6-program series, aired May 2016.
• May – September 2014. Presenter, ‘Corff Cymru, Series 2’. Produced by Boom Pictures Cymru. 6-program series, aired September 2014
• February – July 2013. Presenter, ‘Corff Cymru'. Produced by Boom Pictures Cymru. 6-program series, aired April 2013.
• Press article – Excavation at Whitesands Bay after 50 skeletons found, BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-36164417
• Press article - Viking Skeleton found on Anglesey. North Wales Daily Post & BBC Wales.
Administrative Duties

President of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past
Department Director of Undergraduate Admissions