Professor Marc Oxenham

Professor Marc Oxenham
Professor Marc Oxenham

Professor Marc Oxenham


Personal Professor


Department of Archaeology, School of Geosciences
University of Aberdeen
Room 210, St. Mary's
Elphinstone Road
AB24 3UF


Marc F Oxenham was awarded a British Academy Global Professorship, which he has taken up in the School of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 2020 and 2024. 

He is also a Professor of Bioarchaeology in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Australian National University. He received his PhD from the Charles Darwin University in 2001. He has held positions at Colorado College, USA, and the ANU. President of the Australasian Society of Human Biology (2012-14), Australian Future Fellow (2013-17), elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2011) and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2016). Since 2009, he has acted as a consultant for the Unrecovered War Casualties Unit-Army (Australian Department of Defence) in which capacity he has searched for, recovered and identified defence force personnel from conflicts ranging from WWI to the Vietnam War, in France, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and northern Australia. In 2018 he was awarded a Silver Commendation by the Deputy Chief of Army in recognition of this work.

He has undertaken archaeological and/or bioanthropological research in Japan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Research specialisations include: reconstruction of health from human skeletal and dental remains, mortuary archaeology, and human identification and estimation of the time since death in forensic anthropological contexts. He is best known as a bioarchaeologist, focusing on human biological and socio-cultural adaptation to climate and technological variability/change in Holocene Southeast Asia.

Summary of research and public engagement outputs: Competitive Australian Research Council & British Academy Grants: $3.75 Million; other competitive grants: $352k. Single authored books 1; co-authored books 1; edited books 7; Book chapters 48; Research Papers 77; Encyclopaedia Articles 2; Conference papers/posters 105 (21 invited); Commissioned forensic reports 69.

Latest Publications

  • Primary bone retention in a young adult male with limb disuse: a bioarchaeological case study

    Walker, M. M., Oxenham, M., Nguyễn, T. M. H., Trinh, H. H., Minh, T. T., Nguyen, L. C., Matsumura, H., Miszkiewicz, J. J.
    Historical Biology
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Diverse ceramic technologies in Neolithic southern Vietnam: the case of Rach Nui

    Sarjeant, C., Piper, P. J., Kien, N. K. T., Dang, N. K., Lan, D. T., Bellwood, P., Oxenham, M.
    Asian Perspectives
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Hydatid disease (Echinococcosis granulosis) diagnosis from skeletal osteolytic lesions in an early seventh-millennium BP forager community from pre-agricultural northern Vietnam

    Vlok, M., Buckley, H. R., Domett, K., Willis, A., Tromp, M., Trinh, H. H., Minh, T. T., Mai Huong, N. T., Nguyen, L. C., Matsumura, H., Huu, N. T., Oxenham, M.
    American Journal of Physical Anthropology
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • “Lest we forget”: An overview of Australia’s response to the recovery and identification of unrecovered historic military remains

    MacGregor, D. M., Lain, R., Bernie, A., Cooper, A., Dawe, T., Donlon, D., Fitzmaurice, T., Kelly, G., Heiman, S., Lowe, A., Manns, B., Matic, A., Mitchell, N., Oakley, D., Tutty, M., White, T., Williams, G., Willis, A., Wright, K., Wu, Y., Oxenham, M. F.
    Forensic Science International, vol. 328, 111042
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Determinants of infant mortality and representation in bioarchaeological samples: a review

    McFadden, C., Muir, B., Oxenham, M.
    American Journal of Biological Anthropology, vol. 177, no. 2, pp. 196-206
    Contributions to Journals: Articles

View My Publications


Research Overview

I have expertise (demonstrated by grant and publication outputs) in bioarchaeology, archaeology and forensic anthropology. My chief research focus centres on understanding ancient human biological responses to major lifeway shifts in Southeast Asia (Japan, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam). A secondary research focus is elucidating the processes, patterning and rate of soft and hard tissue decomposition in a range of media (surface, sub-surface, and aquatic) in order to develop more precise models for estimating human time since death in Australian conditions. Since coming to the ANU I have been active in promoting student led research, and fostering the next generation of scholars, and have directly supervised 27 Honours; 16 Masters; and 11 PhD student completions in the areas of mortuary archaeology, bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. I have been instrumental in building the Biological Anthropology program (the only one of its type in Australia) from 2.5 fulltime academic staff to 4.5 and broadening the research and teaching focus to include primatology, the archaeology of medicine, human behavioural ecology and bone histology. During the past five 

Current Research

Human Stress, Resilience and Adaptation in Ancient Northern Ireland and Scotland

British Academy Global Professorship Research 

Utilising state-of-the-art/cutting-edge developments in ancient skeletal analysis this project develops new ways of understanding ancient population dynamics to assess health and stress over the last 6,000 years. Reasons for, and consequences of, the experience of stress in human communities spanning the origin of farming (Neolithic) through to the Medieval period will be modelled in a study that utilizes the rich, but understudied human remains collections archived in UK museums. Using methods developed by the PI in a different geographical context and applied in the UK for the first time, the project will provide new understanding of how northern communities biologically adapted to and were resilient to the vagaries of significant change in climate, environment, technology and economy throughout antiquity. The project will significantly grow an emerging area of bioarchaeological expertise at the University of Aberdeen and will provide new pioneering techniques in the field of bioarchaeology more generally.

Funding and Grants

Australian Research Council 

  • 2015. LE150100015. AUD $430,000. ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities Grant: Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research. My Role: CI. With: FI Shari Forbes; CIs and PIs: Roux CP; Stuart BH; Fu SL; Wallman JF; Roberts RG; van den Bergh GD; Donlon D; Adler CJ; Shewan LG; Robertson J; Oxenham, Mallett X; Walsh SJ; Wenger E; Found BJ; Hayes, Robert J; Harris SM; Cole D; Dodson JR; Blau S; Archer MS.
  • 2013-2017. FT120100299. AUD $708,777. Australian Future Fellowship. Origins, health and demography of ancestral Southeast Asians: 2500 BC to 1000 AD.
  • 2011-14. DP110101097. AUD $824,000. ARC Discovery. My Role: CI. The Archaeological and Biological Foundations of Southeast Asia, 2500 to 1000 BC. With: Bellwood P, Hung H-c.
  • 2007-10. DP0774079. AUD $351,618. ARC Discovery. My Role: CI. The Creation of Southeast Asian peoples and Cultures, 3500 BC to AD 500. With: Bellwood P, Stevenson J.
  • 2006. DP0666607.AUD $40,000. ARC Discovery. My Role: CI. The Flores hobbit - Homo floresiensis or microcephalic eastern Indonesian?With:Bulbeck, FD.

British Academy

  • 2019 [for 2020-2024]. British Academy Global Professorship: four years. £750,000 (c. AUD $1.4M)

Other Competitive Grants

  • 2018. Durham International Senior Fellowship (3 months). £3000 (c. AUD $5,200) plus return airfare (Australia Durham) and accommodation coasts for three months. Archaeology of Ancient Medicine.
  • 2018. 18MEC26. ANU. AUD $135,000. Major Equipment Grant: Microscopy of the Primate Skeleton. My Role CI, with LCI Justyna Miszkiewicz and CI Alison Behie.
  • 2017.AUD $9,000. Visiting Professor Grant, Indiana University, Bloomington.
  • 2011. AUD $20,000. CASS Research Committee Conference Grant.
  • 2010. AUD $17, 161. CASS Internal Equipment Grant Successful Bid.
  • 2009. AUD $5,000. Australian Federal Police Grant for Forensic Neo-Taphonomic Research.
  • 2007. AUD $84,000. Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. Taiwan, ROC. The Role of Taiwan in the Creation of Southeast Asian Peoples and Cultures, 3500 BC to AD 500. With: Bellwood P, Tsang C-h, Hung H-c, Yoshiyuki I.

Teaching Responsibilities

University of Aberdeen

I am involved in the delivery of the MSc Osteoarchaeology Programm, convened by Dr Rebecca Crozier.

MSc Osteoarchaeology Link

Additionally, since starting on 1st February 2020, I have contributed lectures to:




Australian National University

At the ANU I was responsible for the:

Conception, development, delivery of the forensic anthropology and archaeology program from 2005 to present. Includes development and delivery of a new major (and subsequently minor) as well as entirely new courses [Forensic Anthropology & Archaeology BIAN2128/6515; Archaeology of Death and Mortuary Practices ARCH2054/6521]. Establishment and convenorship of MA (forensic anthropology) from 2005 to 2010.


Conception, development and delivery of the bioarchaeology program from 2005 to the present. Includes development and delivery of entirely new courses [Human Skeletal Analysis BIAN3015/6517; Ancient Health & Disease BIAN2125/6512; Ancient Medicine BIAN2130/6519] and the development and convenorship of a new Honours program: Combined Honours Archaeology & Biological Anthropology (2005 to 2015).


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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals