Aberdeen one of ten institutions to be awarded a Global Professorship from the British Academy

A leading academic whose expertise spans bioarchaeology, archaeology and forensic anthropology will join the University of Aberdeen as part of the British Academy's Global Professorships programme.

Professor Marc Oxenham will lead a project utilising cutting-edge developments in ancient skeletal analysis to develop new ways of understanding ancient population dynamics to assess health and stress over the last 6,000 years.

He will join the Department of Archaeology under the second round of the programme which is supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the UK Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund.

The Global Professorships seek to demonstrate and enhance the UK’s commitment to international research partnerships and collaboration as well as strengthen the UK’s research capacity and capability in the humanities and the social sciences.

Professor Marc Oxenham, from preeminent tertiary institution ‘the Australian National University’, has spent the past two decades undertaking archaeological and bioanthropological research in Japan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

His research specialisations include the reconstruction of health from human skeletal and dental remains, mortuary archaeology, and human identification and estimation of the time since death.

He said he was looking forward to applying his expertise to new contexts, exploring 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 span the origin of farming (Neolithic) through to the Medieval period and will be modelled in a study that utilises the rich, but understudied human remains collections archived in Scottish and Northern Irish museums and universities.

Professor Oxenham said: “My Global Professorship aims to grow an emerging area of bioarchaeological expertise at the University of Aberdeen and provide new pioneering techniques in the field of bioarchaeology more generally.

“I am delighted to have an opportunity to share my particular skills, knowledge of and approaches to the study of the antiquity of human health with my UK counterparts and, in particular, the next generation of students and young scholars in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Professor Gordon Noble, head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen, said: "Marc is one of the world leaders in Osteoarchaeology and it is a real honour to host him and his project for four years at Aberdeen.

“His project will build on the rich archaeological collections of the university and will provide new insights into human health and lifeways in Scotland and Ireland over the last 6000 years. His position will also help support our Osteoarchaeology masters teaching and his position will benefit the field of Osteoarchaeology in the UK more generally.

“The British Academy Global Professorships are hugely prestigious and it testament to the qualities of Marc as a researcher and to the distinctiveness of what we do in Archaeology at Aberdeen that we have been able to win this award"

Professor Ash Amin, British Academy Foreign Secretary, said: “We are delighted to welcome this new cohort of British Academy Global Professors, who will be joining a wide range of higher education institutions across the UK and working on a fascinating set of projects. Our ambition is to support outstanding internationally-recognised scholars from around the world, enabling them to develop lasting networks and collaborations in the UK while drawing on their knowledge and expertise to drive excellence in UK research and higher education.”





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The full list of award-holders:

Law, Virtue and Political Community – Dr Maria Amalia Amaya Navarro, University of Edinburgh

Romantic Melodrama: Feeling in Search of Form – Professor Michael Gamer, Queen Mary University of London

Distributional Macroeconomics: Better Understanding the Two-Way Interaction of Inequality and the Macroeconomy – Professor Benjamin Moll, London School of Economics and Political Science

The Literature of Addiction – Professor Robert Morrison, Bath Spa University

Human Stress, Resilience and Adaptation in Ancient Northern Ireland and Scotland – Professor Marc Oxenham, University of Aberdeen

Digital Media, Participation and Political Culture – Dr Aswin Punathambekar, Loughborough University

Radical Activism and British Publishing for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Children – Professor Karen Sands O’Connor, Newcastle University

Sexual Relations as International Relations – Dr Laura Sjoberg, Royal Holloway, University of London

Indigenous Environmental History and Applied Traditional Ecological Knowledge – Professor Gregory Smithers, University of Hull

Imagined Futures: Technology, Urban Planning and Their Subjects at the Margins of an Indian Megapolis – Professor Sanjay Srivastava, University College London.