Dr Jo Appleby
Lecturer in Human Bioarchaeology
BA (Camb), MA (Soton), Ph.D. (Cambridge)
tel. no.: +44 (0)116 2522604
Jo Appleby studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, before completing an MA in Osteoarchaeology at Southampton in 2003. She returned to Cambridge for her PhD, which used osteological analysis to investigate the social meanings of ageing in the European Early Bronze Age. After her PhD, Jo worked for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit for 15 months. From 2008-2011 she held a Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, researching the changing funerary practices of the East Anglian Bronze Age. As well as her continued interest in the Eurasian Bronze Age, she is the osteologist for two projects further afield in Cape Verde and Mauritius. She joined the teaching staff of the School of Archaeology & Ancient History as Lecturer in Bioarchaeology from January 2012.
During 2012 and 2013 I have been the lead osteologist on the University of Leicester’s search for Richard III, which has now successfully identified the remains of the 15th century king.
My major research interest is in using osteological analysis to investigate social questions in a prehistoric context with an especial focus on the Bronze Age. I work in a number of geographical regions, partially driven by the availability of suitable skeletal material to answer my questions. In particular, I am interested in how analysis of skeletal remains may be combined with that of burial taphonomy and burial practice to investigate social identity. Recently I have been researching the changing burial practices of the Early and Middle Bronze Age in East Anglia and especially the introduction of cremation. I will soon be commencing a new research project in the Southern Urals region of Russia together with Bryan Hanks of the University of Pittsburgh. This area sees large-scale metalworking and complex settlements in the Middle Bronze Age, but the evidence for social hierarchy is not clear-cut. I will use skeletal evidence from this area to investigate skeletal health and disease, population movement and burial practice. In this way I hope to be able to cast light on social formations in this region including gender, kinship and social hierarchy.
In addition to my prehistoric research, I am the osteologist for two projects dealing with the more recent past. Human remains from two sites on Santiago Island, Cape Verde, have the potential to cast light on the health and disease of the island’s population from its first settlement in the late 15th century to the early 19th century. The central position of Cape Verde in the Atlantic slave trade means that these remains are very important for understanding questions of colonisation, population movement and the construction of identity.
Mauritius is another island that played a central role in recent slavery, and has sometimes been seen as a test-bed for the large-scale plantation slavery that developed in the Caribbean. Here, the skeletal remains of ex-slaves and indentured labourers are being used to try to understand something of the lives of groups who are under-represented in written sources, and to provide an alternative narrative to those given by contemporary slave owners and abolitionists. Mauritian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (MACH) project.
For potential PhD applicants, I am very happy to consider proposals for research in the following fields: Human osteology, Funerary archaeology, Bronze Age Britain and Europe, and the Archaeology of the body.
I teach on a variety of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, which includes co-ordinating two campus-based modules:
AR2036 Professional Skills
AR3076 Human Skeletal analysis
I also co-ordinate one distance learning module
AR1553 Later Prehistory
Selected Recent Publications
Appleby, J. In press. Bodies and burials: the contribution of Bronze Age human remains. In Roberts, B. (ed.) A Research Agenda for the British Bronze Age. London: Trustees of the British Museum.
Appleby, J. & Miracle, P. In press. Sacred Spaces – Sacred Species: Zooarchaeological Perspectives on Ritual Uses of Caves. In Moyes, H. (ed.) Journeys into the Dark Zone: A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Caves as Sacred Spaces. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
Appleby, J. 2013. Temporality and the Transition to Cremation in the Late Third Millennium to Mid Second Millennium BC in Britain . Cambridge Archaeological Journal 23(1), 83-97.
Appleby, J., Seetah, T.K. Calaon, D., Caval, S., Pluskowski, A., Lafleure, J.F., Janoo, A. and Teelock, V. Online, early view. The non-adult cohort from Le Morne cemetery, Mauritius: a snap shot of early life and death after abolition. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. doi: 10.1002/oa.2259
Appleby, J. 2011. Bodies, burials and ageing: the temporality of old age in prehistoric societies. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 30(3), 231-246.
Rabett, R., Appleby, J., Blyth, A., Farr, L., Gallou, A., Griffiths, T., Hawkes, J., Marcus, D., Marlow, L., Son, N.V., Stimpson, C. and Tâń, N.C. 2011. Investigation of a Late- to Early Post-Pleistocene Shell Midden in Tràng An Park, Northern Vietnam. Quaternary International 239, 153-169.
Seetah, K., Balbo, A., Calaon, D., Čaval, S., Farr, H., Pluskowski, A., Appleby, J., Durand, C., Lightfoot, E., Morales, J. and Escobar, M.M. 2011. The Mauritian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Project: exploring the impact of colonialism and colonisation in the Indian Ocean. Antiquity 85.
Appleby, J. 2010. Why We Need an Archaeology of Old Age, and a Suggested Approach. Norwegian Archaeological Review 43(2), 145-168.
Appleby, J. 2010. Ageing as Fragmentation and disarticulation. In Rebay, K., Sørensen, M.L.S. and Hughes, J. (eds.) Body parts and wholes: Changing relations and meanings, 46-53. Oxford: Oxbow.