Dr Jo Appleby

Associate Professor of Human Bioarchaeology

jo in the fieldBA (Cambridge), MA (Southampton), PhD (Cambridge), FHEA, FSA

+44 (0)116 2522604

Email: ja253@le.ac.uk

Personal details

I studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge, before completing an MA in Osteoarchaeology at Southampton in 2003. I returned to Cambridge for my PhD, which used osteological analysis to investigate the social meanings of ageing in the European Early Bronze Age. After my PhD, I worked for the Cambridge Archaeological Unit for 15 months. From 2008-2011 I held a Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, researching the changing funerary practices of the East Anglian Bronze Age. I joined the teaching staff of the School of Archaeology & Ancient History as Lecturer in Bioarchaeology from January 2012. My current research spans three major themes: The history and prehistory of ageing from biological and social perspectives; prehistoric mortuary practices; and the reconstruction of past social structures through analysis of mortuary deposits (through archaeological and osteological analysis). In addition, I was the osteological lead for the analysis of Richard III.


I teach on a variety of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level, which includes both campus based and distance learning modules.


Selected publications

  • Appleby, J. (2017). Ageing and the Body in Archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 1-19. doi:10.1017/S0959774317000610
  • Appleby, J. E. P. (2016). Archaeothanatology in the English-speaking world: the belated spread and potential applications of a methodologically rigorous approach to mortuary analysis. In What Bones Tell Us/El Que Ens Expliquen Els Ossos (pp. 13-24). SERP/University of Barcelona.
  • Appleby, J., Thomas, R., & Buikstra, J. (2015). Increasing confidence in paleopathological diagnosis - Application of the Istanbul terminological framework. International Journal of Paleopathology, 8, 19-21. doi:10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.07.003
  • Appleby, J., Rutty, G. N., Hainsworth, S. V., Woosnam-Savage, R. C., Morgan, B., Brough, A., Earp, R., Robinson, C., King, T.E., Morris, M and Buckley, R. (2015). Perimortem trauma in King Richard III: a skeletal analysis. The Lancet, 385(9964), 17-23. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60804-7
  • Appleby, J. E. P., Mitchell, P. D., Robinson, C., Brough, A., Rutty, G., Harris, R., . . . Morgan, B. (2014). The Scoliosis of Richard III, last Plantagenet King of England. Diagnosis and clinical significance.. The Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60762-5
  • Lamb, A. L., Evans, J. E., Buckley, R., & Appleby, J. (2014). Multi-isotope analysis demonstrates significant lifestyle changes in King Richard III. Journal of Archaeological Science, 50, 559-565. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2014.06.021
  • Appleby, J. & Miracle, P. 2013. Sacred Spaces - Sacred Species: Zooarchaeological Perspectives on Ritual Uses of Caves. In Moyes, H. (ed.) Sacred Darkness: A Global Perspective of the Ritual Uses of Caves, pp.275-284. 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.
  • Buckley, R., Morris, M., Appleby, J., King, T., O'Sullivan, D. And Foxhall, L. 2013. The king in the car park: Searching for the last known resting place of King Richard III. Antiquity 87(336), 519-538.
  • 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.

View a full list of publications.


My research focuses on the archaeological study of mortuary practices and skeletal remains and their potential for reconstructing past social organization. Since my PhD I have been interested in developing approaches to the elderly and ageing in archaeological contexts. I have led a number of projects on prehistoric mortuary practices, particularly the use of the skeleton to reconstruct past approaches to mortuary practice. From 2015 I have been investigating Bronze Age mobility with a project carrying out isotopic analysis of cremated human remains from the East Anglian Bronze Age. Since taking up my post in Leicester in 2012, a large proportion of my research time has been devoted to study of the skeleton of Richard III. I led all aspects of research relating to the skeleton and have given numerous public lectures about this work in the UK and abroad since 2013. In addition, I have been project osteologist for a number of research projects since 2006.


Topics for supervision - for potential PhD applicants, I am very happy to consider proposals for research in the following fields:

  • Human osteology
  • Mortuary archaeology
  • Bronze Age Britain and Europe
  • The archaeology of the body

Learn more about studying for a PhD with us

Current students

First supervisor to:

  • Jess Lam, thesis topic: Using Novel 3D Comparative Techniques to Assess Skeletal Remains. INTREPID Forensics programme.
  • Dane Magoon, thesis topic The Late Woodland Period (AD 900 to 1607) in Coastal Virginia: Dietary Adaptation and Population Mobility

Second supervisor to:

  • Korakot Boonlop, thesis topic: The association between dental caries prevalence and the emergence of agriculture in the ancient population during pre and post agricultural period in Thailand
  • Meredith Laing, thesis topic: Growing up and starting work in later British prehistory. M3C funded.

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