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 Anna Davies-Barrett

Anna Davies-Barrett

Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology and Human Osteoarchaeology

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

+44 (0)29 2251 2375
4.08, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am a bioarchaeologist with a specialism in the analysis and curation of human remains.

My research interests focus on palaeopathology: the study of ancient diseases. I am particularly interested in the study of respiratory diseases, including the effect of air pollution, environment, and living conditions on respiratory health in different past societies.

My current role involves teaching about the Iron Age in Britain, theoretical and practical skills for analysing human remains, ethical considerations in archaeology, and general research and study skills.

Research themes I am interested in include:

  • Palaeopathology
  • Bone taphonomy
  • Analysis and conservation of mummified remains
  • Osteological recording methods
  • Sudanese/Nubian archaeology



PhD Archaeology, Durham University and The British Museum

  • October 2015 - December 2018 (Viva: May 2019, Graduated: July 2019)
  • Thesis title: Respiratory disease in the Middle Nile Valley: a bioarchaeological analysis of the impact of environmental and sociocultural change from the Neolithic to Medieval periods. 
  • Funding: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology, The Univeristy of Sheffield

  • October 2014 - September 2015
  • Dissertation title: An investigation into the potential effects of site hydrology on the diagenetic alteration of bone.
  • Grade: Distinction
  • Funding:  Sheffield Postgraduate Support Scheme Scholarship

BA Archaeology and Anthropology, Univeristy of Kent

  • September 2011 - June 2014
  • Grade: First Class Honours

Career Overview

I completed my BA, MSc, and PhD degrees in quick succession between the years 2011 and 2018. My PhD, funded by an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, was undertaken between Durham University and the British Museum. I spent most of my time at the Bioarchaeology Laboratory at The British Museum, where I was involved in a vibrant and multi-disciplinary research community. During my PhD, I also worked as a Laboratory Demonstrator and Teaching Assistant in human osteology at Durham University and Birkbeck College (University of London). I also completed the Durham University Learning and Teaching Award (DULTA) and achieved the title of Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

After completion of my PhD, in November 2018 I began work as a Bioarchaeologist at the British Museum, where I was tasked with the cleaning, osteological and palaeopathological analysis, and curation of human archaeological remains from excavations in Sudan. This led to the completion of a final osteological and palaeopathological report on the inhabitants of the ancient Sudanese town of Kawa, for publication in a site monograph. During my time at the British Museum, between 2016 and 2019, I was also involved in a number of additional bioarchaeological research and curatorial projects.

Between August and October of 2019, I worked as an Editiorial Assistant at the publishers Thames & Hudson. Here I was employed to assist with the editing for final publication of archaeology text books and associated teaching materials, including the 8th Edition of Archaeology by Renfrew and Bahn. During this time, I was also employed as a Guest Lecturer in human osteology at Birkbeck College.

I took up my position as Lecturer in Later Prehistory and Osteoarchaeology at Cardiff University in November 2019.





My main teaching specialisms include:

  • Theoretical and practical skills for analysing human remains
  • Iron Age archaeology in Britain
  • Ethical considerations in archaeology
  • General research and study skills.

In my current role I have taught/am teaching on the following modules:

Module Leader:

HS2306 Iron Age Britain (19/20; UG)

HS2423 Forensic and Osteoarchaeology (20/21; UG)

HS2435 Archaeology Dissertation (19/20; 20/21; UG)

HS2436 Archaeological Science Dissertation (19/20; 20/21; UG)

HS2442 Archaeology Independent Study (19/20; 20/21; UG)

HS2450 Independent Science Project (19/20; 20/21; UG)

HST050 Human Osteology (20/21; PGT)

Module Contributor:

HS1112 Medieval Worlds (UG)

HS4308 Death and Burial in the Roman World (UG)

HST050 Human Osteology (19/20; PGT)

HST060 The Archaeology of Death and Commemoration (PGT)

HST500 Postgraduate Skills in Archaeology and Conservation (PGT)

HST900 Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study (PGT)


I am a supervisor for Archaeology Independent Studies (2nd year research projects), and Undergraduate and Postgraduate Dissertations.

You can read about my current research in my blog - 'A matter of life and breath! Why air pollution and respiratory disease aren’t just a modern-day problem' - produced to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Archaeology at Cardiff.