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 Katherine French

Katherine French

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

4.36, John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff, CF10 3EU


I am an archaeologist focused on the bioarchaeology and zooarchaeology of the medieval period. I’m particularly interested in the symbolic and religious importance of animals to communities. My current project is BONEZ – "Baltic paganism, Osteology, and New Evidence from Zooarchaeology." Our goal is to reconstruct animal deposits from early medieval cemeteries in the Eastern Baltic region to understand how pagan communities used animals in public ritual.


Before coming to Cardiff, I worked or conducted research in a range of field, laboratory, museum, forensic, and museum contexts. My work as a professional archaeologist has taken me from the West Coast of America to Eastern Poland and many sites in between. Here is a sampling of my experience: 

2021-Present: Cardiff University, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow in Archaeology

2010-2018: New York University, Adjunct Professor in Anthropology, New York City, New York, USA

2014-2018: Archaeology & Historic Resource Services, Managing Archaeologist & Fieldwork Director, New York City, NY, USA

2011-2012, 2015-2016: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Visiting Researcher, New York City, NY, USA

2011: Denver Museum of Nature and Science, NAGPRA Intern, Denver, CO, USA

2009-2010: University of Nevada-Reno, Archaeology Project Researcher in Klamath Network Fire Program, Seconded to United States National Park Service, Crater Lake National Park (Oregon, USA) and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California, USA)


PhD: Anthropology, New York University

MA: Anthropology, New York University

MPhil: European Archaeology, University of Oxford

BA: Medieval Studies, Georgetown University

Honours and Awards

  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship (2020): Awarded €224,934 for 24-month BONEZ (“Baltic paganism, osteology and new examinations of zooarchaeological evidence”) project.
  • Global Research Institute Dissertation Writers Fellowship, New York University – Berlin (2016): Received one of six fully funded (travel, housing, stipend) placements for a six-week final stage dissertation writers’ workshop at the New York University Global Campus in Berlin, Germany.
  • Lane Cooper Fellow, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University (2014) Won $25,000 dissertation research award for project entitled "Multispecies Cremations in a Transitional World: evidence from early medieval England."
  • MacCracken Fellow, New York University (2009-2014) Five years of full tuition, health insurance, and living stipend by the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • Global Research Institute Fellowship, New York University – London (2013) Awarded one semester of funding for dissertation research while a researcher in residence at New York University – London’s Global Research Institute.
  • Healy Scholar, St. Cross College, University of Oxford (2006) Awarded Georgetown University’s Healy Fellowship: single annual winner for two years of full tuition and travel/housing stipend to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Oxford.

Summer Fieldwork Grants

  • Antonina S. Ranieri International Scholars Fund Grant, New York University (2011) 
  • Goodwin-Salwen Archaeological Fellowship, New York University (2010) 


I contribute to teaching on bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, bone biology and histology, and forensics.

I am the lead researcher on the Horizon 2020 EU-funded BONEZ project. BONEZ stands for “Baltic Paganism, Osteology, and New Evidence from Zooarchaeology.” We are using a full suite of biomolecular, microscopic, and macroscopic techniques to reconstruct animal deposits in cemetery contexts in the Eastern Baltic region (special focus on modern Poland, Lithuania, and Russian Kaliningrad Oblast).