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Dr Laura Castells Navarro
Postdoctoral Research Associate



Laura received her BSc in Life Sciences and Human Biology from the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) in 2010 and completed her MRes in Infectious diseases (University of Edinburgh) in 2012 and her MSc in Human Osteology and Palaeopathology (University of Bradford) in 2013. She remained at the University of Bradford for her PhD where she focussed on the study of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) to develop its diagnostic criteria and improve our understanding of its relationship to diet and lifestyle. In this project, she combined human osteology and isotope analysis to analyse over 2500 individuals in England and Catalonia from the Roman to the post-medieval periods.

Laura became a the osteoarchaeology post-doctoral research associate on the COMMIOS Project in 2022. The project uses socio-cultural and scientific approaches (osteology, stable isotopes and aDNA) to understand Iron Age population dynamics, connectivity and mobility across Britain and the Near Continent.


Before arriving to York, Laura held the positions of Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter (2021 – 2022) – leading the Human Osteology course of the MSc Bioarchaeology as well as the module of Funerary Osteoarchaeology; and supervising, both, undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations – and Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the University of Bradford (2020 – 2021).

She was also the PDRA for the NERC-funded Revealing Bradford project (2021) and the Communications Facilitator and Research Associate for the Wellcome Trust funded project ‘Emerging Research Cultures’ (2020 – 2021).



Laura’s research interests focus on life, health and disease in past populations and on investigating the relationship between identity and social and environmental factors in the development of diseases in past societies, particularly in the interaction between these factors and the immune system. To do this she integrates the biological and health and disease information obtained from the human skeletal remains with palaeopathological, medical and clinical research and archaeological and historical using intersectional and life course approaches.

In her role in COMMIOS, Laura will analyse the human skeletal remains to characterise the British Iron Age buried population, assess patterns of health and disease, and investigate peri-mortem trauma and post-mortem manipulation of skeletal remains.


2021 NERC Hidden Histories programme seed funding (£2500) - Revealing Bradford project

2014 Institute of Life Sciences Research, University of Bradford - PhD stipend

External activities


Laura is involved in Communications and Publicity Liaison for the Paleopathology Association.


  • Paleopathology Association
  • British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology

Editorial duties

  • Reviewer for International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
  • Reviewer for International Journal of Paleopathology
  • Reviewer for QUARHIS - Notebooks on the Archaeology and History of the City of Barcelona.

Invited talks and conferences

  • Guest Speaker at Aileen Fox Research Seminar. University of Exeter. 18th October 2021.
  • Guest Speaker at the event: ‘Food Barcelona: city, supply and health’ organised by The Biennial City and Science 2021. Barcelona, 12th June 2021.

Dr Laura Castells Navarro portrait

Contact details

Dr Laura Castells Navarro
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of York
King's Manor. Exhibition Square