Paola Ponce
Associate Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology



Paola took her BSc in Biological Anthropology at Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina) in 2002 to then move to the UK to pursue her post-graduate studies. She received her MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology at Bradford University in 2004 and her PhD in Palaeopathology at Durham University in 2010 with a Durham Doctoral Fellowship Award.

She worked for Archaeology South-East (University College London) between 2012-2017 carrying out excavation and post-excavation assessment and analysis of human and cremated remains spanning temporarily from Neolithic to post-medieval times.

In 2017 she was appointed as an Associate Lecturer in Bioarchaeology in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York where she teaches Human Bones for undergraduates.



My current research interests include the study of health and disease in past populations, particularly British, European and Amerindians from South America, history of medicine and funerary archaeology of human remains. Some current examples include:

  • Biomolecular approach to identify smallpox in the archaeological record
  • Cranial trepanations during the Anglo-Saxon period of England
  • Historic archaeology: palaeopathology and palaeodiet of Quakers from southern England
  • Mercury content in skeletons with syphilis from London
  • Isolated and deviant Saxon burials in southern England
  • Palaeopathology of a Saxon population from Soham, Cambridgeshire
  • History of medicine: cranial dissections in post-medieval England
  • Hip prosthesis in contemporary skeletal collections from Argentina
  • Paediatric palaeopathology: Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease in post-medieval London

Past examples of research include:

  • Palaeopathology of post-medieval populations
  • Palaeopathology of Victorian England populations
  • History of medicine in Victorian England: amputations
  • Palaeopathology of Neolithic human remains from southern England
  • Activity-related and occupational diseases in native Americans from South America
  • Orthopaedic pathology of northern Chile
  • Functional craniology in native Americans from South America

Available Masters and PhD projects

I am currently supervising Undergraduate, Masters and PhD dissertations and I am happy to supervise students willing to conduct research on any aspect of the above-mentioned topics and other related themes of osteoarchaeology and palaeopathology of past populations. I am currently incorporating supervision on themes related to palaeoparasitology along with Dr James Hewitson from the Department of Biology.


• 2017 Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
• 2016 Prehistoric Society's new Collections Study Award
• 2016 ArtFund: The Jonathan Ruffer Curational Grants Programme
• 2015 British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO). Commercial Grant Scheme
• 2015 The City of London Archaeological Trust (CoLAT)
• 2009-2006 Durham Doctoral Fellowship Award. PhD research grant



Second Year


I currently teach two modules for students of the second year of the undergraduate course:

Practical Skills: Human Bones

Team Project: Human Bones

Contact details

Dr Paola Ponce
Associate Lecturer in Osteoarchaeology
Department of Archaeology, PalaeoHub
University of York
Wentworth Way
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 323900

External activities


Member of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO)

Member of the Paleopathology Association (PPA)

Invited talks and conferences

Outreach activities and public talks

2017: Family Archaeology Day. Displaying human remains at Brighton Museum.

2017: The application of scientific techniques in commercial archaeology. Talk given to the Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society.

2016: The value of human remains in archaeology. Talk given at Brighton Museum.

2015: The autopsy of the skeleton. Talk given to the Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society.

2015: Whitehawk Camp. Displaying Neolithic human remains at the Brighton Museum.

2014: The Autopsy of bones: sex and dissection. Talk given at The Novium Museum.

2013: Scientific techniques and the study of human remains. Talk given to the Surrey Archaeological Society.

2013: The autopsy of the skeleton. Talk given to the Novium Museum.

2008: The Victorian way of life: a palaeopathological perspective. Talk given to the Bradford Language Centre (West Yorkshire, UK).


Museum engagement 

2017-ongoing collaboration with the Museum of Brighton (East Sussex) in relation to the launch of the Archaeology Gallery at the end of 2018 and the analysis and display of 5 skeletons representing the early inhabitants of the city from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Saxon periods.

Media coverage


2017 Interview about 2 skeletons found during excavations near Ramsgate, Kent.



2017 Interview for the Brighton Dome about the discovery of a Quaker burial ground in the Corn Exchange.

2017 Laying out an Iron Age skeleton at Brighton Museum for