Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Dr Jo Buckberry

PositionReader in Biological Anthropology
LocationK29, Richmond building
DepartmentSchool of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 234289

Research Interests (key words only)

Human osteology; age estimation and sex assessment; palaeopathology; trauma analysis; early medieval, medieval and post-medieval funerary archaeology

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Module co-ordinator:
      • Introduction to Biological Anthropology (Level 1)
      • Human Remains and Environmental Evidence (Level 2)
      • Human Osteoarchaeology (Level 3)
      • Analysis of Human Remains (Level M)
      • Palaeopathology (Level M)
  • Contributes to the teaching of:
      • Human Evolution (Level 1)
      • Bioarchaeology (Level 2)
      • Forensic Anthropology (Level 3)
      • Introduction to Forensic Anthropology for CSIs (Level M)
      • Funerary Archaeology (Level 3 and M)

Study History

Jo has a BA in Archaeology (1997, Durham) and a MSc in Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology (1999, Sheffield).

She completed her PhD entitled 'A Cultural and Anthropological Study of Conversion Period and Later Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire' at the University of Sheffield in 2004, and joined the University of Bradford later that year, after a year lecturing in Archaeology at Trinity College Carmarthen.

Professional Activities

Jo is the head of the Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC).

She is currently the secretary of the Paleopathology Association (PPA, 2014-present) and has previously served as grants secretary (2012-2015) and as a non-executive committee member (2007-2010) for the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO).

She co-organised the SSHB/BABAO symposium on Age Estimation in Oxford in 2014 and the 11th BABAO Annual Conference in Bradford in 2009. She co-edited a special issue of the Annals of Human Biology on age estimation with Helen Liversidge (Queen Mary University of London) and Nicholas Márquez-Grant (Cranfield University) and the BABAO conference proceedings for the 12th BABAO Annual Conference (2010; published in 2012) with Piers Mitchell (University of Cambridge). She edited the BABAO Annual Review between 2006 and 2009.

Research Areas

Jo’s research focuses on archaeological, osteological and palaeopathological analysis of human remains dating to the Anglo-Saxon, medieval and post-medieval periods. She is particularly interested in the relationship between osteological indicators of identity and burial practices, and in the mortality and morbidity of individuals buried within different contexts, geographical areas and chronological periods. She has specialised in the analysis of peri-mortem trauma relating to both interpersonal violence and judicial execution. Jo is also actively researching the application, refinement and development of methods of sex and age estimation from human skeletal remains.

Viking Burials in Britain

Jo’s doctoral research into later Anglo-Saxon burial practice (Buckberry 2007; 2010) led to a strong interest in the level of Viking migration into the Danelaw. Osteological and stable isotope analysis of an Anglo-Scandinavian population from Masham, Yorks (PI = JLB, CIs: Janet Montgomery, Durham University and Julia Lee-Thorp, University of Oxford) identified individuals with stable isotope ratios consistent with Scandinavia, even though the excavated burials did not contain any Scandinavian style grave goods (Buckberry et al. 2014).

Jo collaborated with Mike McCarthy, Cathy Batt and Janet Montgomery on a British Academy-funded project investigation Scandinavian period burials from Carlisle (McCarthy 2014; McCarthy et al. 2015), and co-authored a paper with Janet Montgomery on Viking burials in northern Britain (Montgomery et al. 2014). Jo supervised Ceilidh Lerwick’s PhD on biological identity and burial Viking-period Scotland.

Peri-mortem trauma in the Medieval Period

Jo has undertaken osteological analysis of decapitation burials from the Anglo-Saxon executions cemeteries of Walkington Wold (Buckberry and Hadley 2007; 2010; Buckberry 2008) and Old Dairy Cottage (Cherryson et al. in prep) and published on broader aspects of Anglo-Saxon execution burials (Buckberry 2014; Williams-Ward and Buckberry in prep).

Currently Jo is working on a small group of medieval skeletons excavated from a lost Royal Chapel at Stirling Castle, buried during the Scottish Wars of Independence. Osteological analysis revealed a startling level of blunt force peri-mortem trauma (Buckberry and Battley 2015), consistent with siege warfare. Our research (PI: JLB, CIs: Janet Montgomery, Durham University and Julia Lee-Thorp, University of Oxford, funded by Historic Scotland) revealed skeletal and isotopic evidence that supports these were high status individuals. We investigated evidence of migration in this group; however it has not yet been possible to establish if they were English or Scottish. This project gained widespread media attention and forms the basis for an interactive display at Stirling Castle. Ongoing research aims to investigate these individuals further, and place them within their biological context.

Development and Testing of Fundamental Methods in Physical Anthropology

Since developing the revised auricular surface ageing method (Buckberry & Chamberlain 2002), Jo has continued to research methods of age estimation and sex assessment (Wittwer-Backofen et al. 2008; Sulzmann et al. 2008; Buckberry 2015; Villa et al. 2013a,b; Villa et al. 2015a,b; plus many MSc dissertation projects, some of which are in the process of being written up for publication). She was an invited researcher for the international research project ‘The Basics in Palaeodemography’, co-ordinated and funded by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany. This project applied a number of age estimation methods, including the Buckberry-Chamberlain auricular surface method, to the known-age skeletal population from Basel, Switzerland at the Naturhistorisches Museum Basel. She co-edited a special issue of the Annals of Human Biology on age estimation with Helen Liversidge (Queen Mary University of London) and Nicholas Márquez-Grant (Cranfield University) (Liversidge et al. 2015).

Identity and Health in Later Anglo-Saxon England

British Academy-funded research (PI = JLB) into social status and health status burial in the 8th to 11th centuries AD, investigated the differences in demography and health status between individuals buried in coffined and non-coffined graves showing differences in mortality rates but similar levels of morbidity, assessed through the analysis of stress markers (Craig and Buckberry 2010). Current research is investigating differential mortality in the later Anglo-Saxon period, using a Bayesian approach to palaeodemographic modelling (Buckberry et al, in prep). Current research also involves the investigation of Anglo-Saxon execution cemeteries (see above) and isotopic analysis to investigate diet and weaning (Haydock et al. 2013 and ongoing research with Julia Beaumont and Lizzy Craig-Atkins, University of Sheffield). Jo currently supervises PhDs by Michelle Williams-Ward and Solange Bohling, and co-supervises Clare Rainsford, who are researching various aspects of Anglo-Saxon burial and osteology.

Current Projects


  • Beaumont J, Montgomery J, Buckberry J and Jay M. 2015. Infant mortality and isotopic complexity: New approaches to stress, maternal health, and weaning. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157(3): 441-457
  • Brickley MB and Buckberry JL. 2015.  Picking up the pieces: Utilizing the diagnostic potential of poorly preserved remains. International Journal of Paleopathology 8: 51-54
  • Buckberry J 2015. Book Review: A Bioarchaeological Study of Medieval Burials on the Site of St Mary Spital: Excavations at Spitalfields Market, London E1, 1991–2007, B. Connell, A.G. Jones, R. Redfern, D. Walker, in: Museum of London Archaeology Monograph Series 60. MOLA, London (2012), 303 pp., Hardback, ISBN: 978-1-907586-11-8. International Journal of Paleopathology 8: 55-56
  • Buckberry J. 2015. The (mis)use of adult age estimates in osteology. Annals of Human Biology 42(4): 321-329
  • Buckberry J and Battley N. 2015. The medieval burials. In Ewart G and Gallagher D (eds) ‘With thy Towers High’. The Archaeology of Stirling Castle and Palace. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland. 40-55
  • Buckberry J and Battley N. 2015. The post-medieval burial. In Ewart G and Gallagher D (eds) ‘With thy Towers High’. The Archaeology of Stirling Castle and Palace. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland. 145
  • Buckberry JL, Ogden AR, Shearman V and McCleery I. (2015) You Are What You Ate: Using Bioarchaeology to Promote Healthy Eating. In Gerdau-Radonić and McSweeney K (eds) Trends in Biological Anthropology 1: 100-111 
  • Liversidge H, Buckberry J and Márquez-Grant N. 2015. Editorial: age estimation. Annals of Human Biology 42(4): 299-301
  • Villa C, Buckberry J, Cattaneo C, Frohlich B and Lynnerup N. (2015) Quantitative analysis of the morphological changes of the pubic symphyseal face and the auricular surface and implications for age at death estimation. Journal of Forensic Sciences 60(3): 556-656
  • Villa C, Gaudio D, Cattaneo C, Buckberry JL, Wilson A and Lynnerup N (2015) Surface curvature of pelvic joints from three laser scanners: separating anatomy from measurement error. Journal of Forensic Sciences 60(2): 374-381
  • Buckberry JL (2014). Osteological evidence of corporal and capital punishment in later Anglo-Saxon England. In: Marafioti N and Gates J (eds) Capital and corporal punishment in Anglo-Saxon England, Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer 131-148
  • Buckberry JL, Montgomery J, Towers J, Müldner G, Holst M, Evans J, Gledhill A, Neale N and Lee-Thorp J. (2014) Finding Vikings in the Danelaw. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 33(4): 413-434
  • Buckberry JL, and Lerwick C. (2014) The Human Remains, pp232-233. In: McCarthy MR, Excavations at Carlisle Cathedral: a sequence from the late Roman period to the 12th century. The Archaeological Journal 171: 185-257
  • Montgomery J, Grimes V, Buckberry JL, Evans JA, Richards MP and Barrett JH. (2014) Finding Vikings with isotope analysis – the view from wet and windy islands. Journal of the North Atlantic 7: 54-70
  • McCarthy M, Montgomery J, Lerwick C and Buckberry J. (2014) Were the Vikings in Carlisle? In: Harding S, Griffiths D and Royles E. (eds.) In Search of Vikings, 137-147. Boca Raton, Fl: CRC Press 137-147
  • Montgomery J, Grimes V, Buckberry JL, Evans JA, Richards MP and Barrett JH. 2014. Finding Vikings with isotope analysis – the view from wet and windy islands. Journal of the North Atlantic 7: 54-70
  • Haydock H, Clarke LJ, Craig-Atkins EF, Howcroft R and Buckberry JL. 2013. Weaning at Anglo-Saxon Raunds: implications for changing breastfeeding practice in Britain over two millennia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 151(4): 604-612
  • Villa C, Buckberry J, Cattaneo C and Lynnerup N. 2013. Technical note: reliability of Suchey-Brooks and Buckberry-Chamberlain methods on 3D visualizations from CT and laser scans. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 151(1): 158-163
  • Villa C, Hansen MN, Lynnerup N, Buckberry JL and Cattaneo C. 2013. Forensic age estimation based on the trabecular bone changes of the pelvic bone using post-mortem CT. Forensic Science International 233(1): 393-402
  • Wilson AS, Powers N, Montgomery J, Buckberry JL, Beaumont J, Bowsher D, Town M and Janaway RC. 2013. 'Men that are gone … come like shadows, so depart': research practice and sampling strategies for enhancing our understanding of post-medieval human remains. In Dalglish C. (ed.) Archaeology, the Public and the Recent Past. Society for Post Medieval Archaeology Monograph 7. Woodbridge: Boydell. 145-161
  • Mitchell PD and Buckberry JL. (eds) 2012. Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology. Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge 2012. BAR International Series 2380. Oxford: Archaeopress
  • O'Connor S, Ali E, Al-Sabah S, Anwar D, Bergström E, Brown KA, Buckberry J, Buckley S, Collins M, Denton J, Dorling KM, Dowle A, Duffey P, Edwards HGM, Faria EC, Gardner P, Gledhill A, Heaton K, Heron C, Janaway R, Keely BJ, King D, Masinton A, Penkman K, Petzold A, Pickering MD, Rumsby M, Schutkowski H, Shackleton KA, Thomas J, Thomas-Oates J, Usai M-R, Wilson AS and O’Connor T. 2011. Exceptional preservation of a prehistoric human brain from Heslington, Yorkshire, UK. Journal of Archaeological Sciences 38(7): 1641-1654
  • Ortner D J, Ponce P, Ogden AR and Buckberry JL. 2012. Multicentric osteosarcoma associated with DISH, in a 19th century burial from England. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 22(2): 245-252
  • Buckberry JL. 2010. Cemetery diversity in the mid to late Anglo-Saxon period in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. In Buckberry JL and Cherryson AK. (eds) Burial in Later Anglo-Saxon England, c. 650–1100 AD. Oxford: Oxbow. 1-25
  • Buckberry JL and Cherryson AK (eds) 2010. Burial in Later Anglo-Saxon England, c. 650–1100 AD.Oxford: Oxbow
  • Craig EF and Buckberry JL. 2010. Investigating social status using evidence of biological status: a case study from Raunds Furnells. In Buckberry JL and Cherryson AK. (eds) Burial in Later Anglo-Saxon England, c. 650–1100 AD. Oxford: Oxbow. 128-142
  • Swinson D, Snaith J, Buckberry J and Brickley M. 2010. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in the investigation of gout in paleopathology. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 20: 135-143
  • Buckberry JL. 2008. Off with their heads: the Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery at Walkington Wold, East Yorkshire. In Murphy E (ed.) Deviant Burial in the Archaeological Record. Oxford: Oxbow. 148-168
  • Hall RA, Buckberry J, Storm R, Budd P, Hamilton WD and McCormac G. 2008. The medieval cemetery at Riccall Landing: a reappraisal. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 80: 55-92
  • Sulzmann CE, Buckberry JL and Pastor RF. 2008. The utility of carpals for sex assessment: a preliminary study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 135: 252-262
  • Wittwer-Backofen U, Buckberry J, Czarnetzki A, Doppler S, Grupe G, Hotz, Kemkes A, Larsen CS, Prince D, Wahl J, Fabig A and Weise S. 2008. Basics in paleodemography: a comparison of age indicators applied to the early medieval skeletal sample of Lauchheim. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137: 384-396
  • Buckberry JL. 2007. On sacred ground: social identity and churchyard burial in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, c.700-1100 AD. In Williams H and Semple S (ed.) Early Medieval Mortuary Practices. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 14. Oxford: Oxbow. 120-132
  • Buckberry JL and Hadley DM. 2007. An Anglo-Saxon execution cemetery at Walkington Wold, Yorkshire. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26: 309-329
  • Buckberry JL and O'Connor S. 2007. Radiography in palaeopathology: where next? In Zakrzewski SR and White W. (ed.) Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the British Association for Biological Anthropology & Osteoarchaeology. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1712. Oxford: Archeopress. 105-110
  • Hadley DM and Buckberry JL. 2005. Caring for the dead in late Anglo-Saxon England. In Tinti F (ed.) Pastoral Care in Late Anglo-Saxon England. Woodbridge: Boydell. 121-147
  • Buckberry JL and Chamberlain AT. 2002. Age estimation from the auricular surface of the ilium: a revised method. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 119: 231-239
  • Buckberry JL and Hadley DM. 2001. Excavations at Chapel Road, Fillingham. Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 36: 11-18
  • Buckberry JL. 2000. Missing, presumed buried? Bone diagenesis and the under-representation of Anglo-Saxon children. Assemblage 5.

Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

Presenting Palaeopathology to the Public

The You Are What You Ate project, funded by the Wellcome Trust (with Iona McCleery (PI), University of Leeds and Vicky Shearman (CI), Wakefield Council), aimed to encourage public debate and personal reflection on modern eating habits through exploration of the dietary choices of the past. The project brought together historians, archaeologists, scientists and historical re-enactors to bring research on food science, nutrition, medical history and archaeology to a wider audience. This collaboration between the Schools of History and Food Science at the University of Leeds, Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford and Cultural Officers from Wakefield Council delivered a wide range of events to the general public, including osteological workshops highlighting the links between diet and dental disease in medieval and modern populations (Buckberry et al. 2015).

From Cemetery to Clinic (funded by JISC), rapidly digitised skeletal remains, skeletal radiographs and the excavation archive data relating to the leprosarium of Ss. James and Mary Magdalene, Chichester along with clinical radiographs of leprosy taken by Dr Johs Andersen. The project made this amazing resource on leprosy available to scholars, medics and the interested public via an interactive GIS-based web interface. This unique collaboration between Archaeological Sciences (PI: Andrew Wilson, CIs: JLB and Chris Gaffney) and the Centre for Visual Computing (CI: Hassan Ugail) at the University of Bradford and Chichester District Museum, has been extended with the Digitised Diseases project.

Digitised Diseases (funded by JISC) is a collaboration between the University of Bradford, Museum of London Archaeology and the Royal College of Surgeons (London). We created photo-realistic 3D models of pathological type specimens, pathological descriptions, radiographs and clinical synopses of different diseases available to the public and interested scholars.

In the News/Media



  • Skeletal remains curated in the Biological Anthropology Research Centre compared to the remains of Richard III

Jo has presented aspects of her research on the following documentaries:

  • History Cold Case: Stirling Man (BBC)
  • Saxon Gold: Finding the Hoard (National Geographic / Channel 4)
  • Braveheart: The True Story (Channel 5)




Share this