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UK Fellow, Archaeology, elected in 2014

Professor Charlotte Roberts FBA

Studies archaeological human remains; her key research interests are contextual approaches to past human health (palaeopathology); ethical considerations and and human remains; the relevance of past health to contemporary health; evolutionary approaches to the origin and history of infectious diseases; big data projects in palaeopathology; public engagement
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About this Fellow

A bioarchaeologist, Professor Roberts has a background in archaeology, environmental archaeology and human bioarchaeology. She has studied and interpreted human remains from archaeological sites for the past 30 years, and is specifically interested in exploring the interaction of people with their environments in the past through patterns of health and disease (palaeopathology), and especially those health problems that are common today. A State Registered Nurse initially (1975-8), she completed a BA in Archaeological Studies (Leicester - 1979-1982), a MA Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy (Sheffield - 1983), and a PhD (bioarchaeology/ palaeopathology/ medical history - Bradford 1988). Her nursing background, particularly, has guided her into taking an holistic approach to past ill health in bioarchaeology, something that was also considered essential in a hospital environment. Understanding why and how people and communities today experience health problems is essential to be able to understand ill health in the past. She does a wide range of public engagement work.



Current post

  • Professor of Archaeology, Durham University

Past Appointments

  • Reader in Archaeology, University of Durham, 2000 - 2004
  • Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology, University of Bradford, 1994 - 1999
  • Lecturer in Palaeopathology, University of Bradford, 1989 - 1994
  • Research Assistant in Palaeopathology, University of Bradford, 1983 - 1989
  • Part-time PhD student in Biological Anthropology, University of Bradford, 1983 - 1989
  • Staff Nurse, The Burns Unit, St. Lawrence Hospital, Chepstow, Gwent, 1979 - 1979

Top picks

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What is archaeology?

Professor Charlotte Roberts FBA explains her field of archaeology and how it impacts our lives today. 08 Mar 2019
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How bioarchaeology reveals the evolution of disease

Air pollution is reported to be responsible for the premature death of seven million people each year. Professor Charlotte Roberts FBA explores how our health has been impacted by the environment since 5,000 years before the present. 08 Mar 2019


Health and disease in Britain: from prehistory to the present day

Charlotte Roberts, Margaret Cox, 2003

The past and present of leprosy

Charlotte Roberts, Mary Lewis, Keith Manchester, 2002

Other Archaeology Fellows

Professor Wendy James

social anthropology, the ethnography of North Eastern Africa, and relations between history and anthropology

Dr John Curtis

Archaeology Archaeology of the Ancient Near East Central and Inner Asia