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Dr Lawrence Owens

  • Overview



    Dr. Owens is sessional lecturer in bioarchaeology, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Winchester, and a research associate at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He trained at the universities of Durham (B.A. 1996), Liverpool (M.Sc. 1998) and University College London (Ph.D. 2004), and specialises in the analysis of human bones, teeth and mummies in order to understand ancient lifestyles and behaviour.

    He has worked in the UK, Spain, Israel, South Africa, Egypt, Peru, Qatar, Bolivia and the USA. His current research focuses on the analysis of interments from the Peruvian site of Pachacamac (one of the Americas’ largest and most important sites), Quesna (Northern Egyptian Ptolemaic/Roman) and interments from the ancient site of Merimde Beni Salama in the Egyptian Delta (c. 4500 BC). He also directs the Kafr Hassan Dawood Research Project, investigating the genesis and biological effects of Egyptian state formation in the 4th millennium BC. He is head bioarchaeologist for the Iron-Age Ntshekane Research Project in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and works in Spain as a forensic anthropologist in the excavation, analysis and repatriation of genocide victims from Franco’s dictatorship (1936-1975).

    He has published widely on osteology, mummies, dental anthropology, trauma analysis, funerary archaeology and environmental archaeology, and has coauthored/coedited several volumes on Egyptian cultural heritage management, Peruvian funerary behaviour (Cambridge University Press 2015) and archaeological methodology. He is a board member for the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO).

    He has taught bioarchaeology at Birkbeck since 2005, at the Certificate, B.A. and M.A. levels, and also taught the Environmental Archaeology module. Several of his students have worked on his projects in South Africa and Peru, and have gone on to doctoral studies and professional careers in the field. He takes a very wide approach in his teaching, incorporating human and primate evolution, archaeology, genetics and palaeopathology.

    Further information on Dr. Owens’ projects and research can be found at:


    • Director of excavations at Kafr Hassan Dawood, a 5,500 year-old site in the Egyptian Delta. See for further details.


    • B.A. (Hons.), University of Durham, 1996
    • M.Sc., University of Liverpool, 1998
    • Ph.D., UCL, 2004

    Web profiles


  • Research


    Research interests

    • Bioarchaeology
    • Human Evolution
    • Ancient Population History
    • Dental Anthropology
    • Peruvian Prehistory
    • Egyptian Prehistory
    • Education

    Research overview

    I work at a number of archaeological sites in Africa, South America and Europe, studying the population biology and lifestyles of ancient peoples as seen through their physical remains. 

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    Teaching modules

    • Bioarchaeology 1 (SSHC195H4)