Professor Marc Oxenham

Professor of Bioarchaeology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Archaeology 2101
  • Archaeological Science 210102
  • Forensic Biology 069901
  • Biological (Physical) Anthropology 160102

Research interests

British Academy Global Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland: 2020-24

I have expertise in human biology, bioarchaeology (osteoarchaeology), palaeopathology, archaeology, and forensic anthropology. I have been privileged to have collaborated with a number of outstanding PhD students that has led to: (1) a completely new sub-disciple: the Bioarchaeology of Care; (2) new methods for reconstructing ancient population demography; (3) an entirely novel methodological approach to the analysis of physiological stress signatures in dental remains; and (4) unique time since-death models for forensic applications. Internationally, I am recognised as a leader in Southeast and East Asian population mobility, health and disease over the past ten millennia. Most recently I have led a team recovering ancient pathogenic aDNA associated with a range of diseases in medieval Scottish material. I have been primary supervisor of 34 Honours; 20 Masters (2 with the UoA); and 12 PhD student completions in mortuary archaeology, bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Over the past decade I have volunteered a substantive amount of time as a consultant to the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).

Research outputs summary 

Competitive research grant income A$4.1M (£ 2.2M), h-index 35, i-10th index 90, 345 outputs: 9 books (1 single, 1 co-authored, 7 edited), 48 chapters, 87 papers, 2 encyclopaedia articles, 74 forensic reports, and 127 (25 invited) conference papers/posters

A current list of publications can be found at:

The Centre for Osteoarechaeology web page can be foud here:

The new Master of Science in Osteoarchaeology, Directed by Dr Rebecca Crozier, (which I will be teaching into at Aberdeen from 2020-2024) can be found here:

Dr Rebecca Crozier's Webpage can be found here:

Selected Publications

Hayman J, Oxenham MF. (in press). Estimation of the Time Since Death. Academic press, Elsevier. 

Hayman J, Oxenham MF. 2016. Human Body Decomposition. Amsterdam: Academic Press, Elsevier.

Oxenham MF. 2016. Bioarchaeology of Ancient Vietnam. BAR International Series 2781: Hadrian Books.

Oxenham MF, Buckley H, editors. 2016. The Routledge Handbook of Bioarchaeology in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. London and New York: Routledge.

Behie AM, Oxenham MF, editors. 2015. Taxonomic Tapestries: The Threads of Evolutionary, Behavioural and Conservation Research. Canberra: ANU Press.

Pechenkina K, Oxenham MF, editors. 2013. Bioarchaeology of East Asia: Movement, Contact, Health. University of Florida Press.

Oxenham MF, Matsumura H, Nguyen KDD, editors. 2011. Man Bac: The Excavation of a Neolithic Site in Northern Vietnam. The Biology. Terra Australis 33. Australian National University Press.

Oxenham MF, editor. 2008. Forensic Approaches to Death, Disaster and Abuse. Queensland: Australian Academic Press.

Oxenham MF, Tayles N, editors. 2006. Bioarchaeology of Southeast Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Marc F Oxenham is Professor of Bioarchaeology in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, The Australian National University, Canberra. He gained his bioanthropological and archaeological training at the Northern Territory University (Charles Darwin University) where he was awarded a PhD in 2001. He has held teaching and research positions at Colorado College, USA, and the ANU. He was president of the Australasian Society of Human Biology (2012-14), an Australian Future Fellow (2013-17), elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 2011 and elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2016. Since 2009, he has acted as a consultant (pro bono) for the Unrecovered War Casualties Unit-Army (Australian Department of Defence) in which capacity he has searched for, recovered and identified defence force personnel from conflicts ranging from WWI to the Vietnam War, in France, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and northern Australia. In 2018 he was awarded a Silver Commendation by the Deputy Chief of Army in recognition of this work. Over the past two decades he has undertaken archaeological and/or bioanthropological research in Japan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. His research specialisations include the reconstruction of health from human skeletal and dental remains, mortuary archaeology, and human identification and estimation of the time since death in forensic anthropological contexts. He is best known as a bioarchaeologist, focusing on human biological and socio-cultural adaptation to climate and technological variability/change in Holocene Southeast Asia.

In 2019 he was awarded a British Academy Global Professorship, which he will take up in the School of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, between 2020 and 2024. 

Researcher's projects

Human Stress, Resilience and Adaptation in Ancient Ireland and Scotland

Utilising the most recent developments in ancient skeletal analysis this project incorporates new ways to understand ancient population dynamics to assess health and stress over the last 5-6,000 years. Reasons for, and consequences of, the experience of stress in human communities spanning the origin of farming (Neolithic) through to the Medieval period will be modelled in a study that utilizes the rich, but understudied human remains collections archived in UK museums. Using methods developed by Oxenham in a different geographical context and applied in the UK for the first time, the project will provide new understanding of how northern communities biologically adapted to and were resilient to the vagaries of significant change in climate, environment, technology and economy throughout antiquity. The project will significantly grow an emerging area of bioarchaeological expertise at the University of Aberdeen and will provide new pioneering techniques in the field of bioarchaeology more generally.


Available student projects

Human Stress, Resilience and Adaptation in Ancient Ireland and Scotland

Master of Science in Osteoarchaeology (University of Aberdeen) and PhD projects (Australian National University and University of Aberdeen) are available in this area. Visit the following webpages for additional information or email me directly:


Forensic Anthropology & Archaeology

Master of Science in Osteoarchaeology (University of Aberdeen) and PhD projects (Australian National University and University of Aberdeen) are available in this area. Visit the following webpages for additional information or email me directly:


Current student projects

Doctoral Projects (ANU)

Taylor, Bonnie. There and Back Again: A Palaeodemographic Tale of Biased Skeletal Samples

Clark, Bonnie. Immigration and Integration in Egypt during the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period (c.2050-1550 BCE).

Cares Henriquez, Alejandra. PhD thesis titled: LEH 2.0: New methods and software package for the objective identification and quantitative analysis of linear enamel hypoplasia in archaeological samples.

McFarlane, Nicole. Bone Decomposition in Aquatic Environments.

Mariath, Heloisa. TBA.

Matthews, Don. Islands of Transition in the Landscape: Open Filipino Metal Age Jar Burial Sites.

Doctoral Projects (Co-Supervision with other universities)

Adams, Alisha. From the Mouths of Babes: Weaning, Diet, and Stress in Neolithic Northern Vietnam (University of Otago, New Zealand). 

Ashcroft, Elizabeth. The Osteoarchaeological Evidence of Childhood Trauma, Abuse and Neglect in Medieval Scotland (University of Aberdeen, Scotland).

Carlsson, Stine. Medical Geology: The Impact of the Natural Environment on Health in Past Populations from Ireland and Scotland (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland).

Chaumont-Sturtevant, Elisabeth. Bronze Age Cremations in Scotland (University of Aberdeen, Scotland). 

Roshem, Irmine. limate Change in the Medieval Northern World and its impact on Respiratory Health (University of Aberdeen, Scotland). 

Masters Projects


Honours Projects



Past student projects

Doctoral projects

2019. McFadden, Clare. PhD thesis titled: Palaeodemography: A New Hope.

2019. Ross, Ken. PhD thesis titled The Identity at Death of the Old and Young from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages on the Southeast Asian Mainland.

2018. Cave, Christine. Living with One Foot in the Grave: The Elderly in Early Anglo-Saxon England.

2017. Cameron, Alyce. Estimating the post-mortem interval of skeletal remains: a taphonomic approach.

2016. Cairns, Alison. Health in Medieval and Early Modern Norway: A Comparative Analysis of the Impact of Social, Economic and Environmental Change on Skeletal Remains.

2016. Willis, Anna. The Bioarchaeology of An Son and Hòa Diêm: Biosocial Insights into Prehistoric Southern Vietnam.

2015. Wise, Francis. Modernising Bioarchaeological Methods: A Study of Ancient Egyptian Periodontal Health

2013. Hayman, Jarvis. Towards a More Accurate Estimation of the Time Since Death in Human Bodies Found Decomposed in Australian Conditions

2013. Tilley, Lorna. Towards a Bioarchaeology of Care

2012. Huffer, Damien. The Ties That Bind: Population Dynamics, Mobility, and Kinship During the Mid-Holocene in Northern Vietnam

2011. Cougle, Lisa. Dress and Gender in Iron Age Italy

Masters projects

2019. Lloyd Piper. The Micro Polynomial Analysis of Linear Enamel Hypoplasia in a Du But Period Site from Vietnam. 

2016. Karen Cooke. A Comparative Study of Enamel Hypoplasia in the Lapita Sites of Teouma, Vanuatu, and Talasiu, Tonga.

2016. Page, Jacinda. Baring the tooth of the matter: a microscopic examination of physiological health from the dental assemblage of the Con Co Ngua skeletal sample.

2015. Page, Ruth. Iron Period Nagsabaran, Philippines: An Osteobiography of an Adult Male.

2014. Howley, Donna. Estimating sex and stature from body dimensions.

2012. Bertrand, Jessica. Taphonomy of Bone Shrinkage Under Controlled Temperature Conditions.

2012. Rachkovsky, Elana. Differentiation of Human Hair by Bodily Location and Race using Confocal Microscopy.

2011. Ackerman, Kim. Race-Specific Bias in facial Recognition: Forensic Identification Applications.

2010. Inada, Mayu. Multivariate Sex Determination of Japanese Mandibles.

2009. Lu, Aggie. Activity Assessed through Analyses of Femoral Cross-Sectional Geometry and Muscle Insertion Morphology in the Iron Age Skeletal Assemblage from Shi San Hang, Taiwan.

2008. Larkin, Zoe. Adding Injury to Insult: Prison Improvised Weapons and Forensic Anthropology.

2008. Treffiletti, Tamara. Fracture Analysis: A comparative study of blunt force trauma in adult and juvenile skulls.

2007. Lewis-Cook, Deirdre Sharee. A re-evaluation of mortuary behaviour at the Aboriginal Burial Site of Broadbeach, Queensland.

2006. Claunch, Laurel. Trauma Analysis in Forensic Anthropology.

2006. Huffer, Damien Garrett. Social Organization at the Neolithic/Bronze Age Boundary in Northern Vietnam: Man Bac Cemetery as a Case Study (Grade: H1).

2006. Roberts, Phillip. Gold Fever; Disease and its Cultural Relationship. A Case Study on Victoria 1850 – 1900.

Honours projects

2019. Terry Fisher. The People of Nagsabaran: Osteobiographies for Seven Metal Period Individuals Excavated from the Northern Philippines. 

2016. Melandri Vlok. Healing Bones: A Case Study of Healthcare Practice in the Metal Period, Philippines.

2016. Nick Dempsey. Modelling Blunt Force Trauma Using Sus scrofa Tibiae.

2015. Clare McFadden. Sex, Parity and Scars.

2015 Henriquez, Alejandra Cares. Quantitative microscopic analysis of systemic LEH in prehistoric Vietnam.

2013. Jensen, Ashlea. Sexual Dimorphism in Melanesian Crania: A quantitative and qualitative analysis.

2012. Church, Emma. Childhood Health at Iron Age Nagsabaran: A Study of the Prevalence, Chronology and Duration of Linear Enamel Hypoplasia.

2012. Planert, Vera. Patterns of the Dead: A Spatial Mortuary Analysis of a Metal Age Jar Burial Site in the Central Philippines.

2009-2010. Cobbold, Emily. The Nature of Health in Bioarchaeological Contexts: Poundbury.

2010. Brackman-Ross, Keri. Influence of Decomposing Tissue on Clothing Fabric Integrity.

2010. Knox, Elizabeth. A Neolithic Assemblage from Callao Cave, Philippines: An Exercise in Taphonomy.

2010. Cave, Christine. Out of the Cradle into the Grave: An Analysis of Mortuary Patterns of the Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Great Chesterford, and What They Say About the Lived Experience of its Children.

2010. Pedersen, Lucille. The Disjuncture Between Dental and Long Bone Age-at-Death Determinations: A Case Study from Man Bac, Vietnam.

2010. McDonell, Amy. The implications of LEH and LHPC Frequencies for Community and Neonate Health in Northern Vietnam at the Neolithic-Bronze Age Boundary.

2009. Shaw, Heidi. 2009. Bio-Mortuary Archaeology of Iron Age Cemetery Sites in Northern Philippines.  

2008-9. Hirst, Roslyn. Manners of grief; the mortuary treatment of infants in a Romano-British Context.

2008. Wright, Michelle. Maxillary sinusitis as an indicator of respiratory health: A comparative analysis between the Okhotsk and Jomon of Japan.

2008. Cameron, Alyce. The effects of scavenging upon pig carcasses within the ACT, Australia.

2008. Drake, Allison. The Cold Screen Hypothesis: An analysis of its validity in preventing the spread of infectious disease from human migration through the Bering Land Strait to the Americas.

2008. Stannard, Georgia. The impacts of differing subsistence economies on palaeohealth within populations from precontact Papua New Guinea.  

2007. Fitzgerald, Catherine. Synchronistic Decomposition in Pigs as a Model for Human Decomposition in Forensic Archaeology.

2007. Watson, L. Reliability of Forensic Attributions of Ancestry: Comparing and Contrasting the Craniometric Computer programs CRANID and FORDISC.

2006-7. Ross, Ken. Sub-Adult Identity: Attitudes towards Childhood Viewed from Mortuary Settings in Neolithic and Bronze Age Thailand.

2006. Bell, Greg. The Heritability of Human Frontal Sinus Patterns and the Implications for Biological Anthropological Study.

2006. Muller, Sarah. An Examination of Health, Stature and Disease in Bronze Age Specimens from Man Bac, Viet Nam.

2006. Wallwork, Chris. An Osteological Investigation into the Looted Iron-Age Remains from Koh Krabas, Northeast Cambodia.

2005. Vrsek, Anique. A Forensic Examination of a Secondary Burial in Zdar Monastery.

2004. Arthur, Claire Susannah. The Role of Archaeology in Forensic Investigations.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  31 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers