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BABAO Annual Conference 2023

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is delighted to be hosting the 24th annual BABAO Conference – the first in-person BABAO Conference since 2019! 

Online attendance will also be available.

BABAO provides a forum for discussion and intellectual exchange for professionals and students in all areas of biological anthropology and osteoarchaeology.

We hope that many of you will join us for this event and reconnect with colleagues from across the UK!

15 -17 September 2023

Mary Ward House Conference Centre, London, UK

The conference will host six sessions for podium presentations:

1) Human remains and the museum
Museum collections are vital to research on human remains, from fossil and mummified remains, to large archaeological skeletal collections, and modern documented collections. However, research on the remains themselves can add value to collections, helping to answer larger questions about the material and contribute to the broader knowledge of people/cultures. This session is aimed at both museum professionals and human remains researchers on how museums and researchers can work together to enhance knowledge of the collections.

2) Biomolecular applications to Bioarchaeological questions
This session explores how we use biomolecules (i.e. DNA, proteins, isotopes) from human remains (and the grave in general) to help answer bioarchaeological questions. While papers on new techniques/methods will be considered here, the aim is to show how we can use biomolecules to help in reconstructing past lived experiences and shed light on human behaviour throughout the archaeological record.

3) New Horizons in Palaeopathology: Papers in honour of Prof Tony Waldron
This session honours the memory of Professor Tony Waldron, with papers aimed at critical and novel approaches to the study of disease in the past. With advances in recent technology, new avenues for research into palaeopathological questions have been made possible. This session aims to explore new approaches to understanding disease in the past, with a focus on advanced methodology or technology. These could include ways to understand population level disease-burden, how to better identify specific conditions/ confirm diagnoses, or how to critically approach palaeopathological diagnoses. This session is not aimed at highlighting case studies/reports, but if the paper re-analyses previously identified material using new approaches (and potentially suggesting a new diagnosis) it will be considered.

4) Social Bioarchaeology of the 21st Century
The evolution of oppression and the growing calls for the recontextualization of the biological body have provided opportunities for critical discourse regarding ethical practices within bioarchaeological investigations. This session provides a forum for discussing the body, both as biological and social entities operating within various spheres of power. Topics could include: discussions of academic ethics; embodiment; oppression; the role of the bioarchaeologist in changing social attitudes; social justice; gender and identity; disability; inequality; or any other topic that might fall under the umbrella of ‘social bioarchaeology’.

5) Forensic Anthropology: The UK as a world leader?
The past two decades have seen forensic anthropology expand from traditional methods of identification with the biological profile to demonstrating its use in a variety of contexts, including forensic taphonomy, trauma analysis, mass disaster response, and human rights cases, amongst others. This session focuses on forensic anthropology within the U.K., considering how the discipline has grown, current research programmes, and exploring ideas for how to distinguish the U.K. as a world leader in Forensic Anthropology.  Topics for this session could include: the introduction of novel methods, results of experimental taphonomic work, how forensic anthropological methods have been successfully applied in modern casework, and  comments on how forensic anthropology in the U.K. can continue to evolve, including where work is yet to be done.

6) Open Session – All topics welcome

Poster Presentations are open topic!


  • Dr Carolyn Rando (UCL Institute of Archaeology)
  • Dr Katie Hemer (UCL Institute of Archaeology)
  • Dr Rebecca Watts (UCL Institute of Archaeology)
  • Dr Rebecca Whiting (The British Museum)
  • Dr Sherry Nakhaeizadeh (UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, Centre for the Forensic Sciences)
  • Dr Tom Booth (The Francis Crick Institute, London)
  • Dr Rhiannon Stevens (UCL Institute of Archaeology)