Dr Sophie Newman

Teaching Fellow in Human Osteoarchaeology

Background

I studied Anatomical Sciences at the University of Dundee from 2007-2011, where I first became interested in the study of human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts.

I then completed an MSc in Palaeopathology at Durham University (2011-2012), where I remained to undertake my PhD research focusing on child health in the Industrial Revolution.

Following the completion of my doctorate in 2016, I have worked as a commercial osteoarchaeologist for York Osteoarchaeology Ltd, and Research Technician and Lab Demonstrator in Human Osteology at Sheffield from 2017-2020. I have more recently been involved in the recording of a large skeletal assemblage from Orkney on behalf of the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Island, before starting my role as a Teaching Fellow in Human Osteoarchaeology in Edinburgh in September 2021.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Committee Secretary for the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past (SSCIP)

Member of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO)

Member of the BABAO Trading and Sale of Human Remains Sub-group

Member of the BABAO Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Sub-group

Undergraduate teaching

The Human Skeleton in Archaeology and Forensic Science: Investigating Death and the Dead [ARCA08014] (course organiser)

The Archaeology of Children and Childhood [ARCA10098] (course organiser)

Scientific Methods in Bioarchaeology [ARCA10077] (course organiser)

Archaeology 1B [ARCA08004] (contributor)

Archaeology 2B [ARCA08012] (contributor)

Postgraduate teaching

Quantitative Methods and Reasoning in Archaeology [PGHC11462] (course organiser)

Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation [PGHC11474] (course organiser)

The Archaeology of Children and Childhood [PGHC11570] (course organiser)

Biomolecular Archaeology [PGHC11428] (course organiser)

Analytical Methods in Human Osteoarchaeology [PGHC11464] (contributor)

Social Bioarchaeology: Living Conditions, Lifestyles and the Impact of Disease in the Past [ARCA10092] (contributor)

Research summary

Places: 

  • Britain & Ireland
  • Scotland

Themes: 

  • Bioarchaeology & Human Origins
  • Culture
  • Economic History
  • Gender
  • Medicine, Science & Technology
  • Society
  • Urban

Periods: 

  • Eighteenth Century
  • Nineteenth Century

Research interests

I specialise in the study of human osteology and palaeopathology, particularly in relation to children and child health in the past.

My main research interests are:

  • Human osteology and palaeopathology
  • Human growth and development
  • Health in 18th-19th century England
  • The bioarchaeology of children and childhood
  • Vitamin D deficiency in the past
  • Social status, and the impact of social inequality on health

My recent research also focuses on the biological and social impact of the ageing process in the 18th/19th centuries, following the award of a Commercial Research Grant from the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology in 2017.

Project activity

  • Life histories of health and disease: a multidisciplinary approach to assessing the impact of vitamin D deficiency on childhood and later adult health outcomes. Research funded by the University of Edinburgh Munro Research Fund.
  • Mapping child health inequality on a local scale: a multidisciplinary case study from St Bride’s parish, London, UK (19th century). The integration of historical and bioarchaeological data, and GIS, to understand patterns in child morbidity and mortality within the parish of St Bride, London, UK.
  • Newman, S.L. and Turner, D.M. (2024) Disability, Gender and Old Age in the Industrial Revolution: Cultural Historical and Osteoarchaeological Perspectives. In: E. Craig-Atkins and K. Harvey (eds) The material body: Embodiment, history and archaeology in England, 1700-1880. Manchester: Manchester University Press. https://doi.org/10.7765/9781526152794.00014
  • Snoddy, A.E., Shaw, H., Newman, S., Miszkiewicz, J.J., Stewart, N.A., Jakob, T., Buckley, H., Caffell, A., & Gowland, R. (2024) Vitamin D status in post-medieval Northern England: Insights from dental histology and enamel peptide analysis at Coach Lane, North Shields (AD 1711-1857). PLOS ONE, 19(1):e0296203. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0296203
  • Chidimuro, B., Holst, M., Newman, S., Keefe, K., Collins, M. J., & Alexander, M. (2023). Grim up North? Exploring the diet of urban populations in post-medieval Greater Manchester, England, using stable isotope analysis. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 15(11), Article 174.
  • Newman, S.L., Keefe, K., Caffell, A.C., Gowland, R.L., Bekvalac, J., Holst, M. and Heyerdahl-King, I. (2023) Growing Old in the Industrial Age: Aging, Health, and Social Identity in Elderly Women (Eighteenth–Nineteenth Centuries A.D.). Bioarchaeology International. Early View.
  • Newman, S.L. and Hodson, C.M. (2021) Contagion in the Capital: Exploring the impact of urbanisation and infectious disease risk on child health in nineteenth century London, England. Childhood in the Past.
  • Newman, S.L. (2021) ‘Guarded Treasures’: child health, care, and loss in urban families from mid-18th to 19th century London. In: Kendall, E and Kendall, R. (eds) The Family in Past Perspective: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Familial Relationships Through Time. Taylor & Francis Group
  • Newman, S.L., Gowland, R.L., Caffell, A.C. (2019) North and South: a comprehensive analysis of non-adult growth and health in the Industrial Revolution (AD 18th-19th C), England. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 169(1)
  • Holst, M., Keefe, K., Newman, S. and Löffelmann, T. (2019) Human Remains. In: Speed, G. and Holst, M. (eds) Death, Burial and Identity: 3000 Years of Death in the Vale of Mowbray. Northern Archaeological Associates Monograph, Volume 4. York: Archaeology Data Service. https://doi.org/10.5284/1050910
  • Gowland, R.L., Caffell, A.C., Newman, S.L, Levene, A., and Holst, M. (2018) Broken childhoods: rural and urban non-adult health during the Industrial Revolution in Northern England (eighteenthnineteenth centuries). Bioarchaeology International, 2(1): 44-62.
  • Gowland, R.L. and Newman, S.L. (2018) Children of the revolution: childhood health inequalities and the life course during industrialisation of the 18th to 19th centuries. In: P. Beauchesne and S. Agarwal (eds.). Children and Childhood in the Past. Florida: University of Florida Press.
  • Newman, S.L. and Gowland, R.L. (2017) Dedicated followers of fashion? Bioarchaeological perspectives on socio-economic status, inequality, and health in urban children from the Industrial Revolution (18th -19th C), England. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 27(2): 217-229.
  • Newman, S.L. and Gowland, R.L. (2015) The use of non-adult vertebral dimensions as indicators of growth disruption and non-specific health stress in skeletal populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158(1): 155-164.