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Sam Leggett

Sam Leggett

PhD Student in Archaeology

Newnham College
Sidgwick Avenue

Cambridge CB3 9DF


Sam studied a BSc in Immunobiology combined with a BA (1st class honours) in Archaeology and Medieval Studies at the University of Sydney. Followed by a MA in History at the University of New England and a MPhil (research) in Archaeology at the University of Sydney. Her previous theses all focussed on Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Christianisation, with one winning the Maureen A. Byrne Prize for Best Archaeology Honours Thesis (USyd).  

She was also a laboratory demonstrator and prosector in the Faculty of Science at Sydney, as well as an Education Officer at the Nicholson Museum, and Visitor Interpretation Officer for Sydney Living Museums.


Subject groups/Research projects

Dorothy Garrod Laboratory:

Research Interests

  • Anglo-Saxon England
  • Early Medieval Europe
  • Death and Burial
  • Stable Isotope Analysis
  • Genetics and Proteomics
  • Christianisation
  • Palaeodiet
  • Migration and mobility
  • Palaeoecology 
  • Statistics and modelling

My research focuses on utilising stable isotope analysis to investigate cultural changes in Anglo-Saxon England from the re-introduction of Christianity to the Norman Conquest. Themes of this research include changes in burial practice, diet, mobility and Christianisation. It compares a wide geographical sample from across England to explore the impact of religious conversion with an expanding European identity during the early medieval period. The core portion of my work is based on 14 cemeteries and over 350 human individuals (plus fauna) for rib collagen and dentine (C & N), as well as tooth enamel carbonate, contextualising this data within a large Early Medieval isotope database I have developed. As a consequence I am also using Bayesian statistical methods and modelling to interrogate the data, and working on simulations to further investigate Early Medieval life, diet and mobility through time and space.  

I am a lead investigator alongside Chris Chinnock on a joint project with MOLA Northampton examining mobility and identity at the late Anglo-Saxon chapel cemetery at Ketton Quarry funded by the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society

I am a co-investigator on "Entendiendo el passado. Neuvas técnicas al servicio de la arqueología (Azuqueca de Henares, Guadalajara)." and will be leading the stable isotope analysis on human and faunal remains. 

Research Supervision

Principle Supervisor: Dr Susanne Hakenbeck

Advisor: Dr Tamsin O'Connell



I supervise students for:
  • A11 - From Data to Interpretation,
  • A10 - Archaeological Theory and Practice I,
  • A7/B1 - Humans in Biological Perspective,
  • Part IIA and IIB students for ARC26 - The North Sea in the Early Middle Ages,
  • ASNC Paper 1 - England before the Norman Conquest,
  • History papers 2 & 7 - British political history/British economic and social history, 380-1100. 
I also supervise MPhil students for lab based projects in stable isotope analyses for G32.
Past students: Estelle Praet (2019) - "Mobility and identity through Christianisation. The identification of outliers through oxygen isotopes in Anglo-Saxon Britain: Case studies from Buckland and Stanton.
I am a laboratory demonstrator for G10/G32 Archaeological Science practicals. 

I have previously been a laboratory demonstrator at the University of Sydney for BIOL 1003/1903 - Human Biology. 

Other Professional Activities

Member of Newnham college 

Society for Medieval Archaeology

The Society for Archaeological Sciences

European Association of Archaeologists

International Society of Anglo-Saxonists

British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology

Australian Early Medieval Association

Viking Society for Northern Research

Editorial committee for the Archaeological Review from Cambridge 2016-2018; co-editor of vol 33.2 2018


  • Stable Isotope Analysis
  • Migration and Mobility
  • Archaeological Science
  • Osteoarchaeology
  • Open Science
  • Ecology and behaviour
  • Religion
  • Mortuary analysis
  • bioarchaeology
  • Human population biology and health
  • Archaeological Chemistry
  • Human osteology
  • Archaeology


  • Europe
  • Archaeological Science
  • Open Science
  • Health and disease
  • Human osteology
  • Archaeology


Key Publications

Damman, L and Leggett S. (eds.) (2018) The Others: Deviants, Outcasts and Outsiders in Archaeology Archaeological Review from Cambridge 33(2). 

Leggett, S. and Damman, L. (2018) Introduction. In: Damman, L and Leggett S. (eds.) (2018) The Others: Deviants, Outcasts and Outsiders in Archaeology Archaeological Review from Cambridge 33(2) 3-10.

Leggett, S. (2017) The Power of Place – Colonisation of the Anglo-Saxon Landscape by Royal and Religious Ideologies (An Archaeological Perspective). Journal of Literary Onomastics.

Leggett S. (2012) Celticity: Migration or Fashion? Vexillum: The Undergraduate Journal of Classical and Medieval Studies 2.