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Department of Archaeology



Undergraduate in Archaeology at Leiden University, specialising in human osteoarchaeology

Research Master of Science in Bioarchaeology, focussing on Human osteoarchaeology


My research will be looking at the lived experience of Hansen's Disease (colloqually known as leprosy) sufferers in medieval England. Many laws and decrees from this period imply that ‘lepers’ were shunned to the edge of society. Recent research has however shown the possibility of more varied experiences among sufferers.

This study will take a multidisciplinary approach to analyse the differences in biological markers between individuals from various leprosaria and parish cemeteries from Anglo-Saxon to medieval times. Methods include: 1) osteoarchaeological analyses to obtain estimations of demographic data and pathology; 2) isotopic data to hint towards varying dietary and status patterns; and 3) aDNA to confirm leprosy infection independent of skeletal expression. The obtained data allows for a population-level approach, as well as reconstruction of individual life histories through their osteobiographies, and will be used to provide insight into the social treatment and life experience of those infected.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

Urban, C., A.A. Blom, S. Pfrengle, K. Walker-Meikle, A.C. Stone, S.A. Inskip and V.J. Schuenemann, 2021. One Health approaches to trace Mycobacterium leprae’s zoonotic potential through time. Frontiers in Microbiology 12(762263).

Blom, A., R. Schats, M.L.P. Hoogland and A.L. Waters-Rist, 2020. Coming of age in the Netherlands: An osteological assessment of puberty in a rural Dutch post‐medieval community. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 174 (3), 463-478. DOI:

Blom, A., S. Inskip, W.A. Baetsen and M.L.P. Hoogland, 2018. Testing the sternal clavicle ageing method on a post-Medieval Dutch Skeletal Collection. Archaeometry 60(6), 1391-1402.

Job Titles

PhD Student in Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 

Contact Details

aab78 [at]


Person keywords: 
Medieval England
Biological Anthropology
Geographical areas: 
Periods of interest: