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Department of Archaeology



My research centres on understanding how past and present variation in human health, growth and morphology is influenced by evolutionary processes (e.g., adaptation, neutral variation, plasticity) and interactions with the natural and social environments. I combine human bioarchaeology with human biology and palaeoanthropology, and previous and current projects include work in South America, South Asia and Europe.

I gained my BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from Cambridge, and MA in Osteoarchaeology from the University of Southampton. Following employment in medical research and commercial archaeology, I completed my PhD in Biological Anthropology under the supervision of Dr Jay Stock (Cambridge) and Professor Jonathan Wells (UCL). My thesis investigated adaptation to varying social and natural environmental conditions in past and present Andean populations. 

Subsequently, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Newnham College, Cambridge, and a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship at  Liverpool John Moores University, where I was also Lecturer in Biological Anthropology. 


My recent research has been investigating the evolutionary origins of low lean tissue (organ and muscle mass) among contemporary South Asians. Low lean mass is implicated in the elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases among South Asians, but the origins of low lean mass is unknown. We have been using clinical imaging from contemporary populations to investigate the relationship between lean mass and skeletal dimensions, and then applying these findings to track patterns of lean mass variation using the South Asian skeletal record from the last 11,000 years. This project involves collaborations with Dr Veena Mushrif (Deccan College Research and Post Graduate Institute, Pune, India); Dr Jay Stock (Cambridge); Professor Jonathan Wells (UCL); Dr Sanjay Kinra (APCAPS, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine); and Dr Bharati Kulkarni (National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India).


Since 2016 I have also been the paleoanthropologist at renewed excavations at Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan. Shanidar Cave is one of the most famous Neanderthal sites, yielding the remains of 10 men, women and children in excavations led by Ralph Solecki between 1951 and 1960. The new project, led by Professor Graeme Barker, is using modern archaeological science and techniques to refine our understanding of the chronology and stratigraphy of Solecki’s original excavations, and to provide new insight into behaviour during the Palaeolithic. This has included the exciting discovery of significant new Neanderthal remains.


The Old St Bernard's Hospital Project, which I co-direct Dr Kevin Lane (CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires) and Professor Clive Finlayson (The Gibraltar Museum and University of Gibraltar), investigates health, diet and migration among  skeletons from a 16th-17th century mariner's hospital in Gibraltar. Due to its date and location on major shipping routes, the Hospital collection has enormous potential to shed new light on disease and migration at a time when trade and human movements first became truly global. The project is strongly interdisciplinary, incorporating historians, archaeologists, human osteologists, and analyses of stable light isotopes and ancient human and pathogen DNA.


I am presently involved in the following research projects:

  • Since 2015: The Old St Bernard's Hospital Project.
  • Since 2015: The origins of low lean mass and chronic disease susceptibility among South Asians.
  • Since 2016: Shanidar Cave Project

Key Publications

Key publications: 


Pomeroy E, Bennett P, Hunt C, Reynolds T, Farr L, Frouin, M, Holman J, Lane R, French C, Barker G. In Press. New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘Flower Burial’ at Shanidar Cave. Antiquity.

Pomeroy E, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Cole TJ, Wells JCK, Stock JT. 2019. Ancient origins of low lean mass among South Asians and implications for modern type 2 diabetes susceptibility. Scientific Reports 9(1):10515.

Pomeroy E, Macintosh A, Wells JCK, Cole TJ, Stock JT. 2018. Relationship between body mass, lean mass, fat mass, and limb bone cross‐sectional geometry: Implications for estimating body mass and physique from the skeleton. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166(1):56-69.

Pomeroy E, Mirazón Lahr M, Crivellaro F, Farr L, Reynolds T, Hunt CO, Barker G. 2017. Newly discovered Neanderthal remains from Shanidar Cave, Iraqi Kurdistan, and their attribution to Shanidar 5. Journal of Human Evolution 111: 102-118.

Wells JCK, Pomeroy E, Walimbe SR, Popkin B, Yajnik CS. 2016. The elevated susceptibility to diabetes in India: an evolutionary perspective. Frontiers in Public Health 4: 145.

Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2012. Trade-offs in relative limb length among Peruvian children: Extending the thrifty phenotype hypothesis to limb proportions. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51795.



Other publications: 


Journal Articles


Pomeroy E, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Stock JT, Kulkarni B, Kinra S, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2019. Estimating body mass and composition from proximal femur dimensions using DXA. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences: 11(5): 2167-2179.


Pomeroy E, Grant J, Ward D, Benady S, Mata E, Cobos LM, Ramírez León JJ, Finlayson G, Finlayson S, Finlayson C, Lane K. 2018. Death in the Sun: The bioarchaeology of an early post-Medieval hospital in Gibraltar. Journal of Post-Medieval Archaeology: 52(2): 239-255.


Pomeroy E, Mushrif-Tripathy V, Wells JCK, Kulkarni B, Kinra S, and Stock JT. 2018. Stature estimation equations for South Asian skeletons based on DXA scans of contemporary adults. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 167: 20-31.


Payne S, Kumar BC R, Pomeroy E, Macintosh A, Stock JT. 2018. Thrifty phenotype versus cold adaptation: trade-offs in upper limb proportions of Himalayan populations of Nepal. Royal Society Open Science 5(6).


Lane K, Pomeroy E, Lújan Davila, MR. 2018. Over Rock and Under Stone: Carved Rocks and Subterranean Burials at Kipia, Ancash, AD 1000 – 1532. Open Archaeology 4: 299-321.


Groucutt HS, et al. incl. Pomeroy E. 2018. Homo sapiens in Arabia by 85,000 years ago. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(5): 800-809.


Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Moore, LG, Cole TJ, Stock JT. 2015. Surname-inferred Andean ancestry is associated with child stature and limb lengths at high altitude in Peru, but not at sea level. American Journal of Human Biology 27(6): 798-806


Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Cole TJ, O’Callaghan M, Stock JT. 2015. Relationships of maternal and paternal anthropometry with neonatal body size and proportions in an Australian cohort. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(4): 625-636


Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Cole TJ, O’Callaghan M, Wells JCK. 2014. Relationships between neonatal weight, limb lengths, skinfold thicknesses, body breadths and circumferences in an Australian cohort. PLoS ONE 9(8): e105108


Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2014. Stunting, adiposity, and the individual-level “dual burden” among urban lowland and rural highland Peruvian children. American Journal of Human Biology 26(4): 481-490


Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Stock JT. 2014. Birth month associations with height, head circumference and limb lengths among Peruvian children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154(1): 115-124


Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Stanojevic S, Miranda JJ, Cole TJ, Wells JCK. 2013. Associations between arterial oxygen saturation, body size and limb measurements among high-altitude Andean children. American Journal of Human Biology 25(5): 629-636


Pomeroy E. 2013. Biomechanical insights into long distance trade activity in the south-central Andes (AD500-1450). Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 3129-3140


Pomeroy E, Stock JT. 2012. Estimation of stature and body mass from the skeleton among coastal and mid-altitude Andean populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147: 264-279


Pomeroy E, Stock JT, Zakrzewski SR, Lahr MM. 2010. A metric study of three types of artificial cranial modification from north-central Peru. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 20: 317-334


Podbielski DW, Bruckel J, Pomeroy E, Inman RD, Warren RW, Savage L, Mogg R, Richardson J, Gay L, Papachristos A, Stone MA. 2010. The Visual Assessment Stone-Bruckel Instrument (VASBI); a novel approach to simplifying assessment of spinal deformity in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients. Journal of Rheumatology 37: 628-632


Reveille JD, Sims AM, Danoy P, Evans DM, Leo P, Pointon JJ, Jin R, Zhou XD, Bradbury LA, Appleton LH et al. incl. Pomeroy E. 2010. Genome-wide association study of ankylosing spondylitis identifies non-MHC susceptibility loci. Nature Genetics 42: 123-127


Pomeroy E. 2009. Labial talon cusps: a South American archaeological case in the deciduous dentition and review of a rare trait. British Dental Journal 206: 277-282


Pomeroy E, Zakrzewski SR. 2009. Sexual dimorphism in diaphyseal cross-sectional shape in the Medieval Muslim population of Écija, Spain and Anglo-Saxon Great Chesterford, UK. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 19: 50-65


Stone MA, White LA, Gladman D, Chayya S, Inman RD, Salonen D, Pomeroy E, Podbielski D, Keystone E. 2009. Significance of clinical evaluation of the metacarpophalangeal joint in relation to synovial/bone pathology as detected by MRI in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis. Journal of Rheumatology 36: 2751-7


Stone MA, Sengupta R, Ramanan AV, Pomeroy E. 2009. British Medical Journal Best Practice Monograph: Ankylosing spondylitis


Stone MA, Pomeroy E, Keat A, Sengupta R, Hickey S, Dieppe P, Gooberman-Hill R, Mogg R, Richardson J, Inman RD. 2008. Assessment of the impact of flares in ankylosing spondylitis disease activity using the Flare Illustration. Rheumatology 47: 1213-8



Book chapters


Pomeroy E, Wells JCK, Stock JT. 2016. Obstructed labour: the classic obstetric dilemma and beyond. In Alvergne A, Faurie C, Jenkinson C (eds.) Evolutionary thinking in medicine: from research to policy and practice, pp.33-45. Springer.


Davies TG, Pomeroy E, Shaw CN, Stock JT. 2014. Mobility and the skeleton: A biomechanical view. In: Leary, J (ed.) Past mobilities: Archaeological approaches to movement and mobility, pp129-153. Farnham: Ashgate

Teaching and Supervisions


I am involved in the teaching of the following courses:

  • Paper B1: Humans in Biological Perspective (Paper Co-ordinator)
  • Paper B4: Comparative Human Biology
  • Paper B18/AS5: Decoding the Skeleton
Research supervision: 

*** Please note that I plan to be on sabbatical leave from October 2023-September 2024 and will be unavailable to supervise MPhil dissertations during this time ***

I am currently accepting MPhil and PhD students, and I am interested in supervising on topics related to:


  • Human bioarchaeology
  • Human variation, adaptation and behaviour
  • Health and disease in the past and present/ evolutionary medicine
  • Neanderthal morphology and behaviour

Past students:


            Abigail Doyle

            Sophie Russell

            Devin Ward (Cambridge)

            Jessica Izzard (Liverpool John Moores University)

Other Professional Activities

Academic editor, PLOS One

Job Titles

Associate Professor in the Evolution of Health, Diet and Disease

General Info

Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Population Biology and Health
Human Evolution

Contact Details

2.3 Henry Wellcome Building
Fitzwilliam Street
eep23 [at]
01223 (7)64711


Person keywords: 
Evolutionary medicine
Neandethal morphology and behaviour
Human adaptation and skeletal variation
Evolutionary anthropology
Skeletal biomechanics
Health and disease
Biological Anthropology
Developmental origins of Health and Disease
Skeletal biology
Human osteology
The evolution of human variation
Biological Anthropology
Human Evolutionary Studies
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
South Asia
Periods of interest: 
Other Historical
Other Prehistory