Rebecca Gowland

Rebecca Gowland

I am a bioarchaeologist at Durham University, teaching and researching human skeletal remains. I also train national and international forensic practitioners in archaeology and anthropology.

Location UK


  • It would depend on the age of any hormonal interventions and the extent of any other surgical interventions.

  • @ElaineShapiro we have plenty of retired people take the degree ;-)!

  • Week 2- hang on in there!

  • @LeeScott Welcome! Hope you enjoy the course!

  • @CynthiaGalloway welcome! I may need to call on YOUR skills in forensic botany some time! Please email directly if you have any questions.

  • @CynthiaGalloway let us know what your student think!

  • @ImogenFrost Good question! If there are identified living descendants then they would certainly have input but not 'ownership' - nobody owns a body. If bodies are excavated from CoE burial grounds then they have jurisdiction. Outside of this in the UK then bodies are often reburied within 2 years, although extensions can be requested. The remains of people...

  • @DottyF welcome and feel free to contact us directly if you have any specific questions.

  • @OluwadamilareIsikalu feel free to email me separately to discuss this further

  • @CharlieT and @MelindaSofiaManceboPelacy let me know if you have any questions!

  • @lamismohammad I hope the course is useful. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

  • @SarahDerby what a great thing to do together! Enjoy!

  • @LaurenKemp welcome! I hope you enjoy the course!

  • @LisaN but some cultures believe that how we treat the dead can hurt them. And if we treat their ancestors poorly it also harms the living descendants, many of whom have experienced marginalisation. As a scientist, I would always argue that ethics comes first, then science. Do no harm.

  • @JanK I'm so awful that you had such horrific experiences. I hope you're okay.

  • @LucyPryce-Rattle feel free to email me directly if you want to discuss it further.

  • @ElinorVanDyck hi, yes it'll be here for a while yet. It will just run on demand now I believe.

  • @ChristinaNikopoulou feel free to email me directly if you want information on our MSc courses at Durham

  • @ThomasEdwardOsorio welcome. Do tag me into questions if you have any, otherwise I don't always see them.

  • @NormanMalcolmMacLeod different cultural and religious beliefs should be respected whether you agree with them or not. I'm pleased that archaeologists in Australia took steps to avoid further offense to the Aboriginal people.

  • @MacarenaAriasAravena sorry I've had to remove the link as our open access permissions must have run out.

  • Excavation experience on fieldschools, or better still being paid to excavate can help. Also MSc degrees should offer practical hands-on experience.

  • @StephenDedman welcome- we have had a number of crime writers do the course. I'd love to hear feedback at the end as to whether any of this learning makes it into your books!

  • @MahmoodMhaefod hello and welcome to the course. We offer 12 month programmes, but I don't know any 6 month programmes I'm afraid. I know that Cranfield University offer MSc block training and perhaps this would help you.

  • @ElinorVanDyck archaeologists looking at longer term environmental changes certainly do use differences in pollen types etc to map this over time.

  • @SharonHowe a lot if techniques are the same. It's the context that differs.

  • @KarenO can you email Future Learn to let them know. I have no control over these things from my end I'm afraid.

  • @SusanKerr the technique is still being tested, so more research is required in order to establish the limits of accuracy. It could certainly assist, alongside other anthropological techniques - e.g. pair matching, etc.

  • @JanAnderson I'm pleased you enjoyed the course and congratulations on passing the test! I'm so sorry to hear of this tragic case. I hope the relevant experts are being deployed.

  • @JanAnderson Y pestis isn't a problem - it doesn't survive.

  • @MichaelBeith if a body is wrapped in some man-made material, it may inhibit some scavengers and other taphonomic processes acting on the body. Metal objects adjacent to the body can create a microenvironment in the vicinity which can preserve organic material. For example, textile may be preserved against a brooch. If a body is contained within a sealed lead...

  • Welcome @HelenCollier ! We have trained a number of CSIs at Durham - I hope you enjoy the course!

  • @EtnerBassal welcome!

  • @DavidAdeyemi welcome!

  • @HayleyCampbell we offer one at Durham if you feel like travelling to the other side of the World!

  • @DonnaS for diagnosing a disease you need to look very carefully at the characteristics of the lesions and the pattern of distribution throughout the skeleton as these can be disease-specific. You would provide what's known as a differential diagnosis in which you would describe the characteristics of the lesions in relations to a number of possible causes,...

  • @CandyWelch it is a lot, but well done for sticking with it.

  • In some environments - particularly humid and warm - it can be very rapid.