Staff Profile


Dr Ellie Williams


School: School of Humanities

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 922451

Profile summary


I am an archaeologist specialising in human osteology and zooarchaeology. My research interests include funerary archaeology, osteoarchaeology and public engagement, medieval history and archaeology, medieval monasticism, and faunal foodways. I hold a BA in Archaeology, an MA in Osteoarchaeology, and a PhD, all from the University of Southampton, where I have also taught at undergraduate and Masters level.

Through my interest in osteoarchaeology and public engagement I have organised, and collaborated on, various events and activities for schools, community groups, the Young Archaeologists' Club, and as part of the Festival of British Archaeology.  I have also worked in southern England and Romania on field projects exploring prehistoric, Roman, and medieval sites.

Alongside Dr Lesley Hardy and Dr Mike Bintley (CCCU), I am collaborating on the HLF community project 'Finding Eanswythe: the Life and Afterlife of an Anglo-Saxon Saint', with a particular research focus on engagement in heritage projects and wellbeing. 

Since 2014 I have been collaborating with the British Museum and the University of Southampton on the Amara West Project, northern Sudan. Alongside Dr Jaco Weinstock and Dr Sarah Stark we are exploring daily life in a New Kingdom Egyptian town through the zooarchaeological remains. 

Teaching and subject expertise

I am convening the modules 'Introduction to Archaeology', 'Life and Death in Medieval Europe', 'The Archaeology of Death and Burial' and 'Bones and Bodies: Introduction to Osteoarchaeology'. I also contribute to 'Archaeological Skills', 'Approaches to Archaeological Interpretation', 'Global Perspectives: Themes in Historical Archaeology' and the Foundation Level Programme.

I am lead supervisor for funded PhD student, Lisa Duffy. Her research is exploring life and death in Late Roman Canterbury through bioarchaeological analyses.   

External activities

Conference and session organisation

2016, Building through time and space, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Uni. Southampton (session co-organiser with J. Jones, P. Copeland, C. Cooper and M. Harrison).

2014, Buildings and the body: exploring living and building in the medieval and early modern world, Uni. Southampton (conference organiser with J. Jones, P. Copeland, C. Cooper, M. Harrison, and T. Dhoop).

2012, Archaeologies of Rules and Regulations, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Uni. Liverpool (session organiser with B. Hausmair, B. Jervis, and R. Nugent).

2012, Death Rules! Maintaining and Transgressing Funerary Rules across Medieval Europe, International Medieval Congress, Uni. Leeds (session organiser with B. Hausmair, B. Jervis, and R. Nugent).

Selected research presentations and invited talks

2018, Folkestone Project: Archaeology, Heritage, and Wellbeing, The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (Canterbury), The Centre for Heritage, University of Kent

2018, A morsel too hard for time to consume: exploring the heritage of life and death in Folkestone, CCCU, FCAT seminar series (with Dr Lesley Hardy)

2018, The People Before Us Project: Heritage and Wellbeing in Coastal Kent, Historic Landscapes and Mental Well-being Conference, Bournemouth University (with Dr Lesley Hardy)

2017, Archaeology, heritage and wellbeing in a rapidly changing seaside town, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Cardiff University (with Dr Lesley Hardy and Diarmaid Walshe)

2016, The medieval monastic death ritual: archaeology and the Cluniac customaries, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Uni. Southampton.  

2012, ‘Between text and practice: rules and the Cluniac death-course’, Theoretical Archaeology Group, Uni. Liverpool.

2012, ‘Rules and the Cluniac death-course’, International Medieval Congress, Uni. Leeds.

2011, ‘Les rites funéraires Clunisiens: présentation d’une recherche comparative en cours. Les rencontres médiévales de Saint-Leu, Saint Leu d’Esserent.

Publications and research outputs

2019. 'The People Before Us Project': Exploring heritage and wellbeing in a rapidly changing seaside town. In T. Darvill, K. Barrass, L. Drysdale, V. Heaslip and Y. Staelens (eds), Historic Landscapes and Mental Wellbeing (with Lesley Hardy) (Archaeopress), 215-227. 

2019. Holey Goats: multiple cases of supratrochlear foramina in the humerus of caprines from the New Kingdom pharaonic town of Amara West, north Sudan (with J. Weinstock and N. Spencer), Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Human Palaeoecology 24(3), 263-268.  

2018. Archaeologies of Rules and Regulation: Between Text and Practice (edited with B. Hausmair, B. Jervis and R. Nugent) (Berghahn). ISBN  978-1-78533-765-9.

2018. 'Medieval monastic text and the treatment of the dead: an archaeothanatological perspective on adherence to the Cluniac customaries'. In B. Hausmair, B. Jervis, R. Nugent and E. Williams (eds), Archaeologies of rules and regulation: between text and practice (Berghahn).

2016. ‘Los textiles elaborados con cuentas perforadas’. In A. Fernández Flores, L. García Sanjuán and M. Díaz-Zorita Bonilla (eds.) Montelirio (Castilleja de Guzmán, Sevilla)Un Gran Monumento Megalítico de la Edad del Cobre (with Marta Díaz-Guardamino, David W. Wheatley and José Ángel Garrido González). Junta de Andalucia, Consejería de Cultura, 345-364.

2012. ‘Rites funéraires Clunisiens: un examen des recherches antérieures et une proposition pour de futurs travaux’, in D. Hanquiez and A. Petit (eds), Saint-Leu-d'Esserent et l'implantation monastique dans la basse vallée de l'Oise. Amiens: CAHMER, 59-70 

2012. Skeletons in dusty boxes: the use of dry skeletal samples in medical and osteoarchaeological research and teaching (with S. Inskip, K. Temple, M. Glasson, M. Gilder, J. Sofaer, and S. Border) Clinical Anatomy 25 (6), 803-804.

Book reviews

2018. Howard Williams and Melanie Giles, eds. Archaeologists and the Dead: Mortuary Archaeology in Contemporary Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). European Journal of Archaeology, 21(3), 475-479. 


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 21:16:00