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Archaeology and History

Photo of Dr Iwona KozieradzkaOgunmakin

Dr Iwona KozieradzkaOgunmakin

Lecturer in Archaeology (E&S)


I am a bioarchaeologist with a background in human osteology, palaeopathology and funerary archaeology. I combine my research with teaching and an extensive fieldwork programme in the Nile Valley – in Egypt and Sudan. My expertise lies in the archaeological excavation and examination of mummified and skeletonised human remains, using established protocols and state-of-the-art techniques. I am particularly interested in exploring the relationship between people and their environments in the past through patterns of health and disease, subsistence and migration.

External Appointments and Membership

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), United Kingdom
  • National Geographic Explorer
  • Member of the British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology
  • Member of the Paleopathology Association
  • Member of the Sudan Archaeological Research Society
  • Member of the International Society for Nubian Studies
  • Member of the Egypt Exploration Society
  • Member of the International Association of Egyptologists
  • Honorary Research Associate, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester
  • Honorary Curator of Human Remains, The Manchester Museum
  • Reviewer for the Czech Science Foundation and academic journals, including Nature, Bioarchaeology of the Near East, ArchaeometryBioarchaeology International, International Journal of PaleopathologyJournal of Egyptian Archaeology, Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean (PAM) 

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Research Interests

  • Human-environment relationship in the Nile Valley (mobility; subsistence; health and disease)
  • Disease and disability in the past (including social attitudes to sickness and medical/surgical interventions)
  • Bioarchaeological investigation of childhood
  • Social status and health in past populations
  • Application of imaging (X-Ray and CT-scan), stable isotope analysis and aDNA in Bioarchaeology
  • Burial practices (including mummification)

My first research project at Saqqara, Egypt, aimed to identify patterns of health distribution in respect to different social classes within the local past population, and to establish the extent to which the observed patterns of social and biological status changed over the period of use of the cemetery from the late Old Kingdom to Graeco-Roman times. This topic continues to hold relevance in modern societies where extenuating economic pressures impact on the state of health of families across the social spectrum. My study of the ancient population at Saqqara, which is ongoing since 2006, has contributed to our understanding of the lifeways and health and disease in Ancient Egypt, including evidence of rare conditions (e.g. multiple epiphyseal dysplasia), infectious disease (e.g. tuberculosis), and metastatic cancer.

My research on commingled remains from disturbed burials at the Theban Necropolis featured in the National Geographic documentary Lost Treasure of Egypt, and was conducted as part of the Life Histories of Theban Tombs project based at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

In 2016, I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship, funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, based at the University of Warsaw. My research sought to investigate environmental changes as a causative factor for the collapse of the Kingdom of Meroe (300 BC - AD 350) in Sudan, using stable isotope analysis of human remains, with the specific focus on the impact of environmental changes on the pattern of human habitation and migration, subsistence, and physical health.

In collaboration with the National Corporation of Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) in Khartoum, Sudan, my project aimed to promote and enhance appreciation of the importance of curating human remains as a valuable resource in studies pertaining to the interaction of people and their environment in the past. It also intended to highlight the problem of overexploitation of the natural environment and the profound effects these changes could have on human populations, past and present. 

I continue my investigations into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the Meroitic Kingdom with a new project entitled Crossing Boundaries: Peoples' Movement and the Collapse of the Kingdom of Meroe (300 BC - AD 350), Sudan, funded by the National Geographic Society grant (NGS-61475R-19). This project aims to investigate the genetic background of selected archaeological populations from northern Sudan to infer movement of peoples during the Meroitic and Post-Meroitic Periods (c. 300 BC – AD 600). Establishing DNA profiles of the archaeological populations from Meroitic and Post-Meroitic sites in Sudan should shed light on the impact of demic movements during that time and assist with understanding the contribution of migration to the collapse of the Meroitic kingdom and the subsequent formation of Christian kingdoms. This project is carried out in collaboration with NCAM and the Harvard Medical School.

Research Projects

  • 2014–2017  "Dry Moat" in Saqqara as a Unique Time Capsule, A Source For The History of The Memphite Necropolis Reflecting Changes of Natural Environment (research collaborator; Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw; funded by the National Science Centre, Poland – UMO-2013/11/B/HS3/04472)
  • 2011–2014  The Final Phase of the Pyramid Builders’ Era: An Investigation into the Correlation Between the Environmental and Cultural Changes at the Saqqara Necropolis in Egypt (research collaborator; Polish Academy of SciencesWarsaw; funded by the National Science Centre, Poland – NN109 179940)
  • 2010–2012  A Study of Social Stratification and Physical Health in an Ancient Egyptian Population of Saqqara (doctoral research project conducted at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, University of Manchester; funded by the Leverhulme Trust – F/00120/BU)

For the list of my publications see the following: profile



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Research students

I currently co-supervise a PhD Student with Professor Sonia Zakrzewski at the University of Southampton.

Jessica Coughtrey: Reconstructing the Activity Patterns of the Builders of the Pyramids

Research project funded by AHRC SWW DTP (South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership).

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External impact and engagement

Public engagement remains an important element of my academic work and research, providing opportunities to share my knowledge of ancient civilizations, and life and death in past populations.

During my fieldwork seasons in Egypt and Sudan, I enjoy developing and delivering training courses in the field to share with students and graduate archaeologists on the methods of recovery, identification and inventory of human remains. Since 2018, I have developed and co-directed courses and study days for the Bloomsbury Summer School at UCL, focusing on the current state of research in the Nile Valley pertaining to human and animal remains, and their place in the cultural context of Ancient Egypt and Nubia.

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I am passionate about teaching and sharing my knowledge by engaging students of all ages and abilities using a combination of captivating lectures and hands-on laboratory-based sessions. I continually strive to incorporate current pedagogy to develop courses which appeal to a variety of learning styles on varied topics relating to ancient civilisations, funerary archaeology, and bioarchaeology. I pride myself on providing an open and supportive learning environment by encouraging debate between students. 

Teaching Scope / Areas of Expertise

  • Bioarchaeology
  • Human skeletal and musculature anatomy
  • Bioanthropology
  • Palaeopathology
  • Funerary archaeology
  • Ancient civilisations of the Nile Valley

Modules taught

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I hold academic degrees in Archaeology (MA, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan), Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology (MSc, University of Sheffield) and Bioarchaeology (PhD, University of Manchester). Since 2002, I have been actively involved in archaeological research in the Nile Valley, working with international teams at high-profile burial sites in Egypt and Sudan.


PhD Bioarchaeology (Social Stratification and Physical Health in an Ancient Egyptian Population of Saqqara, Egypt)

MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology (Pathological Conditions in the New Kingdom Assemblage from Theban Area in Egypt)

MA Archaeology (Mummification as an Element of the Rites of Passage in the New Kingdom Period in Ancient Egypt)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), UK

ILM Level 5 Award in Leadership in Management, awarded by the City and Guilds of London Institute 



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