Patrick Randolph-Quinney


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I am a Biological Anthropologist with specialisations in Osteoarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology. I have research interests in human and faunal identification, skeletal disease evolution, palaeo and forensic taphonomy, skeletal trauma analysis, and the application of digital methods in biomedical imaging and archaeology. My fieldwork focusses on the archaeology of Palaeolithic cave systems in Europe and South Africa, integrating archaeology, palaeoeconomy, and palaeoenvironmental modelling.


Denna text finns inte på svenska, därför visas den engelska versionen.

I am a Biological Anthropologist with broad practical, research and teaching experience in archaeology, palaeoanthropology and forensic science. My broad interests concern the application of multi‐disciplinary approaches in bioarchaeology, and particularly applying forensic taphonomy and thanatology into both current medico‐legal practice and the Evolutionary Anthropology of the deep past. Much of my academic life has focussed on the biological and cultural evolution of the genus Homo during the Middle Pleistocene, a critical period that precedes the evolution of our own species and the advent of modern behaviours. In recent years I have been working in the field of forensic anthropology and human identification, and have extensive casework experience in both forensic anthropology and archaeology in the UK and sub‐Saharan Africa, including archaeology of fatal fires, and as a member of the Mission Chambres Africaines Extraordinaires investigating human rights abuses in the Republic of Chad. I was co‐coordinator of the African School for Forensic Science and Human Rights in conjunction with the Argentine Forensic Team (EAAF). My research also encompasses the effects of disease and trauma on the skeleton, and I led multi-disciplinary research teams investigating the earliest evidence for neoplastic disease (both tumours and cancers) in the hominin fossil record.

One of the main areas of my research focusses on taphonomy and thanatology in forensic, archaeological and palaeontological contexts, with the aim of understanding mortuary behaviours, peri and post-mortem alteration to the body, and site formational processes. My work integrates decomposition modelling with multi-scalar approaches to how body deposition sites (whether intentional or natural) function and change through time - integrating bone taphonomy, sedimentology and geomorphology, biotic and abiotic factors to understand the persistence and transfer of taphonomic evidence through time.

I have research interests across the field of forensic taphonomy including human and animal decomposition processes, osseous taphonomy, differentiation of sub‐aerial and sub‐surface processes, trauma analysis, ichnotraces, and the application of digital methods in the analysis of spatial taphonomy and the decomposition process. In particular I use innovative approaches using 3D and 4D space capture and modelling (from laser, structured light scanning and photogrammetry), and remote sensing and GIS, to understand site formational processes from object to landscape level. This includes research which aims to improve methods of environmental detection of buried deposits using multi-proxy and remote sensing data from drones and UAV.

I have continued research into the human evolutionary process, working at the sites of Malapa, Rising Star and Makapansgat in South Africa. My role in the Rising Star project has been to apply skillsets derived from forensic casework (having worked on homicides, fatal fires and mass graves from war crimes) to the deep past; using the skills from modern forensic taphonomy to understand the context, decompositional environment and mortuary behaviours of Homo naledi. I am an experienced field worker and conduct fieldwork in Middle Pleistocene palaeo-archaeological deposits in the Limpopo region of South Africa, and am Co-Director of the Makapansgat Archaeological Landscape Project.

I am currently supervising a number of PhD projects looking at differing aspects of the forensic and palaeosciences.

Patrick Randolph-Quinney