School of Anthropology & Conservation

Excellence in diversity Global in reach

Dr Patrick Mahoney

Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology



profile image for Dr Patrick Mahoney

School roles and responsibilities

Director of Skeletal Biology Research Centre (SBRC); Programme Convenor for BSc Anthroplogy, BSc Biological Anthropology and BSc Medical Anthropology.

Academic background

I have a BSc in archaeology from UCL (1999), and an MSc in human osteology and palaeopathology from Sheffield (2000). I did my PhD at Sheffield (2004) on human dental microwear during the hunter-gatherer to farming development in the prehistoric Levant, spending time at Tel Aviv University. After that I trained in dental histology at Arizona State University and the Institute of Human Origins (2005). I spent several years employed as a post-doc on AHRC and NSF funded projects conducting histological analyses of tooth enamel to investigate fossil primate life history and dental development in humans. I took my current position at Kent in 2008.

I am currently Programme Convenor for the BSc Anthropology, BSc Biological Anthropology, and BSc Medical Anthropology.

back to top

Recent publications on human deciduous tooth enamel

  • Mahoney P.  2013. Testing functional and morphological interpretations of enamel thickness along the deciduous tooth row in human children.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 151: 518–525.
  • Mahoney P.  2012.  Incremental enamel development in modern human deciduous anterior teeth. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147: 637-51.
  • Mahoney P.  2011.  Human deciduous mandibular molar incremental enamel development.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144: 204-14.

Full list of publications

back to top

I have interests in dental anthropology, human growth and development, and bioarchaeology.  My funded projects are on human 'milk teeth'.  I study the mechanism that generates the enamel layer in children's teeth.  I also contribute to ancient human dietary reconstructions.

  1. Childhood enamel development
    This project reconstructs the development of ‘milk teeth’ from enamel histology.  This will provide new dental growth charts.  These can be used estimate juvenile age-at-death, or to identify the timing of surface enamel defects.   This project also provides a comparative basis for research into the evolution of this enamel type in hominoids.

    Funding: The Royal Society (research equipment)

  2. Childhood weaning and health
    I am working with the University of Indianapolis (Dr. Chris Schmidt) to determine if weaning impacted upon the health of medieval children from different social backgrounds.  We are combining 3D microscopic dental texture images from the surface of children’s milk teeth with microscopic evidence of health from enamel histology to gain a new understanding about Medieval life.

    Funding: British Academy / Leverhulme small research grant

  3. Ancient human diet
    I contribute to ancient human dietary reconstructions for Anglo Saxon England (Kent), and Bronze Age Britain (UCL).
back to top

Teaching Interests: Human Osteology; Palaeopathology; Forensic Anthropology.

I am convenor of

  • SE566: Human Osteology (convenor)
  • SE569: Palaeopathology (convenor)
  • SE567: Methodology in Anthropological Science (convenor)

I teach classes / supervise on

  • SE533: Project in Anthropological Science
  • PS502: Forensic Archaeology
  • SE302: Foundations of Biological Anthropology
back to top

Graduate Supervision (primary supervisor)


  • PhD. Martin Wood. 'Does Milk Drinking Have an Effect on Enamel Growth in Humans?'
  • MSc by research. Rosie Pitfield. 'Ontogenetic and functional perspectives on modern human bone growth'


  • PhD. 2014. Justyna J. Miszkiewicz. 'Ancient Human Bone Histology and Behaviour'
  • MSc by research. 2011. Elizabeth Rowing. 'Stable isotope signatures of diet in Iron Age and Anglo Saxon Kent'
  • MSc by research. 2011. Katheraine Scane. 'Diet inferred from carbon and nitrogen istope ratios in Neotlihic and Bronze Age Kent' 
  • MSc by research. 2011. Claire Barrett. 'Masticatory mechanics and the production of dental microwear in Gorilla, Pan and Papio'

Graduate Supervision (co-supervisor)


  • MSc by research. 2009. Helen Bluck. 'The forgotten bones of Medieval Woodchurch: an osteological and palaeopathological assessment'
back to top
  • Manager of the Human Osteology Lab, which is equipped for dental casting, sectioning hard tissue, thin section preparation, high resolution microscopy, image analysis, and collagen isolation for isotopic analysis.
  • Curator of the Biological Anthropology human skeletal collection.
  • Director of the University commercial osteology unit (KORA).
  • Trustee and Board Member for the Powell Cotton Museum.
back to top

School of Anthropology and Conservation - © University of Kent

School of Anthropology and Conservation, Marlowe Building, The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NR, T: +44 (0)1227 827056

Last Updated: 10/04/2015