Portrait of Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz

Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz

Honorary Research Associate


Dr Justyna Miszkiewicz is a biological anthropologist who specialises in studying the skeletal tissue.  

Dr Miszkiewicz's primary research interest is to reconstruct past human adaptation (mainly in the context of behaviour/ biomechanics) from archaeological skeletal remains (bioarchaeology). Secondarily, she aims to further our understanding of skeletal growth and metabolism in humans and other vertebrates (skeletal biology). Justyna's methodological specialism lies in histology, but she also has experience in experimental biomechanics, x-ray imaging and micro-CT.

Dr Miszkiewicz received her PhD (2014) in Biological Anthropology from the University of Kent, where she also held a fixed-term (2013-2014) lectureship in the same discipline. Her postdoctoral research experience (2015-2016) was in bio-medicine/skeletal biology and bioarchaeology. Justyna was a member of the Molecular Endocrinology research group at Imperial College London assisting on a Wellcome-Trust-funded project (OBCD) on osteoporosis (using the mouse model), and investigating medullary bone growth in the Japanese quail. Dr Miszkiewicz also undertook research for the Skeletal Biology Research Centre at Kent, exploring skeletal muscle site morphology and bone growth in ancient humans. 

Dr Miszkiewicz is currently a Lecturer in Biological Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra.

Research interests

As an Honorary Research Associate at Kent, Dr Miszkiewicz collaborates on research projects primarily within the Skeletal Biology Research Centre with Dr Patrick Mahoney. Some of their work has recently focused on inferring behaviour from ancient human bone histology and investigating human skeletal biorhythms.  


Dr Miszkiewicz has worked as an assistant osteologist and later as an osteologist (2008-2013) for Kent Osteological Research and Analysis, examining adult and juvenile human skeletal remains (including cremations) using forensic and archaeological osteological techniques.  



  • Fahy, G., Deter, C., Pitfield, R., Miszkiewicz, J. and Mahoney, P. (2017). Bone deep: variation in stable isotope ratios and histomorphometric measurements of bone remodelling within adult humans. Journal of Archaeological Science [Online] 87:10-16. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.09.009.
    Stable carbon (?13C) and nitrogen (?15N) isotope studies of ancient human diet increasingly sample several skeletal elements within an individual. Such studies draw upon differences in bone turnover rates to reconstruct diet during different periods of time within an individual’s lifetime. Rib and femoral bone, with their respectively fast and slow remodeling rates, are the bones most often sampled to reconstruct shorter and longer term signals of diet prior to death. It is poorly understood if ?13C and ?15N vary between bone types within a single individual, or if this variation corresponds with bone turnover rate (BTR). Here, we determined ?13C and ?15N for ten different bones from ten adult human skeletons (n=5 males; n=5 females). Isotope values were compared to the rate that each bone remodeled, calculated from osteon population (OPD) density. Results reveal that isotope ratios varied within each skeleton (?13C: max= -1.58‰; ?1542 N: max= 3.05‰). Humeri, metacarpals, and ribs had the highest rate of bone remodelling; the occipital bone had the lowest. A regression analyses revealed that higher rates of bone remodeling are significantly and negatively correlated with lower ?15N. Our results suggest that the occipital bone, with its slow rate of bone renewal, may prove useful for isotopic studies that reconstruct diet over longer periods of time within an individual’s lifetime. Isotope studies that compare individual skeletal elements between populations should standardize their methodology to bones with either a slow or fast turnover rate.
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