School of Anthropology & Conservation

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Dr Chris Deter

Lecturer in Biological Anthropology

Ancient Human Dietary Reconstruction, Human Osteology, Dental Anthropology, Stable Isotope Analysis, Palaeopathology


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School Roles and Responsibilities

Senior Tutor; Programme Convenor for MSc in Forensic Osteology and Field Recovery Methods

Academic Background

I received my PhD from UCL, in Biological Anthropology (2005).  I also hold an MSc from the University of Sheffield in Osteology, Palaeopatholgy, and Funerary Archaeology (1999) and a BS in Archaeology from Kansas State University (1996).  I have participated in several archaeological fieldwork projects throughout my academic career in the United States, Namibia, Israel, Nicaragua, Belize and Greece.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Mahoney, P. et al. (2018). The Biorhythm of Human Skeletal Growth. Journal of Anatomy [Online] 232:26-38. Available at:
Mahoney, P. et al. (2017). Enamel biorhythms of humans and great apes: the Havers-Halberg Oscillation hypothesis reconsidered. Journal of Anatomy [Online] 230:272-281. Available at:
Fahy, G. et al. (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:
Mahoney, P. et al. (2016). Biorhythms, deciduous enamel thickness, and primary bone growth in modern human children: a test of the Havers-Halberg Oscillation hypothesis. Journal of Anatomy [Online] 228:919-928. Available at:
Mahoney, P. et al. (2016). Deciduous enamel 3D microwear texture analysis as an indicator of childhood diet in medieval Canterbury, England. Journal of Archaeological Science [Online] 66:128-136. Available at:
Conference or workshop item
Mahoney, P. et al. (2017). Biorhythm tracks enamel thickness in humans and great apes. in: The 86th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. WILEY-LISS, DIV JOHN WILEY & SONS INC. Available at:
Mahoney, P. et al. (2016). Biorhythms, deciduous enamel thickness, and primary bone growth in modern human children: a test of the Havers-Halberg Oscillation hypothesis. in: The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016). Wiley. Available at:
Deter, C. et al. (2017). Chapter 6. Aspects of human osteology. in: Parker-Pearson, M., Richards, M. and Chamberlain, A. eds. The Beaker People: isotopes, mobility and diet in prehistoric Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.
Showing 8 of 11 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]


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I am convener on:

I teach on:

  • SE533: Project in Anthropological Science
  • SE302: Foundations of Biological Anthropology
  • SE308: Skills for Anthropology and Conservation
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My research focuses on dietary reconstruction of ancient human populations. Currently I am working on reconstructing diet during the Anglo-Saxon and Medieval periods in Kent using chemical signatures retained in bones, known as stable isotopes. I use stable isotopes combined with dental wear and pathology to investigate population social hierarchy, sexual differences within the community and weaning dietary changes in medieval children.

I am also interested in funerary practices in ancient populations. I explore differences between social structure, biological sex, age at death, burial placement and location within the cemetery.

Some of my previous research investigated the change in pale diets of North American and Near Eastern hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists, looking at how different environments affected the rate at which teeth wear.  I also looked at how tooth wear can give insight on the eruption sequence and timing of dentition.

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I am interested in supervising PhD students in the fields of human Osteology and dietary reconstruction.

Current students

  • PhD. Christopher Aris: Enamel growth variation in modern history and its impact on ageing juvenile skeletal remains
  • PhD. Jessica Dolding-Smith: Researching human life history and the link to an underlying biological rhythm (secondary supervisor)
  • PhD. Rosie Pitfield: Microscopic markers of biorhythms in human juvenile hard tissue (secondary supervisor)
  • PhD. Jessica Small: The Forensic Anthropology of Burnt Human Juvenile Teeth: a histological and scanning electron microscope approach (secondary supervisor)
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KORAI am the manager of KORA, Kent Osteological Research and Analysis unit, which is based in the School of Anthropology and Conservation.  This unit offer commercial osteological services to a range of public sectors, and works closely with the regional archaeological units, especially Canterbury Archaeological Trust, The Trust for Thanet Archaeology, and SWALE.

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Last Updated: 25/01/2018