School of Anthropology & Conservation

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Dr Patrick Mahoney

Senior Lecturer in Biological Anthropology

Developmental biology of hominoid dentition; bioarchaeology, especially prehistoric human diet; palaeopathology.


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School Roles and Responsibilities

Programme Convenor for BSc Biological Anthropology; Director of Skeletal Biology Research Centre (SBRC)

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 BSc Biological Anthropology.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

P. Mahoney, Miszkiewicz, J., Pitfield, R., Deter, C., and Guatelli-Steinberg, D., "Enamel biorhythms of humans and great apes: the Havers-Halberg Oscillation hypothesis reconsidered", Journal of Anatomy, vol. 230. Wiley, pp. 272-281, 2017 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, Miszkiewicz, J., Chapple, S., Le Luyer, M., Schlecht, S., Stewart, T., Griffiths, R., Deter, C., and Guatelli-Steinberg, D., "The Biorhythm of Human Skeletal Growth", Journal of Anatomy. Wiley, 2017.
R. Pitfield, Miszkiewicz, J., and Mahoney, P., "Cortical histomorphometry of the human humerus during ontogeny", Calcified Tissue International, vol. 101. Springer, pp. 148-158, 2017 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, Miszkiewicz, J., Pitfield, R., Schlecht, S., Deter, C., and Guatelli-Steinberg, D., "Biorhythms, deciduous enamel thickness, and primary bone growth in modern human children: a test of the Havers-Halberg Oscillation hypothesis", Journal of Anatomy, vol. 228. Wiley, pp. 919-928, 2016 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, Schmidt, C., Deter, C., Remy, A., Slavin, P., Johns, S., Miszkiewicz, J., and Nystrom, P., "Deciduous enamel 3D microwear texture analysis as an indicator of childhood diet in medieval Canterbury, England", Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 66. Elsevier, pp. 128-136, 2016 [Online]. Available:
M. Parker Pearson, Chamberlain, A., Jay, M., Richards, M., Sheridan, A., Curtis, N., Evans, J., Gibson, A., Mahoney, P., Marshall, P., Montgomery, J., and Needham, S., "Beaker people in Britain: migration, mobility and diet", Antiquity, vol. 90. Cambridge University Press, pp. 620 -637, 2016 [Online]. Available:
J. Miszkiewicz and Mahoney, P., "Ancient Human Bone Microstructure in Medieval England: Comparisons between Two Socio-Economic Groups", The Anatomical Record, vol. 299. Wiley, pp. 42-59, 2015 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Dental fast track: Prenatal enamel growth, incisor eruption, and weaning in human infants", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 156. Wiley, pp. 407-421, 2014 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Testing functional and morphological interpretations of enamel thickness along the deciduous tooth row in human children.", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 151. Wiley, pp. 518-525, 2013 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Incremental Enamel Development in Modern Human Deciduous Anterior Teeth", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 147. pp. 637-351, 2012 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Human deciduous mandibular molar incremental enamel development. ", American Journal of Physical Anthropology , vol. 144. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 204-214, 2011 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Two-dimensional patterns of human enamel thickness", Archives of Oral Biology, vol. 55. pp. 115-126, 2010 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Intraspecific variation in M1 enamel development in modern humans: implications for human evolution", Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 55. Academic Press Elsevier Science, pp. 131-147, 2008 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, Smith, T., Schwartz, G., Dean, C., and Kelley, J., "Molar crown formation in the Late Miocene Asian hominoids, Sivapithecus parvada and Sivapithecus indicus", Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 53. Academic Press Elsevier Science, pp. 61-68, 2007 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Human Dental Microwear From Ohalo II (22,500–23,500 cal BP), Southern Levant", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 132. pp. 481-500, 2007 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Brief Communication: Intertooth and Intrafacet Dental Microwear Variation in an Archaeological Sample of Modern Humans From the Jordan Valley", American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 129. Wiley online, pp. 39-44, 2006 [Online]. Available:
P. Mahoney, "Microwear and morphology: Functional relationships between human dental microwear and the mandible", Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 50. Academic Press Elsevier Science, pp. 452-459, 2006 [Online]. Available:
Book section
J. Miszkiewicz and Mahoney, P., "Human bone and dental histology in an archaeological context", in Human Remains: Another Dimension., D. Errickson and Thompson, T., Eds. UK: Elsevier, 2017, pp. 29-43.
C. Deter, Mahoney, P., Johns, S., and Thomas, S., "Chapter 6. Aspects of human osteology", in The Beaker People: isotopes, mobility and diet in prehistoric Britain, M. Parker-Pearson, Richards, M., and Chamberlain, A., Eds. Oxford: Oxbow, 2017.
P. Mahoney and Miszkiewicz, J., "Formation Times in Thermally Altered Enamel", in The Analysis of Burned Human Remains (Second Edition), Oxford: Academic Press, Elsevier, 2015, pp. 355-363 [Online]. Available:
Showing 20 of 28 total publications in KAR. [See all in KAR]


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I have interests in hominoid dental development, human growth and development, and bioarchaeology. My current 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 and 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).
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Teaching Interests: Human Osteology; Palaeopathology; Forensic Anthropology.

I am convenor of

  • 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
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Graduate Supervision (primary supervisor)


  • PhD. Rosie Pitfield. 'Microscopic markers of biorhythms in human juvenile hard tissue'
  • MSc by Research. Simon Chapple. 'Enamel growth and biorhythms'
  • MSc by Research. Alice Moden. 'Weaning and tooth enamel growth in modern humans: a combined histological and Scanning Electron Microscope approach'
  • MSc by Research. Charlotte Sullivan. 'Enamel Growth in Preterm Human Children'


  • 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)


  • PhD. Christopher Aris. 'Enamel growth variation in modern history and its impact on ageing juvenile skeletal remains'
  • PhD. Ana Curto. 'The impact of diet and health on bone stable isotope ratios: A comparative study'
  • MSc by Research. Hannah Seal. 'A histological investigation into Retzius periodicity and biorhythms between males and females in a modern human population'


  • MSc by Research. 2009. Helen Bluck. 'The forgotten bones of Medieval Woodchurch: an osteological and palaeopathological assessment'
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  • 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).
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Last Updated: 11/07/2017