Dr Sophie Beckett
Lecturer in Archaeology
Dr Sophie Beckett is a lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter.
Research interests span Human Osteoarchaeology, Forensic Anthropology and Applied Archaeological Science with particular focus on biological minerals (such as dental calculus, urinary stones and burnt bone), disarticulated human skeletal remains, osteometrics and, the application of computed tomography (CT) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis within Archaeology.
Sophie is an Honorary Fellow of Melbourne Dental School (University of Melbourne) and a Chartered Chemist (Royal Society of Chemistry). She has experience of management of large multi-user laboratories, commercial analysis in XRD and CT and, working in the UK and abroad within mass fatality incident response.
Sophie works with a range of heritage organisations on research projects and public engagement. Recent work includes collaboration on several aDNA research studies.
Gretzinger J, Sayer D & Schiffels S, et al (including Beckett S) (2022) The Anglo-Saxon migration and the formation of the Early English gene pool, Nature, 610 (7930) 112-119
Kocher A, et al (including Beckett S) (2021) Ten millennia of hepatitis B virus evolution, Science, 374 (6564) 182-188
Dr Beckett welcomes enquiries regarding research collaborations as well as PhD and Masters by Research studies. Current PhD supervision includes an AHRC funded studentship ‘The Archaeology of Hidden Identity: The Case of a Female Burial from Lowbury Hill’.
A Fellow of Advance HE, teaching and module management experience covers a range of subject areas including forensic anthropology, disaster victim identification and human osteoarchaeology.
Within the wider areas of Osteoarchaeology, Forensic Anthropology and Applied Archaeological Science, research interests include:
Urinary and other ‘stones’ (‘concretions’/’calcifications’)
Bone mineral composition, structure, chemistry and its variation (including burnt bone)
Burial, Excavation and Post-Excavation Practice
Disarticulated, fragmentary and commingled human skeletal remains
Early Medieval cemetery site at Sedgeford, Norfolk (www.sharp.org.uk)
Age-at-death estimation and sex estimations
Applied Archaeological Science
Computed tomography (CT)
X-ray diffraction (XRD) (mineral) analysis
Dr Beckett welcomes enquiries regarding research collaborations as well as PhD and Masters by Research studies.
Sophie works with a range of heritage organisations including community archaeology groups, museums and archive services. Recent collaborators include:
Oxfordshire Museum Service
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Dr Beckett is open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject within their research expertise, particularly the areas of:
Biological Minerals (dental calculus or urinary stones)
Burial, excavation and post-Excavation practice focussing on the Early Medieval cemetery site at Sedgeford, Norfolk
Computed tomography (CT) approaches within areas of dental anthropology, osteometrics or cremated remains
Sophie has experience in supervision, reviewing and examining a variety of PhD projects (15+) in Forensics, Applied Science and Archaeology. Member of Review College (moderation and selection panels) for the AHRC South-West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP) since 2021.
This project is funded by an AHRC SWW DTP Collaborative Doctoral Award. Co-supervision with Prof. Amy Smith (University of Reading) and Angie Bolton (Oxfordshire Museum Service)
Wessling R, Virtual Skeletal Anthropology
Mentor for Cranfield University staff candidate
Dicken L (2019) A Detailed Analysis of Passive Blood Stains on Cotton Fabrics
Co-supervision for Computed Tomography aspects
Cooper K (2017) Physical Characterisation and Composition of Archaeological Dental Calculus
Greenwood C (2014) Physicochemical Modifications to Bone Mineral
External impact and engagement
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Volunteering with a Disarticulated Community: Towards Re-association of Anglo-Saxon Bone (2019 – 2022)
SHARPening Our Tools to Open Digital Trenches (Virtual Learning Environment) (2021 – 2023)
Widening Engagement: Combining Tradition with a Digital Dawn Post-Covid (2021 – 2022)
Gloucestershire Based Funding
Gloucestershire County Council: Growing Our Communities Fund (2019 – 2022)
Barnwood Trust: Let’s Be Clear Fund (2021)
Contribution to discipline
- Royal Society of Chemistry, Chartered Chemist (CChem) Status
- Advance HE (formerly Higher Education Academy), Fellow
- British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO), Member
- International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD), Member
- Gloucestershire Archaeology, Trustee and Committee Member
- Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project, Committee Member
- ARC1007 - Archaeological and Forensic Science Practicals
- ARC1020 - Essential Archaeological Methods
- ARC2514 - Forensic Anthropology
- ARC3010 - Archaeological Science Dissertation
- ARC3510 - Experimental Approaches to Forensic and Archaeological Investigations
- ARCM012 - Skeletal Anatomy
- ARCM405 - Advanced Human Osteology
- ARCM600 - Bioarchaeology Dissertation
- ARCM602 - Forensic Anthropology: Principles and Practice
Sophie was awarded her undergraduate degree in Chemistry by the University of Durham, completed her MSc in Forensic Archaeological Science at University College London and gained a PhD at Cranfield University (Interspecies Variation in Bone Mineral). Fellowship of Advance HE was gained on award of a Post-Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice and Sophie is a Chartered Chemist (Royal Society of Chemistry). Sophie is also an Honorary Fellow of Melbourne Dental School (University of Melbourne). Sophie has worked for Cranfield University, first as a Research Fellow and then as a Lecturer in Forensic and Archaeological Biominerals. During her time at Cranfield University, Sophie managed large multi-user laboratories and commercial analysis in X-ray diffraction analysis and computed tomography. Sophie has also worked in the UK and abroad within mass fatality incident response and as a freelance osteologist.