Dr Myra Giesen
Lecturer and Degree Programme Director Taught Postgraduate Programmes in ICCHS

  • Email: myra.giesen@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5845
  • Address: International Centre for Cultural & Heritage Studies
    18 Windsor Terrace
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU
    United Kingdom


I obtained my BA and MA in Anthropology from Wichita State University (1984, 1986) and my PhD in Anthropology from Ohio State University (1992). My postgraduate work focused on bioarchaeology, concentrating on health, disease, and biodistance of Native American skeletal collections from the Ohio Valley. Between 1993 and 2006, I worked for the US federal government, initially as a field archaeologist, but soon became involved with compliance work related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). I became the Bureau of Reclamation’s national lead on NAGPRA and the management of its museum property, working in Reclamation’s national policy office as a senior cultural resource manager. Since returning to academia in 2006, my research interest include human remains in collections; heritage management, particularly related to stone monuments; and collections/ archaeological ethics. I recently edited a book on the curation of human remains in the UK. I am currently contributing to a Heritage and Science project to evaluate condition assessment and risk of rock art. Additionally, I am looking at nomenclature used to classify fortified structures on both sides of England-Scotland border.

 Roles and Responsibilities

  • Degree Programme Director ICCHS’ Postgraduate Taught Programmes
  • Heritage Studies: Education and Interpretation Programme Leader


Previous Positions

  • 2008-13  Academic Tutor/Lecturer, University of Sunderland
  • 1995-06  Physical Anthropologist, US Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation)
  • 2001       Guest Lecturer, Newcastle University
  • 1995       Instructor, Baker University
  • 1994-13  Adjunct Faculty, Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas
  • 1994-95  Archaeologist, Reclamation
  • 1993-94  Research Technician II, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • 1993       Certified K-12 Substitute Teacher, Tucson Unified School District
  • 1990-92  Graduate Research Assistant, Ohio State University (OSU)
  • 1992       Contractor, US Corps of Engineers
  • 1990       Research Assistant, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
  • 1990       Contractor, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
  • 1989-92  Contractor, Archaeological Data Services
  • 1989-90  Staff Osteologists, OSU Excavations at Isthmia
  • 1987-92  Teaching Associate, OSU
  • 1987-92  Contractor, Franklin County Coroner's Office in Ohio
  • 1987       Field Archaeologist, ODOT
  • 1987       Teaching Assistant, OSU
  • 1985-87  Contractor, Sedgwick County Coroner's Office in Kansas
  • 1985       Research Assistant, Wichita State University (WSU)
  • 1984-85  Teaching Assistant, WSU


Undergraduate Teaching

Module Leader:

  • ARA2003 Human Osteology (2013/14)
  • ARA3027 Mortuary Archaeology (2006/07; 2008/09)


Postgraduate Teaching

Module Leader:


  • miscellaneous sessions in modules offered in ICCHS

Research Interests

  • Cultural & Heritage Management
  • Heritage Resources Law, Policy, and Practice
  • Treatment of human remains
  • Reconciling records and extant human remains collection to improve research capacity
  • Fortified structures along the border of England and Scotland
  • Integration of science and heritage studies
  • Archaeological Collection Management

Current Work

Postgraduate PhD Supervision

Current research students: 

  • Louise Tolson – What nineteenth-century objects know: archaeology, oral history and the communal knowledge of working-class women (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award) 
  • Niki Black – Making Connections: The contribution of Community Cultural Festivals to the social sustainability of their host communities? A case study approach in Northumberland (AHRC Doctoral Award)

Past research students:

Esteem Indicators

  • Ouseburn Trust Trustee — 2012-present
  • BABAO Ethics Working Group — 2010
  • British Human Remains SSN Steering Committee — 2010
  • Department of the Interior Taskforce on Deaccessioning — 2005-2006
  • Interior Museum Property Committee — 2002-2005
  • Professional Archaeologists of Kansas, Kansas Curation Committee — 1999-2007
  • Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee Delegated Designated Federal Official for Hopi Tribe/National Park Service disputes — 2003-2005
  • Reclamation Museum Property Working Subgroup (Chair) — 2004-2006
  • Society of American Archaeology, Public Education Committee — 1998-2005