Dr Myra Giesen

  • 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

    Office Hours
    Location: room 2.60, King George VI, Wolfson Laboratory
    Day & Time: Tuesdays from 16:00-17:00


I am an anthropologist at heart intrigued with all that makes us human. 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.

I came back to academia in 2006. The treatment of human remains continues to feature in my research, and I have started teaching the Human Osteology module in History, Classics, and Archaeology. I have had a long held interest in the long-term protection and interpretation of cultural heritage, and advocate making it as accessible as possible. Recently, I have embraced a more integrated science-based approach to methods and technologies for recording and monitoring heritage assets, especially for open-air rock art and stone war memorials.

 Roles and Responsibilities

  • currently on research leave as a member of ICCHS
  • module leader within Archaeology in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology


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 and 2014/2015)
  • ARA3027 Mortuary Archaeology (2006/07; 2008/09)


Postgraduate Teaching

Module Leader:


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

Research Projects



PhD Supervision

Current research students: 
  • Louise Tolson – Working Title: What nineteenth-century objects know: archaeology, oral history and the communal knowledge of working-class women (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award) 
  • Niki Black – Working Title: 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:

MA Dissertation Supervision

  • 2013/2014: Ka Leung (Sunny) Chan, Samantha Crampton, Elizabeth Garnett, & Kristy Jones
  • 2012/2013: Georgina Ascroft, Emily Kreidler, Anil Roberts, & Grace (Sabanto) Roberts
  • 2011/2012: Stacey Home, Deanna Dawkins, Nicole Sentis, & Sarah Strain
  • 2010/2011: Emine Cakirca, Natalie Frank, & Reagan Reynolds
  • 2009/2010: Evgenia Christodoulou-Pavlidou, Cynthia Clark, Rachel Derry, Katherine Dillabough, Diana Haydock, Helen Jordison, Beth Mcdougall, & Elizabeth Protokowicz

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