School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Myra Giesen

Visiting Fellow (School of History, Classics and Archaeology) & Research Associate (School of Engineering)


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, where I became a lecturer in the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS) within the School of Arts and Cultures. I continued in this role until August 2015. The treatment of human remains continues of interest to me. I also taught modules for the School of History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA). 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.

In September 2015, I took up a maternity cover post in the Learning and Teaching Development Service, where I was part of the Standards and Student Opinion Team. In August 2016, I became a Visiting Fellow in HCA and in September 2017, I started a temporary appointment as Research Assistant on the research project: Expanding the Reach of Multidisciplinary Environment and Health Research in SE Asia. Since May 2018, I am employed as a Research Associated in the School of Engineering.


Publication and Research Summary

Previous Positions

  • 2017        Research Impact Development Officer
  • 2015-16   Development Officer, Learning and Teaching Development Service, Newcastle University
  • 2006-16   Lecturer, ICCHS and/or HCA, Newcastle University
  • 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

Recent Impact

What Neolithic rock art can tell us about the way our ancestors lived 6,000 years ago


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

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


Undergraduate Teaching

Module Leader:

  • ARA2003  Human Osteology (2013/14 to 2015/16)
  • ARA3027  Mortuary Archaeology (2006/07; 2008/09)


Postgraduate Teaching

Module Leader:

  • ICS8001   Issues and Ideas in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies (2008/09 and 2009/10)
  • ICS8003   Communication and Interpretation Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies (2010/11 to 2014/15)
  • ICS8012   History (2008/09 and 2009/10)
  • ICS8024   Heritage Management: Frameworks and Interpretation (2010/11 to 2012/13)
  • ICS8025   Heritage Management: Planning and Visitor Engagement (2010/11 to 2012/13)
  • ICS8035   Heritage: Media and Interpretation (2010/11 to 2014/15)
  • ICS8036   Heritage: Education and Visitor Engagement (2010/11 to 2014/15)
  • SHS8025 The Archaeology of Health and Disease (2008/09)


  • miscellaneous sessions on ICCHS PGT campus-base and e-Learning programmes (2006-2015)