Margaret Judd

  • Associate Professor

Margaret Judd is a bioarchaeologist who received her PhD from the University of Alberta (2000), following an MSc from the University of Bradford (1994) and BA from Wilfrid Laurier University (1993). She was Special Collections Curator in the Department of Ancient Egypt & Sudan at The British Museum before coming to the University of Pittsburgh in 2004. She has worked extensively in Jordan and northern Sudan, in addition to Russia, Egypt, Italy and Canada.

Her research focuses on the shaping, maintenance and destruction of the human body, particularly the bodies of marginalized people, in response to sociocultural and resource stress. Her current project, Multi-resource subsistence among ancient Jordanian pastoralists and townsfolk: health, diet and paleoethnobiology, will use bioarchaeological evidence to support a multi-resource nomadism model for historical Jordanian pastoralists.

Dr. Judd will no longer be accepting graduate students.


Forensic Anthropology: An Introduction 

Forensic anthropology integrates several areas of anthropology, notably human skeletal analysis, taphonomy and archaeology within a medicolegal context. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of human osteology and analytical methods required to develop an osteobiographical profile of the deceased (e.g., age at death, biological sex, stature, ancestry). Student will be introduced to basic methods in discovery, excavation, recording and contextual interpretation of human remains in a forensic context. Finally, we will examine activity markers, trauma patterns and common pathological conditions visible on the skeleton that aid in identification.


Bioarchaeology emphasizes theoretical issues of social archaeology and includes labs to illustrate basic recording methods needed to collect the required data to develop problem-oriented research. The human skeleton provides the most direct and unchallenged evidence for an individual’s past behavior as the skeleton is plastic in its response to stress, much the same as a society responds to social and environmental stress. While the artifacts, architecture and features recovered from an excavation leave a cultural imprint on the landscape, so too does culture and behavior leave an impression on the deceased. The individual is not just a biological shell to be cleaved from its cultural context, but rather forms a social package contingent upon culture during life and in death. We will examine social change and behavior from the perspective of the deceased within geographically diverse funerary contexts. We will evaluate factors that may influence the funerary context, such as differential burial practices and taphonomy. We will examine traditional labels to explore the topics of gender, biological vs. chronological age, and life course thresholds. 


Paleopathology is the study of disease and its process among ancient peoples using primary evidence from human skeletal remains that considers skeletal expressions, origins and social conditions of disease epidemiology. Additional lines of inquiry draw on evidence from archaeological, ethnographical, clinical, and historical sources to aid in our interpretation. In this course you will learn how to recognize abnormal bone, differentiate between disease processes, describe abnormal bone changes, evaluate recording methods, and investigate the epidemiological history of various disease processes. The impact of disease upon the individual and ancient societies will be considered throughout the course and in student seminars. The combined lecture-lab format provides a comprehensive overview of common skeletal pathological processes as well as experience with the methods used in recording the pathology of skeletal remains.

Human Skeletal Analysis

Make no bones about it--the human skeleton provides a range of information about the individual, such as their biological sex, activity level and health. The extraction of this information rests on the identification of each skeletal element. We will identify all bones of the adult skeleton, their unique features and morphological variability, and introduce basic methods used to estimate the individual’s profile (age at death, biological sex, stature). This course is essential for students considering anthropological careers in forensic anthropology, bioarchaeology and paleontology, as well as students pursuing careers in health sciences, biomechanics and biology. The integrated lecture and laboratory format gives students valuable laboratory experience in human skeletal biology and practical experience with the methods used in the identification and analysis of human skeletal remains.

Advanced Skeletal Analysis

This course is a preprofessional seminar-lab course that simulates the research process though multi-communication skills, and provides the student with an in-depth understanding of the skeletal features used to develop the osteobiographic profile (age, sex, stature, ancestry, handedness) of an individual. This analysis is essential for forensic identification and forms the basis for the reconstruction of ancient individuals and their lifeways. Each student select some aspect of skeletal analysis and present an overview of the bone biology, the history of the analytical methods, the problems and advantages of each method, modifications that others have made to address these issues, and the current state of knowledge. In the past, some students have proposed new methods of analysis. This will be complemented by a lab exercise designed by the student that will provide data for interobserver analysis of various techniques. The results of this lab will be presented as a poster conference at the end of the term. Prior osteological experience is required.



Judd, M. A. (2020). Commingled crypts: comparative health among Byzantine monastics in the Levant. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Early View. doi:

Kesterke, M. J., & Judd, M. A. (2019). Paget’s disease of bone from a Byzantine monastic crypt at Mount Nebo, Jordan International Journal of Paleopathology, 24, 293-298.

Vagheesh, N., Patterson, N., Moorjani, P., Rohland, N., Bernardos, R., Mallick, S., . . . Reich, D. (2019). The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia. Science, 365. doi:10.1126/science.aat7487.

Judd, M. A., Gregoricka, L. A., & Foran, D. (2019). The monastic mosaic at Mount Nebo, Jordan: Biogeochemical and epigraphical evidence for diverse origins. Antiquity, 93(368), 450-467.

Hanks, B. K., Ventresca Miller, A. R., Judd, M. A., Epimakhov, A. V., & Razhev, D. (2018). Bronze Age diet and economy: new stable isotope data from the Central Eurasian Steppes (2100-1700 BC). Journal of Archaeological Science, 97, 14-25.

Judd, M. A., Walker, J. L., Ventresca Miller, A. R., Razhev, D., Epimakhov, A. I., & Hanks, B. K. (2018). Life in the fast lane: Settled pastoralism in the Central Eurasian Steppe during the Middle Bronze Age. American Journal of Human Biology, 30(4), e23129. doi:doi:10.1002/ajhb.23129.

Kesterke, M. J., Judd, M. A., Mooney, M. P., Siegel, M. I., Elsalanty, M., Howie, R. N., . . . Cray, J. J. (2018). Maternal environment and craniofacial growth: geometric morphometric analysis of mandibular shape changes with in utero thyroxine overexposure in mice. Journal of Anatomy, 233, 46-54.

Judd, M. A. (2018). A truncated styloid process from the Jordanian Ottoman Period: developmental variant or fracture? International Journal of Paleopathology 20, 98-103.

Judd, M. A. (2017). Injury recidivism revisited: Clinical research and limitations. In C. Tegtmeyer & D. L. Martin (Eds.), Broken bones, broken bodies: Bioarchaeological and forensic approaches for accumulative trauma and violence (pp. 1-24). Landham, MD: Lexington Books.

Ventresca Miller, A. R., Hanks, B. K., Judd, M. A., Epimakhov, A. V., & Razhev, D. (2017). Weaning practices among pastoralists: new evidence of infant feeding patterns from Bronze Age Eurasia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 162, 409-422.

Redfern, R. C., Judd, M. A., & DeWitte, S. N. (2017). Multiple Injury and Health in Past Societies: An Analysis of Concepts and Approaches, and Insights from a Multi-Period Study. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 27(3), 418-429. doi:10.1002/oa.2565.

Gregoricka, L. A., & Judd, M. A. (2015). Isotopic evidence for diet among historic Bedouin of Khirbat al-Mudayna, Jordan. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 26, 705-715.

Judd, M. A., Seltzer, D., & Binkoski, C. (2015). Chapter 7: Community health at Tell er-Rumeith. In T. J. Barako & N. L. Lapp (Eds.), Tell er-Rumeith. The Excavations of Paul W. Lapp, 1962 and 1967 (Vol. Archaeological Reports 22, pp. 233-258). Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research.

Judd, M. A. (2014). Growing up in Gabati. In J.A. Anderson & D. A. Welsby (Eds.), The Fourth Cataract and Beyond. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference for Nubian Studies, London (pp. 1115-1124). London: Peeters.

Judd, M. A. (2012). Gabati: A Meroitic, post-Meroitic and medieval cemetery in Central Sudan Volume 2: The physical anthropology. Oxford: BAR International Series S2442.

Judd, M. A., & Redfern, R. (2012). Trauma. In A. L. Grauer (Ed.), A Companion to Paleopathology (pp. 359-379). Chichester: Blackwell Publishing.

Baker, B. J., & Judd, M. A. (2012). Development of paleopathology in the Nile Valley. In J. Buikstra, C. A. Roberts, & S. M. Schreiner (Eds.), History Of Paleopathology: Pioneers and Prospects (pp. 209-234). New York: Oxford University Press.

Judd, M. A. (2010). Pubic symphyseal face eburnation: an Egyptian sport story? International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 20, 280-290.

Judd, M. A. (2010). The 2010 excavation season at the Chapel of Robebus. Liber Annuus 60: 425-428.

Judd, M. A. (2010). Chapter 7: The multiple burial in the Building 600 at Tall Jawa. In P. M. M. Daviau (Ed.), Tall Jawa Excavations Volume IV: The Early Islamic House (pp. 112-133). Leiden: Brille.

Judd, M. A., & Irish, J. D. (2009). Dying to serve: the mass burials at Kerma. Antiquity, 83, 709-722.

Judd, M. A. (2009). The 2008 excavation season at the Chapel of Robebus. Liber Annuus 58: 524-528.

Judd, M. A. (2009). Bioarchaeology east of Jordan. In P. Bientrowski (Ed.), Studies on Iron Age Moab and neighbouring areas in honour of Michèle Daviau (pp. 245-273). Leuven: Peeters.

Judd, M. A. (2009). Cemetery excavation and bioarchaeology, 2006 (p. 359-360). In PMM Daviau, A Dolan, J Ferguson, CM Foley, L Foley, CJ Gohm, MA Judd and M Weigl. Preliminary report of excavations and survey at Khirbat al-Mudayna and its surroundings (2004, 2006 and 2007) Annual of theDepartment of Antiquities of Jordan 52: 343-374

Judd, M. A. (2008). The human skeletal analysis. In S. Salvatori & D. Usai (Eds.), A Northern Dongola Reach Neolithic Cemetery. The R12. London: Sudan Archaeological Research Society Press Publication Number 16, pp. 83-104.

Judd, M. A. (2008). The crypts at the Chapel of Robebus, Mount Nebo. Liber Annuus 57: 656-660.

Buzon, M. R., & Judd, M. A. (2008). Investigating health at Kerma: sacrificial versus nonsacrificial individuals. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 136, 93-99.

Judd, M. A. (2008). The parry problem. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35, 1658-1666.

Judd, M. A. (2006). Continuity of interpersonal violence between Nubian communities. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 131, 324-333.

Judd, M. A. (2004). Trauma in the city of Kerma: ancient versus modern injury patterns. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 14, 34-51.

Judd, M. A. (2002). One accident too many? British Museum Studies in Ancient Egypt and Sudan.

Daviau, P. M. M., Judd, M., & Beckmann, M. (2002). Artefact classification and typology. In P. M. M. Daviau (Ed.), Excavations at Tall Jawa, Jordan: Volume 2 The Iron Age Artefacts.  Leiden: Brill, pp. 19-211.

Judd, M. A. (2002). Ancient injury recidivism: an example from the Kerma Period of ancient Nubia. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 12, 89-106.

Judd, M. A. (2002). Comparison of long bone trauma recording methods. Journal of Archaeological Science, 29, 1255-1265.

Judd, M. A. (2001). The human remains. In D. W. Welsby (Ed.), Life on the Desert Edge. Seven thousand years of settlement in the Northern Dongola Reach, Sudan (Vol. S980, pp. 458-543): BAR.

Judd, M. A., & Roberts, C. A. (1999). Fracture trauma in a medieval British farming village. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 109, 229-243.

Judd, M. A., & Roberts, C. A. (1998). Fracture patterns at the medieval leper hospital in Chichester. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 105, 43-55.