Since January 2020, I am a VINNOVA-postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University. Here I will continue to develop a theoretical and methodological framework that combines actualistic research in forensic taphonomy with an archaeothanatological approach. 

 My main research interests are:

  • forensic archaeology
  • forensic taphonomy
  • the archaeology of death and burial
  • 3D research and visualization practices
  • digital archaeology
  • mass graves
  • bioarchaeology
  • the archaeology of gender

I have developed and currently lead an innovative study on human decomposition at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University. This program explores the use of actualistic taphonomic research to improve methods, models and interpretations in the field of archaeothanatology (sometimes referred to as funerary taphonomy) and forensic archaeology. The project involves daily observations to assess soft tissue decomposition and disarticulation of the human skeleton over time. I use a different 3D digital tools for documentation, analysis and visualization of taphonomic processes, including Structure from Motion photogrammetry, laser scanning, and 3D computer graphics and 3D animation. 

In November 2017 my research on human decomposition and skeletal disarticulation was awarded the first Dutch National Postdoc Prize by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science and Arts and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.

I am a member of the Archaeothanatology Working Group, an international network of researchers who use archeothanatology in their research and who work to develop the method.

Education and previous research

From 2013-2018 I held a postdoc position in the Caribbean Research Group in the ERC-Synergy NEXUS 1492 project. In this project, I studied transformations in mortuary practices across the historical divide (AD 1000-1800) in the circum-Caribbean. 

My PhD research project (2008-2012) was funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) within their ‘Toptalent’ program for ‘young creative talent’. For my PhD dissertation, I studied patterns of human dental wear and pathology in pre-colonial circum-Caribbean skeletons, in order to investigate foodways, health and disease, and craft activities.

I hold a BA and MA (hons.) in Archaeology (2005, 2007), and a PhD in Archaeology from Leiden University (2013).

I also hold professional certifications in both clay and digital Forensic Facial Reconstruction (Dundee University; Texas State University; Philippe Froesch) as well as 3D modelling, 3D computer graphics and animation, and motion graphics animation (Maxon certified) using Cinema 4D (College of Multimedia).

Boards and professional service

Council member British Association for Human Identification (BAHID).

President of the Netherlands Association for Physical Anthropology (NVFA).

Listed as forensic archaeologist in the National Expertise databank of the Dutch Police Academy.