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Dr Layla Renshaw

Associate Professor


My research and teaching expertise combines forensic sciences and social sciences in the study of death and burial, with a strong focus on post-conflict and human rights investigations. My research interests include the role of archaeology in post-conflict investigations, the relationship between human remains and traumatic memory, and public and media perceptions of forensics.

I trained with the United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia, working on the exhumation and identification of war victims in post-war Kosovo. I have also worked in a consultative capacity for a number of UK police constabularies, working on human identification.

Following my BA from Oxford University, I completed an MSc in Forensic Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and a PhD in Anthropology, also at UCL.

I have conducted extensive research on the impact of the recent exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War. I carried out field work in communities in rural Spain, assisting in the exhumation of mass graves and conducting ethnographic research with survivors, witnesses, forensic experts and relatives of the dead. My recent research concerns the recovery and commemoration of Australian and British World War I soldiers from Fromelles, Northern France, concentrating on the process of human identification, genetic testing, and the engagement of relatives in this process. I have published and presented extensively on the recovery of human remains from the Spanish Civil War and World War I.

I joined Kingston University as a Lecturer in 2003 and I am now Associate Professor in Forensic Science. I teach topics in forensic archaeology, anthropology, and skeletal anatomy. I also supervise a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate research in methods of forensic human identification and skeletal analysis, including skeletal indicators of age, sex, stature, and population ancestry.

Areas of specialism

  • Forensic Archaeology
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Post-Conflict Investigations
  • Human Identification
  • Skeletal Analysis
  • Memory and Commemoration
  • 20th Century Conflict

Courses taught




  • 2004 - 2006 PG Cert HE. Kingston University
  • 2003 - 2009 PhD Anthropology. UCL
  • 2000 - 2001 MSc. Forensic Archaeological Sciences. UCL
  • 1997 - 2000 BA Hons Archaeology and Anthropology. Oxford University


My research interests include:Social, political and ethical considerations in the investigation of war and human rights abuses. The archaeological and anthropological investigation of 20th century conflict, particularly the Spanish Civil War and World War I. The relationship between memory and physical evidence, in the investigation of the traumatic past.Media representation of, and public understanding, of exhumations, forensic science and genetics.Methods of human identification and skeletal analysis.I also supervise undegraduate and postgraduate research in aspects of forensic anthroology, in conjunction with the Centre of Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London, concerning methods of skeletal identification, skeletal indicators of age, sex and population ancestry, life history reconstruction, nutritional and occupational stress markers, and skeletal and dental pathology.


Number of items: 11.


Ghatora, Baljit, Renshaw, Layla, Burrell, Lisa and Doran, David (2017) Inter-professional learning across the forensic science and paramedic science degrees. Journal of Forensic Research and Analysis, 1(1),

Renshaw, Layla and Powers, Natasha (2016) The archaeology of post-medieval death and burial. Post-Medieval Archaeology, 50(1), pp. 159-177. ISSN (print) 0079-4236

Renshaw, Layla (2013) The dead and their public. Memory campaigns, issue networks and the role of the archaeologist in the excavation of mass graves. Archaeological Dialogues, 20(1), pp. 35-47. ISSN (print) 1380-2038

Renshaw, Layla (2010) The scientific and affective identification of Republican civilian victims from the Spanish Civil War. Journal of Material Culture, 15(4), pp. 449-463. ISSN (print) 1359-1895

Renshaw, Layla (2009) Uncovered: reversals of exposure and concealment in Spain's memory politics. New Literary Observer: Anthropology of Closed Societies, 100,


Renshaw, Layla (2011) Exhuming Loss: Memory, Materiality and Mass Graves of the Spanish Civil War. Left Coast Press. ISBN 9781611320428

Book Section

Renshaw, Layla (2013) The Exhumation of Civilian Victims of Conflict and Human Rights Abuses: Political, Ethical, and Theoretical Considerations. In: Tarlow, Sarah and Nilsson Stutz, Liv, (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. pp. 781-800. (Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology) ISBN 9780199569069

Renshaw, Layla (2013) The archaeology and material culture of modern military death. In: Tarlow, Sarah and Nilsson Stutz, Liv, (eds.) The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of death and burial. Oxford, U.K. : Oxford University Press. pp. 763-780. (Oxford handbooks in archaeology) ISBN 9780199569069

Renshaw, Layla (2010) Missing Bodies Near-at-Hand: The Dissonant Memory and Dormant Graves of the Spanish Civil War. In: Bille, Mikkel , Hastrup, Frida and Flohr Sorenson, Tim, (eds.) An Anthropology of Absence: Materializations of Transcendence and Loss. Springer. pp. 45-61. ISBN 9781441955289

Renshaw, Layla (2007) The Iconography of exhumation: representations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War. In: Clack, Timothy and Brittain, Marcus, (eds.) Archaeology and the Media. Walnut Creek, California, USA : Left Coast Press. pp. 237-252. ISBN 9781598742336

Conference or Workshop Item

Ghatora, Baljit, Renshaw, Layla, Doran, David and Burrell, Lisa (2016) Collaborative learning across the forensic science and paramedic science degrees. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy; 30 Jun - 01 Jul 2016, Leicester, U.K.. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Fri Mar 23 04:37:10 2018 GMT.

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