Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory (BARL)


BARL Associated Faculty

BARL undergraduate and graduate research assistants and lab director

Research Activities

La Florida Bioarchaeology Project

The La Florida Bioarchaeology Project is a large, interdisciplinary research program focused on the study of the health and lifestyle impacts of colonization and agricultural intensification on native populations living in the region of the American Southeast controlled by Spain during the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries.  This 40-year, collaborative project focusses on health and lifestyle in temporal and regional perspective, tracking population dynamics both before and after the arrival of Europeans and the establishment of missions and towns on the Georgia coast and northern Florida.

Selected Publications:

Clark Spencer Larsen, Dale L. Hutchinson, Christopher M. Stojanowski, Matthew A. Williamson, Mark C. Griffin, Scott W. Simpson, Christopher B. Ruff, Margaret J. Schoeninger, Lynette Norr, Mark F. Teaford, Elizabeth Monahan Driscoll, Christopher W. Schmidt, and Tiffiny A. Tung  (2007)  Health and Lifestyle in Georgia and Florida: Agricultural Origins and Intensification in Regional Perspective. In: Ancient Health: Skeletal Indicators of Agricultural and Economic Intensification, edited by Mark N. Cohen and Gillian Crane-Kramer, pp. 20-34.  University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Carey J. Garland, Laurie J. Reitsema, Clark Spencer Larsen, and David H. Thomas  (2018)  Early Life Stress at the Mission Santa Catalina de Guale: An Integrative Analysis of Enamel Defects and Dentin Incremental Isotope Variation in Malnutrition.  Bioarchaeology International 2: 75-94.


Bioarchaeology of Çatalhöyük Project

Çatalhöyük provides a window on to early farmers and adaptation of early Holocene humans in south-central Turkey dating to 7100-5950 cal BC.  Central to understanding the successes and failures of populations inhabiting this setting is the study of human remains.  Since 2002, a team of bioarchaeologists has been addressing the larger question: What were the implications of domestication and agricultural intensification, increasing sedentism, and population growth for health and lifestyle in this early farming community?  The investigation is an arm of the larger Çatalhöyük Research Project, directed by Ian Hodder.


Marin A. Pilloud, Scott D. Haddow, Christopher J. Knüsel, and Clark Spencer Larsen  (2016)  A Bioarchaeological and Forensic Re-Assessment of Vulture Defleshing and Mortuary Practices at Neolithic Çatalhöyük.  Journal of Archaeological Science, 10:735-743.

Jessica Pearson, Amy Bogaard, Michael Charles, Katheryn Twiss, Nerissa Russell, Clark Spencer Larsen, and Simon Hillson  (2015)   Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Analysis at Neolithic Çatalhöyük: Evidence for Human and Animal Diet and the Relationship to Households.  Journal of Archaeological Science 57:69-79.

Clark Spencer Larsen, Christopher J. Knüsel, Scott D. Haddow, Marin A. Pilloud, Marco Milella, Joshua W. Sadvari, Jessica Pearson, Christopher B. Ruff, Evan M. Garofalo, Emmy Bocaege, Barbara J. Betz, Irene Dori, Bonnie Glencross  (2019)  Bioarchaeology of  Neolithic Çatalhöyük Reveals Fundamental Transitions in Health, Mobility, and Lifestyle in Early Farmers.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116: 12615-12623. 

Principal Investigators:

  • Clark Spencer Larsen, Ohio State University; Christopher J. Knüsel, University of Bordeaux


  • Emmy Bocaege, University of Kent
  • Barbara J. Betz, Ohio State University
  • Irene Dori, University of Bordeaux
  • Joshua Sadvari, Ohio State Univerity
  • Marin Pilloud, University of Nevada, Reno
  • Ian Hodder, Stanford University
  • Christopher B. Ruff, John Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Bonnie Glencross, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Jessica Pearson, University of Liverpool
  • Evan M. Garofalo, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Scott D. Haddow, Koc University
  • Marco Milella, University of Zurich
  • Mehmet Somel, Middle East Technical University, Ankara
  • Fusun Ozer, Middle East Technical University, Ankara


Global History of Health Project: The European Module

This project stems from a smaller, more focused effort on the Western Hemisphere that originated in 1988, when Richard Steckel and Jerome Rose began to organize biological anthropologists, economists, and historians in a retrospective study of health centering on the quincentennial of 1492.  Building on ideas, data, and conclusions presented in Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Cohen and Armelagos, 1984), Steckel and Rose organized initial planning conferences which would pool skeletal data on the following health indicators:  stature (from long bone lengths), dental health, degenerative joint disease, indicators of anemia (cribra orbitalia and porotic hyperostosis), linear enamel hypoplasias, trauma, and skeletal infections.  Eventually, they and numerous collaborators assembled a combined database of 12,520 individuals, who had lived at 65 localities in the Western Hemisphere from approximately 5000 BC to the early twentieth century (Steckel and Rose, 2002, The Backbone of History, Cambridge University Press).  The Backbone of Europe project sought to reconstruct a picture of key temporal developments in Europe, focusing on patterns of health, diet, work, and violence over a long temporal duration.  Over 70 collaborators in a trans-Atlantic consortium agreed to code skeletal data, most of which came from collections having existing data compilations.    

Among other results, the following findings were made: (1) Health improvement between the pre-medieval and the early medieval periods, followed by a decline until the industrial period.  Only during the late nineteenth century did health and nutritional quality increase to unprecedented levels.  (2) Elevated labor effort, especially effort emerging in the early medieval period.  In this regard, as based on the record of degenerative joint disease elevated stresses placed on articular joints were revealed. (3) A strong presence of periosteal lesions, especially in the early medieval period.  This spike suggests increased prevalence of localized infections owing to deteriorating living conditions, or injury to the lower limbs, or some combination.  (4) Decline in violence as based on the record of cranial trauma and weapon wounds.  These trends suggest a shift in social interactions and perhaps improvements beginning with the early modern period and continuing during industrialization.


Richard H. Steckel, Clark Spencer Larsen, Charlotte A. Roberts, and Joerg Baten, editors (2019) The Backbone of Europe: Health, Diet, Work, and Violence over Two Millennia.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

Principal Investigators:

• Richard H. Steckel, Clark Spencer Larsen, Charlotte A. Roberts, Joerg Baten


• Zsolt Bereczki, University of Szeged
• Felix Engel, University of Freiburg
• Gisela Grupe, University of  Munich
• Rimantas Jankauskas, University of Vilnius
• Anna Kjellstrom, University of Stockholm
• Antonia Marcsik, University of Szeged
• Carina Marques,  William Patterson University
• Vitor Matos, University of Coimbra
• Nicholas J. Meinzer, University of Tuebingen
• Anastasia Papathansiou, Greek Ministry of Culture
• Charlotte Roberts, University of Durham
• Paul Sciulli, Ohio State University
• Maria Teschler-Nicola, Vienna Museum of Natural History
• Phillip L. Walker, formerly University of California, Santa Barbara
• Kimberly Williams, Temple University
• Ursula Witwer-Backofen, University of Freiburg

(see Steckel et al., 2019, for full list of individuals involved in and contributing to project data)


BARL Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources

The Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory is a large, shared laboratory space for research programs in bioarchaeology and skeletal biology. The main laboratory space includes a sink with a hazardous waste trap, fume hood, eyewash station, burn cabinet for storage of contain hazardous chemicals, and a whiteboard. The main laboratory space also includes two large central laboratory benches that can seat eight workers each. A long laboratory bench provides workstations for several microscopes and a desktop computer. Cabinets underneath these benches are used to store equipment for sample preparation and microscopy. Six glass cabinets extend above this long counter and provide space for laboratory equipment and microscopic slide storage. Three cubicles with desks each house a dual-screen desktop computer and provide workspace for graduate students and visiting researchers. Beyond the cubicles, floor-to-ceiling metal cabinets provide storage space for research materials. A smaller room is adjacent to the main laboratory space and primarily houses workspace for visiting researchers, students, and faculty personnel. The room houses an extensive dental cast research collection (Renee M. Menegaz-Bock Dental Anthropology Collection).  There are three primary office spaces for graduate students, Clark Larsen, and visiting researchers. 


Computer Facilities

            The Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory houses five Dell OptiPlex 980 computers with dual-screen monitors, a Windows 10 Enterprise operating system, and a Microsoft Office 2018 suite that are available to anyone working in the laboratory. The laboratory, office, computer lab, and personal computers all have access to the following software programs through The Ohio State University Office of the Chief Information Officer: Adobe Acrobat Professional Version XI, statistical computing software SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute Inc.), statistical computing software SPSS version 23 64-bit, and spatial analysis software ArcGIS version 10.2, ImageJ (NIH) and FIJI (NIH) and the statistical computing software R x64 3.2.2 (The R Foundation). All departmental computers are connected to a printer.

The laboratory computer connected to the Olympus BX51 computer and SPOT digital camera also includes the software SPOT Advanced 4.7 to run the digital camera and Adobe Photoshop CS2 for photomerging adjacent images into a single image. This computer is also connected to a Wacom Intuous 9” x 12” digital tablet.


Department of Anthropology Resources

            The Department of Anthropology employs one administrative assistant who assists with ordering laboratory materials, one graduate program coordinator who assists graduate students with completing graduation requirements, one systems manager who maintains and repairs computer equipment, and one fiscal officer who oversees grant fund and other expenditures. The Ohio State University Office of the Chief Information Officer provides technical support for university computer networks, university-supplied software, university computer accounts, and computer hardware in university locations. The Ohio State University Office of Environmental Health and Safety provides, collects, and disposes of containers for disposal of biohazardous waste, chemical waste, and sharps, all of which are present in the Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory. This office also provides online training modules to certify researchers to work in the Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory, currently classified as Biosafety Level 2.


Other Equipment/Materials


Preparation of bone and tooth thin sections: Anatomical dissection kit, Dremel 400 XPR (with cut-off wheels No. 409, 429, and 540), Buehler Isomet 1000 Diamond Blade Saw (with series 15LC diamond wafering blades of diameters 4 inches and 6 inches, and a measured kerf of 534 µm), dressing sticks for diamond blade saw, Cool2 Cutting Fluid for diamond blade saw (Concentrated, 1 L), chucks for holding bone to saw (screw chuck, large and small wafer chuck, target holder for petrographic slides, assorted slide holder chucks), xylenes for slide cleaning, (1 gallon), 75 x 50 x 1 mm glass slides (15 boxes of 72 slides each), 75 x 25 x 1 mm glass slides (16 boxes of 72 slides each), 1 x 3 inch petrographic slides (7 boxes of 72 slides each), mounting media for mounting bone to slide (crystal bond, super glue, duco cement, permount), a Mitutoyo digimatic micrometer for measuring section thickness, a Waterpik cordless water flosser for washing out bone marrow, ultrasonic cleaner, and distilled water (~1 gallon).  Buehler Metaserv 2000 grinding and polishing wheel, Apex Diamond Grinding Discs (15 µm, 35 µm, 45 µm, 75 µm), polishing cloths (Microcloth x 10, Trident Polishing Cloth x 10, Ultra-Pol Cloth x 10), CarbiMet SiC 8” Abrasive Paper (120 grit x 1, 250 grit x 1 , 360 grit x 2, 400 grit x 1, 600 grit x 3), MasterPrep Polishing Suspension, 0.05 µm (~2 L), MicroPolish Alumina, 0.3 µm (6 oz), Minimet 1000 polisher/grinder, CarbiMet SiC 3” Abrasive Paper (320 grit, 600 grit), Microcloth 3”, Texmet 3”, Diamond paste (1 µm x 2, 9 µm x 1, 6 µm x 1).

Imaging bone and tooth sections: Olympus BX51 microscope with attached SPOT digital camera, two Olympus CX41 microscopes, one Olympus SZ-PT stereomicroscope, and three packs of microscope lens paper (4” x 6”).

Staining solution preparation: Pyrex beakers (1000 mL, 600 mL, 250 mL, 100 mL, 50 mL), Fisher Scientific RT Basic Magnetic Stirrer 170US, Ohaus Digital Scale (0.1 g precision) with 6”x6” FisherBrand Weighing Paper, ParaFilm 4” x 250’, Ethyl Alcohol Absolute 200 Proof (100%) (~900 mL), heavy duty aluminum foil to wrap sample containers during staining, and a Buehler Vacuum Impregnation Pump system with 1/4” tubing.

General safety and cleaning equipment: Six trays for setting objects in fume hood, safety glasses, lab coats, kimwipes, nitrile gloves small, nitrile gloves.


BARL Ph.D. Graduates

Heather Edgar 2002 Associate Professor, University of New Mexico
Loren Lease 2003 Associate Professor, Youngstown State University
Kimberly Williams 2005 Associate Professor, Temple University
Daniel Temple 2007 Associate Professor, George Mason University
Tracy Betsinger 2007 Associate Professor, State University of New York, College at Oneonta
James H Gosman 2007 Adjunct Associate Professor, Ohio State University
Haagen Klaus 2008 Associate Professor, George Mason University
Deborrah Pinto 2009 Forensic Anthropologist, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences
B. Scott Aubry 2009 Lecturer, Ohio State University- Newark
Robin Feeney 2009 Lecture, School of Medicine, University College Dublin
Marin Pilloud 2009 Assistant Professor, University of Nevada
Joshua Peck 2009 Forensic Anthropologist, POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii
Jaime Ullinger 2010 Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University
Jules Angel 2010 Lecturer, Ohio State University
Joyce Chan 2011 Assistant Professor, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Amanda Agnew 2011 Associate Professor, Ohio State University College of Medicine
Heather Jarrell 2011 Lecturer, University of California, Merced
Leslie Gregoricka 2011 Associate Professor, University of South Alabama
Meghan-Tomasita Cosgriff-Hernandez 2012 POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii
Stephen Schlecht 2012 Edward H. and Yvonne Boseker Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine
Britney Kyle 2012 Associate Professor and Chair, Northern Colorado University
Laurie Reitsema 2012 Associate Professor, University of Georgia
Amy Hubbard 2012 Associate Professor, Wright State University
Corey Maggiano 2012 Assistant Professor, University of West Georgia
Megan Ingvoldstadt 2012 Forensic Anthropologist, POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii
Pedro da Gloria 2012 Assistant Professor, Federal University of Para, Brazil
Giuseppe Vercellotti 2012 Adjunct Professor, The Ohio State University
Samantha Blatt 2013 Assistant Professor, Idaho State University
Sarah Martin 2013 Instructor, Spokane Falls Community College
Lara McCormick 2013 Forensic Anthropologist, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Offut Air Force Base, Bellevue
Leslie Williams 2013 Assistant Professor, Beloit College
Timothy Gocha 2014 Investigative Forensic Supervisor & Chief Forensic Anthropologist, Clark County Coroner’s Office, Nevada
Adam Kolatorowicz 2015 Assistant Professor, Lincoln Memorial University, Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
Randee Hunter 2015 Clinical Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University College of Medicine Zachariah R. Hubbell  2016  Research Associate, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, U.S. Department of Energy
Selin E. Nugent 2017 Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Oxford University
Marissa Stewart  2017  Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning Transformation Center, University of Maryland, College Park
Colleen M. Cheverko 2018 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Merced
Kathryn E. Marklein  2018 Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
Mary Beth Cole  2019 Postdoctoral Fellow, College of Medicine, Youngstown State University