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Sarah Schrader to head the Osteoarchaeology lab

Since August 2017, dr. Sarah Schrader is working at the Faculty of Archaeology in the department of Archaeological Sciences. Her expertise is human osteology with a specific focus on the bio-archaeological reconstruction of daily activities. Recently she took over the management of the Osteoarchaeology laboratory from dr. Menno Hoogland.


As the manager of the Osteoarchaeology lab, Sarah will focus on facilitating researchers from within the faculty as well as outside to make use of the tools the lab has to offer. She also intends to acquire new collections of human skeletal remains. This is “good for the local community, for researchers, ánd for students. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

Daily life in ancient Nubia

Sarah’s regional specialisation is southern Egypt and North Sudan. She is involved in the excavation of the site of Abu Fatima, an ancient Nubian cemetery (2,500-1,500 BC), near the Third Cataract of the Nile. A permit from the local authorities allows her to export the human remains to Leiden. Here she analyses the remains, looking for traces of daily life: wear marks consistent with hard manual labour, isotope analyses that may point at immigration, and, her latest project, cortisol (the so-called stress hormone) levels in human hair.

Sarah Schrader working in Saqqara

Future endeavors

In the near future she will start working on the collection of the Midden-Beemster skeletal remains. The remarkable thing of this collection is that much is known about the deceased form historical sources. This creates an opportunity to improve osteoarchaeological methods. This will be a project in which master’s students are tightly involved.


Originating from the US, Sarah Schrader finished her undergraduate studies at the University of California, and graduated from Purdue University. She works on excavations in North Sudan as well as in Egypt. Earlier this month, for example, she worked at the archaeological site of Saqqara in an excavation by the National Museum of Antiquities.

Menno Hoogland’s new role in Nexus 1492

The Nexus 1492 project is in its closing stage, and Menno will now play an important part in the wrap-up of this Caribbean archaeology research project. The Board is grateful for Menno’s significant contribution to the Osteoarchaeology Laboratory.

Pass on the trowel

In this new series we ask a staff member to pick a colleague of whom they would like to know more. Sarah Schrader passed on the proverbial trowel to Lewis Borck. He will be interviewed for the newsletter of May 2018.

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