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Forensic archaeologist Hayley Mickleburgh wins the first National Postdoc Prize

Forensic archaeologist Hayley Mickleburgh has won the first Dutch National Postdoc Prize. The prize is awarded by De Jonge Akademie and the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences. Mickleburgh, who studies how corpses decompose and skeletons fall apart, receives 10,000 euros to freely spend on research.

Mickleburgh investigates how the position in which someone is buried can influence the decompostion on a body farm in Texas. She uses methods from archaeology, forensic studies, biology and geochemistry. Mickleburgh discovered, among other things, that the shoulder blade sometimes loosens much earlier in decomposition than expected. This is useful information for criminal investigators and for archaeologists who examine burial rituals.

The jury praises the fact that Mickleburgh not only shares her knowledge with scientists, but also with a wide audience. Mickleburgh, for example, together with Maastricht University, is making a 3D animation of a decomposing body. Students, researchers, investigators and the general public can use this animation in the future..

National Postdoc Prize

The National Postdoc Prize was established in 2017 by De Jonge Akademie and the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences (KHMW). The prize is intended for postgraduate researchers and university lecturers who carry out excellent scientific research with (potentially) high social impact. The researchers are nominated by directors of Dutch research institutes and professors

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