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Marta Hlad



My very first step towards research was a study of pottery from a Neolithic settlement in Eastern Slovenia, with which I have completed the undergraduate studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Throughout my studies, I have participated in several archaeological excavation campaigns from different periods, that inspired my interest for human osteology.

Pursuing this interest led me to complete the MSc degree in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology at Leiden University, where my master’s thesis took a closer look at the gendered division of labor and cross-sectional bone geometry in populations from medieval and post-medieval town of Aalst in Belgium, and post-medieval village of Middenbeemster, in the Netherlands. Besides knowing more about the unburned skeletal material, I was also very interested in studying cremations. In 2018, I had the opportunity to join the CRUMBEL project (Cremations, Urns and Mobility in Belgium) team, where I started doing osteological analysis of cremated bones from Belgian archaeological collections.

As the focus of my research lies between both forensic science and archaeology, I applied for the interdisciplinary FWO fellowship entitled “The people behind the ashes: Interaction between bioarchaeological and geochemical research for the analysis of burned human remains from forensic and archaeological contexts”. I started this PhD project in November 2019, and I am combining various bioarchaeological and geochemical methods in order to improve sex and age estimation rates of burned human remains from both archaeological and contemporary/forensic contexts.