Darlene Weston

My research interests are varied, ranging from palaeodemography and palaeopathology (particularly infectious disease and stress indicators) to funerary archaeology and archaeothanatology.

Research Projects Completed
September, 2013August, 2019

NEXUS 1492: New World encounters in a
globalising world – investigating the impact of colonial encounters in the Caribbean.

April, 2015April, 2017

Ancient identities: body modification among the Stz’umius ancestors from the Salish sea


As a biological anthropologist, human osteoarchaeologist and palaeopathologist, I study human remains from archaeological contexts, focusing on bio-cultural interpretations of health and disease. My interest in human remains was sparked as an undergraduate student in archaeology at Simon Fraser University. I committed to this field of research as a master’s student, obtaining a MSc in Osteology, Palaeopathology, and Funerary Archaeology at the University of Bradford in the UK, studying with Charlotte Roberts and Keith Manchester. My master’s thesis involved looking at changing styles of artificial cranial modification in Southern British Columbia.

As a PhD student at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (supervised by Simon Hillson and Tony Waldron), my research took a more methodological turn. I used radiography and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the characteristics and interpretation of periosteal lesions in human remains from medical museum and archaeological contexts. During this time I was also Experimental Officer in Biological Anthropology at the Dept of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, where I taught undergraduate and master’s students, designed and equipped the labs in the Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC) and was curator of the human skeletal collections.

After being an Associated Scientist in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany and a Post-doc in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University (UK), I developed an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor programme in Human Osteoarchaeology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, where I was a lecturer in the Department of Anatomy and Embryology. I joined the UBC Anthropology Dept in 2010.

  • Valcarcel Rojas R, Laffoon J, Weston DA, Hoogland MLP, Hofman CL. in press. Slavery of indigenous people in the Caribbean islands: a historical and archaeological perspective. International Journal of Historical Archaeology.  doi.org/10.1007/s10761-019-00522-x
  • Laffoon JE, Valcarcel Rojas R, Weston DA, Hoogland MLP, Davies GR, Hofman CL. 2020. Diverse and dynamic dietary patterns in early colonial Cuba: new insights from multiple isotope analyses. Latin American Antiquity, 31 (1):103-121. doi:10.1017/laq.2019.103
  • Mickleburgh HL, Hoogland MLP, Laffoon JE, Weston DA, Valcarcel Rojas R, van Duijvenbode A, Mol AAA. 2020. Defining non-normative practices in a diverse funerary record: insights from the Caribbean. In: Betsinger TK, Scott AB, Tsaliki A (eds): The Odd, the Unusual, and the Strange: Bioarchaeological Explorations of Atypical Burials. Gainsville: University of Florida Press, pp 114-132.
  • Weston DA. 2019. Human osteology. In: Richards MP, Britton K (eds): Archaeological Sciences: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 147-169.
  • Plomp KA, Dobney K, Weston DA, Strand Vidarsdottir U, Collard M. 2019. 3D shape analyses of extant primate and fossil hominin vertebrae support the ancestral shape hypothesis for intervertebral disc herniation. BMC Evolutionary Biology 19:226. doi:10.1186/s12862-019-1550-9
  • Plomp K, Vidarsdottir US, Dobney K, Weston D, Collard M. 2019. Potential adaptations for bipedalism in the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae of Homo sapiens: A 3D comparative analysis. Journal of Human Evolution 137:102693. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.102693
  • Robertson HI, Pokotylo D, Weston DA.  2019. Testing landmark redundancy for sex-based shape analysis of the adult human os coxa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 169:689-703. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23860
  • Weston DA. 2018. Non-specific infectious disease/infection. In: Trevathan W (ed): The International Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology. New York: John Wiley and Sons. DOI: 10.1002/978118584538.ieba0344
  • Calce SE, Kurki HK, Weston DA, Gould LG. 2018. The effects of osteoarthritis on age at death estimates from the human pelvis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 167:3-19.
  • Calce SE, Kurki HE, Weston DA, Gould L. 2018. The relationship of age, activity, and body size on osteoarthritis in weight-bearing skeletal regions. International Journal of Paleopathology 22:45-53.
  • Cheung C, Jing Z, Tang J, Weston DA, Richards MP. 2017. Diets and social identity of sacrificial victims at the Royal Cemetery in Yinxu, Shang China: new evidence from stable carbon, nitrogen and sulfur isotope analysis. Journal of Anthropological Anthropology 48:28-45.
  • Calce SE, Kurki HK, Weston DA, Gould L. 2017. Principle component analysis in the evaluation of osteoarthritis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162:476-490.
  • Elliott M, Kurki H, Weston DA, Collard M. 2016. Estimating body mass from post-cranial variables: an evaluation of current methods using three-dimensional computed tomography. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 7:689-704.
  • Elliott M, Kurki H, Weston DA, Collard M. 2016. Estimating body mass from skeletal material: new predictive equations and methodological insights from analyses of a known-mass sample of humans. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 7:731-750.
  • Weston DA, Valcarcel Rojas R. 2016. Communities in contact: health and paleodemography at El Chorro de Maíta, Cuba. In: Roksandic I (ed): Cuban Archaeology in the Caribbean. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 83-105. http://doi.org/ 10.5744/florida/9781683400028.001.0001
  • Ziesemer KA, Mann AE, Sankaranarayanan K, Schroeder H, Ozga AT, Brandt BW, Zaura E, Waters-Rist A, Hoogland M, Salazar Garcia DC, Aldenderfer M, Speller C, Hendy J, Weston DA, MacDonald SJ, Thomas GH, Collins MJ, Lewis, Jr. CM, Hofman C, Warinner C. 2015. Intrinsic challenges in ancient microbiome reconstruction using 16S rRNA gene amplification. Scientific Reports 5:16498. DOI:10.1038/srep16498.
  • Plomp KA, Vidarsdottir US, Weston DA, Dobney K, Collard M. 2015. The ancestral shape hypothesis: an evolutionary explanation for the occurrence of intervertebral disc herniation in humans. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:68.
  • Valcarcel Rojas R., Perez Iglesias L, Guarch Rodriguez E, Hofman C, Knight VJ, Hoogland M, Martinon-Torres M, Weston D, Laffoon JE, Bayliss A, Newsom LA, Mickleburgh HL, van Duijvenbode A, Persons AB, Cooper J, Guarch Rodriquez J, Cruz Ramirez JA. 2014. Nuevas investigaciones arquelogicas en El Chorro de Maita: de espacio indigena a scenario de dominacion colonial. Revista Anales de la Academia de Ciencias de Cuba 4:1-9.
  • Elliott M, Kurki H, Weston DA, Collard M. 2014. Estimating hominin body mass from cranial variables: an evaluation of current methods using three-dimentional computed tomography. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 154:201-214.
  • Van der Merwe AE, Weston DA, Oostra RJ, Maat GRJ. 2013. A review of the embryological development and associated developmental abnormalities of the sternum in the light of a rare palaeopathological case of sternal clefting. Homo – Journal of Comparative Human Biology 64:129-141.
  • Weston DA. 2012. Non-specific infection in palaeopathology: interpreting periosteal reactions. In: Grauer AL (ed): Companion to Paleopathology. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 492-512. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444345940.ch27
  • Hofman CL, Hoogland MLP, Mickleburgh HL, Laffoon JE, Weston DA, Field MH. 2012. Rescuing the dead: lifeways and deathways of a pre-Columbian Caribbean community revelaed through a collaborative rescue project at the endangered site of Lavoute, St. Lucia, Lesser Antilles. Journal of Field Archaeology 37:209-225. https://doi.org/10.1179/0093469012Z.00000000020
  • Weston DA. 2011. Human skeletal material. The cremated bone. Skeletal inventory. In: Jackson R, Miller D (eds.): Wellington Quarry, Herefordshire (1986-96): Investigations of a Landscape in the Lower Lugg Valley. Oxford: Oxbow, pp. 109-111, 136-139, 171-172.
  • Valcarcel Rojas R, Weston DA, Laffoon JE, Mickleburgh HL, van Duijvenbode A. 2011. El Chorro de Maita: a diverse approach to a context of diversity. In: Hofman CL, van Duijvenbode A (eds.): Communities in Contact: Essays in the Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Ethnography of the Amerindian Circum-Caribbean. Leiden: Sidestone Press, pp. 225-251.
  • Hofman CL, Hoogland MLP, Samson AVM, Laffoon JE, Weston DA. 2011. Viviendo en el reino “Taino”: la vida en una comunidad de la edad ceramica tardia de la Republica Dominicana y la interaccion taina con las Antillas Menores. Actas del V Congreso Nacional de Antropologia y Arqueologia Marcio Veloz Maggiolo. Santo Domingo: Museo del Hombre Dominicano.
  • Hublin J-J, Weston DA, Gunz P, Richards MP, Roebroeks W, Glimmerveen J, Anthonis L. 2009. Out of the North Sea: the Zeeland Ridges Neandertal. Journal of Human Evolution 57:777-785. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2009.09.001
  • Weston DA. 2009. Palaeohistopathological analysis of pathology museum specimens: can periosteal reaction microstructure explain lesion etiology? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140:186-193. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20839
  • Weston DA. 2008. Investigating the specificity of periosteal reactions in pathology museum specimens. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137:48-59.
  • Falys CG, Shutkowski H, Weston DA. 2006. Auricular surface ageing – worse than expected? Results from a blind test using a documented skeletal collection. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 130:505-513. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20382
  • Falys CG, Schutkowski H, Weston DA. 2005. The distal humerus – a blind test of Rogers’ sexing technique using a documented skeletal collection. Journal of Forensic Sciences 50 (6):1289-1293. http://doi.org/10.1520/JFS2005171
  • Heawood R, Howard-Davic C, Boylston A, Weston D. 2002. Excavations at Warrington Friary, 2000. Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society 77:131-185.
  • Weston DA. 1999. Osteoarchaeology: the study of bones. Report of two skeletons from tomb 132 at Armenoi, Rethymnon. In: Tzedakis Y, Martlew H (eds.): Flavours of their times, food and drink in Minoan and Mycenaean times. Athens: Greek Ministry of Culture, General Directorate of Antiquities, Kapon Publishers. pp. 215, 232-236.

Winter 2020

ARCL140 Bones: The Origins of Humanity Sections

The origin and evolution of the human lineage and the emergence of human biological and cultural traits with emphasis on the fossil record before the Pleistocene. Credit will be granted for only one of ARCL 140 or ANTH 225.

Winter 2020

ARCL325 Paleoanthropology Sections

Origin and development of the hominins; the hominin fossil record, and theories relating to hominin evolution.

Winter 2020

ARCL228 Forensic Anthropology Sections

The application of methods from biological anthropology and archaeology to the identification, recovery, and analysis of skeletal remains from crime scenes, mass disasters, and unexplained deaths.

Winter 2020

ARCL419 The Archaeology of Death Sections

A survey of methods, theory, and case-studies in mortuary archaeology.

ARCL 140 001 Bones: The Origins of Humanity
ARCL 228 001 Forensic Anthropology
ARCL 326 001 Primatology
ARCL 419 001 The Archaeology of Death
ARCL 325 001 Paleoanthropology

National Award for Scientific Investigation, Cuban Academy of Sciences, for archaeological work on the site of El Choro de Maita, Cuba (award shared with RV Rojas [PI], LP Iglesias, EG Rodriguez, C Hofmann, VJ Knight, M Hoogland, M Martinon-Torres, JE Laffoon, A Bayliss, LA Newsom, HL Mickleburgh, A van Duijvenbode, AB Persons, J Cooper, JG Rodruguez, JAC Ramirez).