Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Dr Julia Beaumont

PositionLecturer in Biological Anthropology
LocationK24, Richmond building
DepartmentSchool of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 23 6553

Research Interests (key words only)

Teeth, dental development, isotopes, palaeodiet, forensic dentistry, collagen, neonatal and maternal health

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Julia is involved in the following team-taught UG and M level courses: Archaeometry, (ARC6016-B); Topics in Archaeometry (ARC7013-A); Palaeopathology (ARC7029-C); Instrumental Analysis (ARC7030-A, ARC5009-B)
  • Julia is module co-ordinator for Musculoskeletal Anatomy (ARC7007-B), Virtual Anatomy for Forensic Scientists (ARC5017-B) and Independent Study for Forensic and Archaeology and Anthropology (ARC4012-B)
  • From September 2016, she is Programme Leader for Forensic Medical Sciences
  • Julia contributes lectures and seminars which focus on the analysis and interpretation of stable isotopes from skeletal tissues
  • She also contributes lectures and practicals on palaeopathology in particular those that relate to dental development and disease, child development and metabolic and nutritional disorders

Study History

  • Julia qualified as a dentist with BDS from the University of Manchester in 1982. She studied part-time to obtain the MSc in Human osteology and palaeopathology from the University of Bradford in 2007
  • Her PhD, entitled "An isotopic and historical study of diet and migration during the Great Irish Potato Famine (1845-1852)" was awarded by the University of Bradford in 2013
  • Julia is also has Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority after completing her PGCE

Professional History

Julia practised as a dentist and orthodontist in East Lancashire for 30 years until 2012.

She was a Clinical Audit leader for the BDA and held posts as Dental Adviser to three Primary Care Trusts, and also to Oasis Dentalcare.

She was the part-time research assistant on "Timelines in Teeth", a NERC grant (P.I. Dr Janet Montgomery Durham) 2009-2012.

Professional Activities

Julia is a committee member of the SSHB (Society for the Study of Human Biology).


  • BABAO (British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology)
  • BAFO (British Association for Forensic Odontology)
  • SSCIP (Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past)

Research Areas

Her PhD produced isotopic data from 19th century London, and from Famine-period Kilkenny, allowing the identification of migrants to London during this period. She has been developing methods to improve the temporal resolution for the study of diet and physiology in the past by measuring the carbon and nitrogen isotopes in collagen from bone and tooth dentine, hair keratin.

As a result, she has been examining evidence for breastfeeding and weaning in past populations, and the health and physiology of mothers and infants. She has been working with colleagues at Durham (Dr Janet Montgomery and Dr Geoff Nowell) and Aberdeen (Kevin Mackenzie) Universities to establish the pathways of mineralization in human enamel using micro-CT and micro-milling.

Research Collaborations

Breastfeeding and weaning

This topic has evolved from her PhD and collaborations with Don Walker at MoLA and now includes studies of post-Medieval, Anglo-Saxon (with Dr Jo Buckberry in Bradford and Dr Elizabeth Craig-Atkins from the University of Sheffield) and modern children in collaboration with Dr Peter Day (University of Leeds) and Dr Fadil Elamin (Sudan Dental Institute).

Nutritional Stress

Following publication of papers with Dr Jonny Geber (Otago University) using data from individuals who died during the Great Irish Famine (1845-1852) Julia has identified potential markers for nutritional stress within the tissues formed during the stress. She is collaborating with Dr Barra O’Donnabain and Dr Geber on the project “Trevelyan’s Corn” working with further Irish sites from that period and later. She is also working with Dr Francisca Alves-Cardoso (Lisbon) on material from a Hospital site, and with Dr Rebecca Redfern (MOL) and Dr Sharon DeWitte who are researching mortality risk. She has an on-going collaboration with Dr Colin Smith (LaTrobe University, Melbourne) using the stable isotope ratio measurement of single amino acids.

The Tooth-Fairy Project

Using modern extracted and exfoliated milk teeth, Julia is investigating the dietary markers which are laid down in teeth before and just after birth. This will allow her to interpret these values in terms of maternal stress during pregnancy and in an infant in the first 1000 days of life. Julia is grateful to the Rank Nutrition Prize for funding for this project, to Ethical Tissue (Bradford), The Born in Bradford project, and the support of Dr Peter Day, Dr George Ellison and Professor Mark Gilthorpe (all at University of Leeds).


  • Beaumont, J. & Montgomery, J. (2016) The Great Irish Famine: Identifying Starvation in the Tissues of Victims Using Stable Isotope Analysis of Bone and Incremental Dentine Collagen. PLoS ONE 11(8), e0160065
  • Beaumont, J. & Montgomery, J. (2015) Oral histories: a simple method of assigning chronological age to isotopic values from human dentine collagen. Annals of Human Biology
  • Armit, I., Shapland, F., Montgomery, J. & Beaumont, J. (2015) Difference in Death? A Lost Neolithic Inhumation Cemetery with Britain’s Earliest Case of Rickets, at Balevullin, Western Scotland. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
  • Beaumont J, Montgomery J, Buckberry J, and Jay M. 2015. Infant mortality and isotopic complexity: New approaches to stress, maternal health, and weaning. American Journal of Physical Anthropology: early view
  • Beaumont J, Gledhill A, and Montgomery J. 2014. Isotope analysis of incremental human dentine: towards higher temporal resolution. Bulletin of the International Association for Palaeodontology 8(2)
  • Beaumont, J., Gledhill, A., Lee-Thorp, J. and Montgomery, J. 2013 Childhood diet: A closer examination of the evidence from dental tissues using stable isotope analysis of segmental human dentine. Archaeometry 55(2): 277-295
  • Beaumont, J., Geber, J., Powers, N., Lee-Thorp, J. and Montgomery, J. 2013 Victims and Survivors: identifying survivors of the Great Famine in 19th century London using carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(1): 87-98
  • Beaumont J, and Montgomery J. 2013. Using stable isotope analysis to identify Irish migrants in the Catholic Mission of St Mary and St Michael, Whitechapel. Miles, A and Bowsher, D 'He being dead yet speaketh' Excavations at three post-medieval burial grounds in Tower Hamlets, East London, 2004–08, MOLA Monograph. London: MOLA
  • Montgomery, J, Beaumont, J, Jay, M, Keefe, K, Gledhill, A, Cook, GT, Dockrill, SJ & Melton, ND (2013) Strategic and sporadic marine consumption at the onset of the Neolithic: increasing temporal resolution in the isotope evidence. Antiquity 87(338):1060-1072
  • Andrew S Wilson, Natasha Powers, Janet Montgomery, Jo Buckberry, Julia Beaumont, David Bowsher, Matt Town, Robert C Janaway: ( in press) 'Men that are gone ... come like shadows, so depart': research practice and sampling strategies for enhancing our understanding of post-medieval human remains In: Dalglish, C. (Ed.), Archaeology, the Public and the Recent Past. Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, UK
  • Powers, N, Wilson, A, Montgomery, J, Bowsher, D, Brown, T, Beaumont, J & Janaway, R (in press) "No certain roof but the coffin lid": exploring the commercial and academic need for a high level research framework to safeguard the future of the post-medieval burial resource. In: Dalglish, C. (Ed.), Archaeology, the Public and the Recent Past. Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, UK
  • Montgomery, J, Beaumont, J, Mackenzie, K, Gledhill, A, Shore, R, Brookes, S, Salmon, P & Lynnerup, N (2012) Timelines in Teeth: using micro-CT scans of partially-mineralized human teeth to develop a new isotope sampling strategy. Abstracts of AAPA poster and podium presentations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147(S54): 216
  • Millard, A., J. Montgomery, M. Trickett, J. Beaumont, J. Evans and S. Chenery (in press). Childhood lead exposure in the British Isles during the Industrial Revolution. In M. Zuckerman (ed.) Are Modern Environments Bad for Human Health? Revisiting the Second Epidemiological Transition. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC
  • Beaumont J. (2009). Irish Names in a London Cemetery: is it Possible to Identify Irish Immigration in 19th Century Lukin Street? In: Sykes NJ, and Newton C, editors. Food and Drink in Archaeology 2: University of Nottingham Postgraduate Conference 2008 Totnes, Devon: Prospect Books. p 21-28
  • Montgomery J, Beaumont J, and Mackenzie K. Timelines in teeth: using micro-CT scanning to investigate mineralization in developing human enamel; (2011); Leuven, Belgium SkyScan. p 219-221
  • Beaumont J. (2007). Timelines in teeth: an evaluation of scientific methods used to assess the pattern of human enamel mineralization MSc dissertation Bradford: University of Bradford

In the News/Media

Share this

Upcoming events

View all events »