Associate Professor Nancy Tayles
Office: 331 Lindo Ferguson Building
Brief description of research
My primary research focus is on the effects of changes in environment, subsistence, technology and social structure on the biology of people living in mainland Southeast Asia in late prehistory. This has been based on collections of human skeletal remains from archaeological sites, principally in Thailand but also Laos and Burma.
I have been involved in a series of multidisciplinary, international archaeological projects in Thailand for the past two decades, in collaboration with Professor Charles Higham of the Department of Anthropology, University of Otago, and Drs Rachanie Thosarat and Amphan Kijngam of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand. These projects have provided the collections of human skeletal remains that have formed the basis of most of my research. I am interested in the quality of life of these peoples as indicated by individual and population health, how it has changed over time, and how it has been affected by the variables listed above, including particularly the intensification of rice agriculture.
The most recent of the projects, at the site of Ban Non Wat in the upper valley of the Mun River in northeast Thailand, is currently in the post-excavation stage of data collection and analysis of the over 600 skeletons recovered. This involves colleagues: Dr Sian Halcrow from this research group, Dr Kate Domett from James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, Professor Alex Bentley from the University of Bristol, UK; and current PhD students Angela Clark and Stephanie Shkrum from this group and Charlotte King from the University of Durham, UK.
I have also worked in Laos, Burma, and the Pacific Islands and am interested in the issues surrounding skeletal repatriation.