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Meet the team

Find out more about our experts at the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology.

Jelena Bekvalac

Curator of Human Osteology

email: [email protected]
tel: +44 (0)20 7814 5639

Jelena (BA, MSc, FSA) has a Master's degree in Osteology, Palaeopathology and Funerary Archaeology from Sheffield and Bradford University.

After university, Jelena worked as a human osteologist on excavations in Jordan on a British Museum excavation and skeletal material from the Czech Republic for the Institute of Archaeology, City Museum and National Museum in Prague.

She also worked on the site of the Spitalfields Market excavation from 2000 as an on site human remains finds processer on the skeletal material.

Since 2003 Jelena has been based at the Museum of London and was an original member of the research osteologist team with the establishment of the Wellcome funded Centre for Human Bioarchaeology.

As part of the Wellcome team she analysed and recorded on to the Wellcome Osteological Research Database (WORD) skeletal material from different sites and time periods that make up the unique stratified human remains collection curated at the Museum.

In 2007 Jelena became a Curator of Human Osteology and in the summer of 2008, was deeply involved in the Skeletons: London's buried bones exhibition at the Wellcome Trust.

She has a particular interest in post-Medieval bioarchaeology and palaeopathology, with specific knowledge and experience of the large curated London assemblages. Recent analysis and research has focused on the skeletal remains with biographical information retained at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street.

From the recent analysis and recording of the individuals this has led to collaborative projects with Quinnipiac University, USA with a digital x-ray project and hair sampling in collaboration with La Trobe University, Australia.

Jelena is a representative on a number of committees, frequently speaks at archaeological and historical societies and was in 2011 elected to be a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Her specialist interests include palaeopathology, osteoarthritis, Medieval and post-Medieval bioarchaeology.

Jelena is currently working on the Wellcome Trust’s touring exhibition of ‘Skeletons: our buried bones’.

Areas of expertise

CRANID, Medieval and post-Medieval, health in London, bioarchaeology.

Current projects

  • Curator of the Skeletons: Our Buried Bones exhibition in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection, now on tour around the UK.
  • Work on the impact of industrialisation on London health, in collaboration with City of London Archaeological Trust.
  • Interpretation and analysis of the St Bride's named sample, London.
  • Bioarchaeology of the St Bride's sample: collaborative project with Tania Kausmally and Adrian Miles, funded by the Society of Antiquaries.
  • Inspire Appeal Wren Centre Working Group.


  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London
  • British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology
  • Paleopathology Association
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists

Professional service

  • Museum Representative of APABE
  • Chair of the Human Remains Subject Specialist Network
  • Reviewer for archaeological, osteological and bioarchaeological journals and funding bodies


See a full list of Jelena's publications.