David Gonçalves, PhD
I am a biological anthropologist with a main expertise in human osteology. As a post-doc researcher, I’m currently coordinating the HOT Project which has as a main objective the facilitation and implementation of research regarding the experimentally burned skeletons of the 21st Century Skeletal Identified Collection which is housed at the University of Coimbra. This project is the result of my main research interest. I am especially captivated with the etiology of heat-induced changes of the human skeleton and in how they affect our ability to retrieve relevant osteobiographic information from it as well as other details regarding the circumstances of death (e.g. funerary practices). The IRonBONE project, recently funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology is another good example of such work which is being carried out by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. Briefly put, we are trying to “unburn” bones by quantifying heat-induced changes through vibrational spectroscopy and return the bone to its pre-burned condition to allow for the application of metric methods which can be essential for the estimation of biological parameters such as age-at-death, sex or stature. A major part of my research is now focused on the improvement of analytical methods with the objective of contributing for a better reconstruction of contexts involving burned skeletal remains which are often found in both archaeological and forensic settings. Among other works, those findings have been applied at the Archaeosciences Laboratory on the investigation of past populations that chose to cremate their dead. My research interests are not limited to burned skeletal remains though. In addition, I have been especially interested on the potential of human remains to reconstruct the socio-cultural organization of the fascinating Neolithic societies. I am also a researcher at the Research Centre for Anthropology and Health (CIAS) and collaborate with the Centre for Functional Ecology (CEF).