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Tracy Prowse

Tracy Prowse

Tracy Prowse

Associate Professor

Director, Undergraduate Program

Physical Anthropology

Full-time Faculty

Areas of Interest


Research and Supervisory Interests

My research explores diet, health, and mobility in past populations, using palaeopathological and isotopic analyses of human bones and teeth. My approach is interdisciplinary, combining skeletal, isotopic, and archaeological evidence embedded within the historical context of the people I study. 

My ongoing research project is a bioarchaeological investigation of a rural Roman cemetery on an Imperial estate at Vagnari, south Italy.  Learn more about the Bioarchaeological Field School at Vagnari here. I am also working on a SSHRC-sponsored project exploring Vitamin D deficiency in the Roman world with my colleague, Dr. Megan Brickley. We also co-direct the Centre for Integrated Research on Health, Diet, Disease, and Migration (Bioarch-HDDM), a state-of-the art research facility for macroscopic, microscopic, radiological, and isotopic analyses of human skeletal remains. 

My teaching and supervisory interests include; bioarchaeology, skeletal biology, palaeopathology, palaeonutrition, forensic anthropology, anthropological applications of stable isotope analysis, and Roman archaeology.


  • PhD McMaster University, 2001
  • MA University of Alberta
  • BSc University of Alberta


Current Graduate Students 

Lori D'Ortenzio (PhD - with M. Brickley)
Matthew Emery (PhD - with H. Poinar)
Becky Gilmour (PhD - with M. Brickley)
Jess Hider (PhD - with H. Poinar)
Stephanie Marciniak (PhD - with H. Poinar)
Samantha Price (PhD)
Taylor Smith (MA)
Robert Stark (PhD)
Lelia Watamaniuk (PhD)  

Courses (2016-17)


  • ANTHROP 4R03 - Advanced Skeletal Biology



  • ANTHROP 2FF3 - Human Skeletal Biology and Bioarchaeology
  • ANTHROP 711 - Advanced Topics in Physical Anthropology


Courses (2015-16)

  • ANTHROP 2FF3 - Skeletal Biology and Bioarchaeology
  • ANTHROP 3FA3 - Forensic Anthropology
  • ANTHROP 4R03 - Advanced Skeletal Biology



In press. Sperduti A, Bondioli L, Garnsey P, Craig O, and Prowse T. Bones, teeth, and history. In, Walter Scheidel (ed.): Science of Ancient History: Biology, Climate and the Future of the Past. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

In press. Marciniak S, Prowse TL, Herring DA, Klunk J, Kuch M, Duggan AT, Bondioli L, Holmes EC, and Poinar HN. Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 1st – 4th c. AD, Rome. Current Biology. 

In press. Prowse TL, Stark R, and Emery M. Stable isotope analysis and human migration in the ancient Mediterranean world. In, A. Zerbini and J. Yoo (eds.): Migration, Diaspora and Identity in the Near East from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Ashgate Publishers.

In press. Moffat CS, and Prowse T. Biocultural and bioarchaeological approaches to infant and young child feeding in the past. In, P. Beauchesne and S. Agarwal (eds.): Children and Childhood in the Past. University of Florida Press.

2016. Prowse TL. Isotopes and mobility in the ancient Roman world. In, L de Ligt and LE Tacoma (eds): Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire. Leiden: Brill Publishers, pp. 205-233.

2016 Mant M, Nagel A, and Prowse T. Investigating residential history using stable hydrogen and oxygen isotopes of human hair and drinking water. Journal of Forensic Sciences, doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13066

2015 Emery M, Prowse T, Schwarcz HP, and Brickley M. Exploring dietary variability in a War of 1812 skeletal collection from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Using Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes. Journal of Historical Archaeology 49(4):54-70.

2015 D'Ortenzio L, Brickley M, Schwarcz HP, and Prowse TL. You are not what you eat during physiological stress: Isotopic evaluation of human hair. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 157(3): 374-388.

2014 Prowse T, Nause C, and Ledger M. Growing up and growing old on an Imperial estate: preliminary palaeopathological analysis of skeletal remains from Vagnari. In, AM Small (ed): Beyond Vagnari: New Themes in the Study of Roman South Italy. Bari: Edipuglia, pp. 111-122.

2014 Brent L, and Prowse T. Grave goods, burial practices and patterns of distribution in the Vagnari cemetery. In, AM Small (ed): Beyond Vagnari: New Themes in the Study of Roman South Italy. Bari: Edipuglia, pp. 99-110.

2014 Prowse TL. Burial practices and tombs in the Roman world. In, C. Smith (ed.): Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference 401584 2014-02-28 14:30:49 UTC

2014 Carroll M and Prowse T. Exploring the vicus and the necropolis at the Roman Imperial estate at Vagnari (Comune di Gravina in Puglia, Provincia di Bari, Regione Puglia). Papers of the British School at Rome. LXXXII: 353-356.

2013 Prowse TL. Vagnari cemetery (Gravina in Puglia, Provincia di Bari, Regione Puglia). Papers of the British School at Rome. LXXXI: 384-386.

2012 Prowse TL. Excavations at Vagnari, 2011. Papers of the British School at Rome LXXX: 378-380.

2012 Prowse TL. Isola Sacra. In, R Bagnall, K Brodersen, C Champion, A Erskine and S Huebner (eds.): Encyclopedia of Ancient History. London: Wiley-Blackwell Press, pp. 3520-3521.

2011 Favia P and Prowse T. La sepoltura nella parte settentrionale del sito. In, AM Small (ed.) Vagnari: the village, the industries, the imperial property. Vagnari: il villaggio, l'artigianato, la proprieta' imperiale. Bari: Edipuglia, pp. 287-289.

2011 Prowse TL. Diet and dental health through the life course in Roman Italy. In, S. Agarwal and B. Glencross (eds.), The Handbook of Social Bioarchaeology.  Wiley-Blackwell Press, pp. 410-437.

2011 Holobinko A, Meier-Augenstein W, Kemp H, Prowse T, Ford S. 2H stable isotope of human tooth enamel: a new tool for forensic human provenancing? Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25: 910-916.

2010   Prowse TL, Barta JL, von Hunnius TE, and Small AM. Stable isotope and mtDNA evidence for geographic origins at the site of Vagnari, South Italy. Journal of Roman Archaeology, Supplement 78: 175-198.

2010   Prowse TL, Saunders SR, FitzGerald C, Bondioli L, and Macchiarelli R. Growth, morbidity, and mortality in antiquity: a case study from Imperial Rome. In, T. Moffat and T. Prowse (eds.), Human Diet and Nutrition in Biocultural Perspective. Biosocial Society Series.  Berghan Press.

2010   Moffat T and Prowse TL. (editors) Human Diet and Nutrition in Biocultural Perspective.  Biosocial Society Symposium Series. Berghan Press.

2008   Prowse TL, Saunders SR, Schwarcz HP, Garnsey P, Bondioli L, and Macchiarelli R.   Isotopic and dental evidence for weaning and young child feeding practices in an Imperial Roman skeletal sample. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 137(3): 294-308.2007  

2007   Prowse TL. Burials/cemeteries: burials, excavation and recording techniques. In, DM Pearsall (ed.): Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Academic Press. pp. 944-948.

2007   Prowse TL, Schwarcz HP, Garnsey P, Bondioli L, Macchiarelli R, and Knyf M. Isotopic evidence for age-related immigration to Imperial Rome.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 132(4):510-519.

2007   Prowse TL. The human skeletal remains.  In, Excavation in the Roman Cemetery at Vagnari in the Territory of Gravina in Puglia (2002) edited by Alastair Small and Carola Small. Papers of the British School at Rome, Volume LXXV, pp. 150-162. The British School at Rome, Rome (Italy).

2005   Prowse T, Schwarcz H, Saunders S, Bondioli L, and Macchiarelli R.  Isotopic evidence for age-related variation in diet from Isola Sacra, Italy.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 128(1):2-13.

2004   Prowse T, Schwarcz H, Saunders S, Bondioli L, and Macchiarelli R.  Isotopic paleodiet studies of skeletons from the Imperial Roman cemetery of Isola Sacra, Rome, Italy. Journal of Archaeological Science. 31(3):259-272.

1998   Small A, Small C, Campbell I, MacKinnon M, Prowse T, and Sipe C.  Field Survey in the Basentello Valley on the Basilicata-Puglia Border.  Echos du Monde Classique/Classical Views.  XLII: 337-371.

1996   Prowse TL and Lovell NC.  Concordance of Cranial and Dental Morphological Traits and Evidence for Endogamy in Ancient Egypt. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.  101(2): 237-246.

1995   Prowse TL and Lovell NC.  Biological Continuity between the A- and C- Groups in Lower Nubia: Evidence from Cranial Nonmetric Traits. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 5(2): 104-114.

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