Photo of Dr Magdalena Matczak

Dr Magdalena Matczak PhD

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology


Personal Statement

I completed my two MA degrees in archaeology and history at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. It was my primary interest in the human body that led to the study of images of early Christian saints in Greece (MA in archaeology) and theoretical approaches to the body (MA in history). This developed into research on disability, disease, and health in medieval Europe. In my Ph.D. thesis at Adam Mickiewicz University, I used mortuary archaeology and paleopathology to research classifications of diseases and burial customs of disabled and diseased people in early medieval Poland. While in the Ph.D. program, I held fellowships at Cambridge University and the University of California, Berkeley, among others. I was awarded a Ph.D. degree in January 2016. In 2015-2016, I was a research fellow and a principal investigator in the project The Ill and the Impaired in Early Medieval (10th-13th century) Poland; A case study of the sites from Kałdus (Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodship) at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland. The project focused on medical practices and social perception, osteobiographies, social status and burial customs (including atypical burials) of the disabled and diseased, for example a woman with leprosy and one with gigantism. My current research project at the University of Liverpool (funded through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from the European Commission) concentrates on the lifeways and deathways of the disabled in 14th-18th century Central Europe. This is achieved through a detailed study of skeletons and integration of these data with an extensive literature review on health, disease, and disability in Central Europe.

Over the last 14 years, I have participated in 11 archaeological expeditions, including the Cambridge Keros Project, at UNESCO listed sites in Greece and Poland.