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Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing.
Penrhyn Road
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT1 2EE

Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 9000

Dr Layla Renshaw

School/Department: Life Sciences, Pharmacy & Chemistry
Position: Associate Professor in Forensic Science


My research interests and teaching combine both the scientific and social study of death and burial, with a focus on post-conflict and human rights investigations. After working on a range of archaeological projects, I undertook training with the United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia, working on the exhumation and identification of war victims in Kosovo. I have also worked in a consultative capacity for a number of UK police constabularies, working on human identification.
I completed an MSc in Forensic Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and a PhD in Anthropology, also at UCL, focusing on material culture studies. My doctoral research examined the impact of the recent exhumation of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War and I carried out field work in Spain between 2003 and 2008. The particular focus of my research concerned the relationship between memory, material culture and human remains. My recent research concerns the reovery and commemoration of Australian and British World War I soldiers from Northern France, concentrating on the process of human identification, genetic testing and public understanding and participation in the recovery process. I joined the School of Life Sciences in 2003 as a Lecturer and have since become Associate Professor and field leader in Forensics.

Educational and Professional Qualifications

  • 2004 - 2006 PG Cert HE. Kingston University
  • 2003 - 2009 PhD Anthropology. UCL
  • 2000 - 2001 MSc. Forensic Archaeological Sciences. UCL
  • 1997 - 2000 BA Hons Archaeology and Anthropology. Oxford University

Research Interests

My research interests include:
Social, political and ethical considerations in the investigation of war and human rights abuses.
The archaeological and anthropological investigation of 20th century conflict, particularly the Spanish Civil War and World War I.
The relationship between memory and physical evidence in the investigation of the traumatic past.
Media and popular representation and understanding of exhumation and forensic science.
Methods of human identification.
I also supervise undegraduate and MSc research in aspects of forensic anthroology, in conjunction with the Centre of Human Bioarchaeology at the Museum of London, concerning methods of skeletal identification, life history reconstruction, nutritional and occupational stress markers, and skeletal and dental pathology.

Teaching Area

Forensic archaeology; Forensic anthropology; Investigation of human rights, post-conflict and mass fatality cases.




020 8417 7045