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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 and teaching expertise combines both forensic sciences and social sciences in the study of death and burial, with a strong focus on post-conflict and human rights investigations. My research interests include the role of archaeology in post-conflict investigations, the relationship between human remains and traumatic memory, and public and media perceptions of forensics.

I trained with the United Nation's International Criminal Tribunal for former-Yugoslavia, working on the exhumation and identification of war victims in post-war Kosovo. I have also worked in a consultative capacity for a number of UK police constabularies, working on human identification.

Following my BA from Oxford University, I completed an MSc in Forensic Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and a PhD in Anthropology, also at UCL.

My doctoral research examined the impact of the recent exhumations of mass graves from the Spanish Civil War. I carried out extensive field work in communities in rural Spain, assisting in exhumations and conducting ethnographic research with survivors, witnesses, forensic experts and relatives of the dead. My recent research concerns the recovery and commemoration of Australian and British World War I soldiers from Fromelles, Northern France, concentrating on the process of human identification, genetic testing, and the engagement of relatives in this process.

I joined Kingston University as a lecturer in 2003 and I am now Associate Professor in Forensic Science. I teach topics in forensic archaeology and anthropology and also supervise a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate research in methods of human identification and skeletal analysis.

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 and skeletal analysis.
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; Human identification and skeletal analysis.




020 8417 7045