Robert J. Stark

Research interests:

  • Medieval Nubia
  • Bioarchaeology
  • Isotope analysis
  • Palaeopathology
  • Diet and mobility
Professional career

Education

2017 PhD thesis at the Department of Anthropology, McMaster University, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Tracy Prowse: Ancient Lives in Motion: A Bioarchaeological Examination of Stable Isotopes, Nonmetric Traits, and Human Mobility in an Imperial Roman Context (1st–3rd C. CE).

2009 MA in biological anthropology at the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Garvie-Lok: A Radiographic Investigation of Juvenile Scurvy Among the Sub-Adult Remains from Stymphalos and Zaraka, Greece.

2007 BA Hons. in Near Eastern archaeology at the Department of Archaeology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.

Positions and functions

2021–2023 Assistant Professor (Adjunct) – Research Academics, Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA), University of Warsaw.

2020 Contract Teaching Faculty (CTF) for Cultural Resource Management archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

2018–2020 Technical Writer, Archaeological Research Associates Ltd.

2017–2018 Part-time Faculty for bioarchaeology and medical anthropology at the Faculty of Liberal Studies, Mohawk College

2017 Part-time Contract Academic Staff (CAS) for burial archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University

2013 Present, Assistant Editor, Bioarchaeology of the Near East

Research projects

2020–2022 Project Leader for „The People of Ghazali: Tracing the Human Experience in a Nubian Desert Monastic Community (680–1275 CE)” funded by the National Geographic Society (NGS-67810R-20), research conducted in cooperation with the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA) and the David Reich Lab at Harvard University, and the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan (NCAM).

2020–2022 Bioarchaeologist for the “UMMA: Urban Metamorphosis of the Community of a Medieval African Capital” project at Old Dongola, Sudan, directed by Dr. Artur Obłuski of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA), University of Warsaw in collaboration with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) of Sudan.

2015–2017 Bioarchaeologist for the “Ghazali Archaeological Site Presentation” project at Ghazali, Sudan, directed by Dr. Artur Obłuski of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (PCMA), University of Warsaw in collaboration with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) of Sudan.

2010, 2014, 2017, 2018   Bioarchaeologist for the Hungarian Mission in Thebes: TT65 Project in Luxor, Egypt, directed by Dr. Tamás Bács of Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

Other archaeological experience:

2012 Basentello Valley Archaeological Research Project (BVARP)–Vagnari Cemetery, Italy, directed by Dr. Tracy Prowse of McMaster University

2008 Mount Nebo-Robebus Archaeological Project, Jordan, directed by Dr. Margaret Judd of the University of Pittsburgh.

2006–2007, 2009–2010, 2017–2020 Cultural Resource Management (CRM) archaeology, Ontario, Canada.

2005 Khirbat al-Mudayna on the Wadi ath-Thamad, Jordan, directed by Dr. P.M. Michèle Daviau of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Scholarships, grants, awards

2020–2022 National Geographic Society Grant (NGS-67810R-20)

2013–2014 Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS)

2013 Shelley R. Saunders Thesis Research Grant

2013 SGS Grant in Aid of Research and Field Study Fund

2013 Society for Archaeological Sciences Student Travel

2013 Italian Government Bursary for Foreign and I.R.E Students

2012 Lemmermann Foundation

2012 Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement (CGS-MSFSS)

2012 McMaster Department of Anthropology Travel Award

2010–2013 Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-Doctoral

2010–2014 Shelley Saunders Scholarship in Anthropology

2010 McMaster University Entrance Scholarship

2009 Advanced Education & Technology Scholarship

2008 Walter H. Johns Graduate Fellowship

2008 Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-Master’s

2008 Wiener Laboratory Travel Grant

Scientific bibliography

Chapters in edited volumes

In press Stark, R.J., Excavation of burial FN362 north of the citadel walls, in: A. Obłuski, D. Dzierzbicka (eds.), Old Dongola, Development, Heritage, Archaeology: Fieldwork in 2018–2019. Vol. 1: Excavations, Polish Publications in Mediterranean Archaeology 1, Peeters, Leuven.

2018 Prowse, T., Stark, R., Emery, M., Stable Isotope Analysis and Human Migration in the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East, in: A. Zerbini, J. Yoo (eds.), Migration, Diaspora and Identity in the Near East from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Ashgate, Farnham, 146–186.

2018 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Cemetery 4 at Ghazali (Sudan): Excavations during the Fall 2016 Season, in: A. Lohwasser, T. Karberg, J. Auenmüller (eds.), Bayuda Studies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the Bayuda Desert Sudan, Meroitica: Schriften zur altsudanesischen Geschichte und Ärchäeologie 27, 273–283.

2018 Ciesielska, J., Obłuski, A., Stark, R.J., The Cemeteries of Ghazali, Season 2015/2016, in: A. Lohwasser, T. Karberg, J. Auenmüller (eds.), Bayuda Studies: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Archaeology of the Bayuda Desert Sudan, Meroitica: Schriften zur altsudanesischen Geschichte und Ärchäeologie 27, 257–271.

2014 Cybulski, J.S., Stark, R.J., Bács, T.A., Bioarchaeology, TT65 project, Hungarian Mission in Thebes, in: S. Ikram, J. Kaiser, R. Walker (eds.), Egyptian Bioarchaeology: Humans, Animals, and the Environment, Sidestone Academic Press, Leiden, 21–29.

Scientific articles

2021 Ciesielska, J.A., Stark, R.J., Obłuski, A., Boivin, N., Roberts, P., Multi-isotope analysis of dietary variation among the early Christian communities of northern Sudan, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 37, doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.103016

2021 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Obłuski, A., An isotopic assessment of Makurian monastic diet at the medieval Nubian monastery of Ghazali, Sudan (ca. 680–1275), Archaeometry, DOI:10.1111/arcm.12674.

2020 Ciesielska, J.A, Stark, R.J., Proximal femur fractures among a medieval Christian population of northern Sudan: prevalence and aetiology, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 30:642–655, DOI: 10.1002/oa.2894.

2020 Stark, R.J., Emery, M.V., Schwarcz, H., Sperduti A., Bondioli L., Craig O.E., Prowse T., Imperial Roman Mobility and Migration at Velia (1st to 2nd c. CE) in Southern Italy, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 30:102217, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102217.

2019 Ciesielska, J., Stark, R., Possible neurogenic disorder in a female buried in the male monastic cemetery at Ghazali (ca. 670–1270 CE), northern Sudan, International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 30:33–42, DOI: 10.1002/oa.2828.

2019 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Vertebral infection in a male individual buried in the monastic cemetery (Cemetery 2) at Ghazali (ca. 670–1270 CE), northern Sudan, International Journal of Paleopathology 24:34–40, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2018.08.011.

2018 Emery, M., Duggan, A.T., Murchie, T.J., Stark, R.J., Klunk, J., Hider, J., Eaton, K., Karpinski, E., Schwarcz, H., Poinar, H., Prowse, T., Roman Mitochondrial Genomes and Isotopes Reveal Relationships and Geographic Origins at the Local and pan‑Mediterranean Scales, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 20:200–209, DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.04.036.

2018 Emery, M.V., Stark, R.J., Schwarcz, H.P., Murchie, T.J., Elford, S., Prowse, T.L., Mapping the origins of Imperial Roman workers (1st–4th century CE) at Vagnari, Southern Italy, using 87Sr/86Sr and δ18O variability, American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166(4):837–850, DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23473.

2018 Obłuski, A., Ciesielska, J., Stark, R., Chlebowski, A., Misiurny, A., Zelechowski-Ston, M., el-Din Mahmoud, Z., Qatar Sudan Archaeological Project: Excavations at the Ghazali Monastery from 2014–2016. Polish Archaeology in the Mediterranean 27/1:245–271, DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0013.2003.

2016 Pitre, M.C., Stark, R.J., Gatto, M.C., First Probable Case of Scurvy in Ancient Egypt at Nag el-Qarmila, Aswan, International Journal of Paleopathology 13:11–19, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2015.12.003.

2015 Stark, R.J., Cybulski, J.S., Bács, T.A., Iliacus-Piriformis Abscess and Septic Arthritis from Theban Tomb (TT) 65, International Journal of Paleopathology 8:57–63, DOI:10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.11.001.

2014 Stark, R.J, A Proposed Framework for the Study of Paleopathological Cases of Subadult Scurvy, International Journal of Paleopathology 5:18–26, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.01.005.

Conferences

Presentations

2021 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Funerary textiles from burial contexts at Ghazali and Old Dongola, Sudan-A bioarchaeological perspective, presented at “Funerary Textiles: Towards a Better Method for In Situ Study, Retrieval and Conservation,” Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw, 15-16 April 2021, Warsaw, Poland.

2021 Stark R.J., Ciesielska J., An investigation of lay and monastic diets at the medieval Makurian site of Ghazali, Sudan, presented in the “Scales of Fragmentation: Bioarchaeological Evidence of Economic and Social Transformation from the Late Roman to Early Medieval Period in the Eastern Mediterranean (SCALoFRAG)” session at The Past Has A Future! 2nd Conference of the Faculty of Archaeology, University of Warsaw, 22-26 March 2021, Warsaw, Poland.

2018 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Christian Burials and the Kingdom of Makuria: An Investigation of the Monastic Cemetery at Ghazali, Sudan, 14th International Conference for Nubian Studies, 10-15 September, Paris, France.

2018 Stark, R.J., Bondioli, L., Prowse, T., On the move at Imperial Roman Portus (ca. 1st to 3rd c. CE): challenging conceptions of childhood mobility through multi-tooth oxygen (d18O) isotope analyses, Roman Archaeological Congress, 12-14 April, Edinburgh, Scotland.

2017 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Living and Dying at Ghazali: A Bioarchaeological Perspective, Monasticism in the Nile Valley Workshop, 16–17 October, Cairo, Egypt.

2017 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Ghazali Cemetery Project (GCP) Field Report 2015/2016. Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, 5–8 January, Toronto, Canada.

2016 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., The Monastic Cemetery (Cemetery 2) at Deir el-Ghazali, Sudan. Research on Human Remains from Polish Excavations in Africa and the Near East, 9 December, Warsaw, Poland.

2014 Stark, R.J., Cybulski, J.S., Bács, T., Person 3/3a: A Possible Case of Iliacus Abscess and Septic Arthritis from Theban Tomb 65 (TT65), Bone Pathology Symposium, May 12-15, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

2013 Stark, R.J., Cybulski, J.S., Bács, T., The Pathology of Person 3/3a from Theban Tomb 65 (TT65): Possible Iliacus Abscess and Septic Arthritis in an Egyptian Context, 8th World Congress on Mummy Studies, August 6-9, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

2012 Prowse, T., Stark, R., Emery, M., Studi di Antropologia Fisica A Torre di Satriano: I Nuovi Dati, VI Convegno di Studi su Satrianum, October 18-19, Tito, Italy.

2012 Stark, R., Watamaniuk, L., Oomen, G., Digital Sex Determination in Forensic Anthropological Contexts, 1st Saudi International Conference of Forensic Medical Sciences, March 11th–14th, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2008 Stark, R.J., A Radiographic Investigation of Juvenile Scurvy in Human Remains from Stymphalos, Greece: Preliminary Results, 36th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, Nov. 5–8, Hamilton, Canada.

Posters

2020 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Obłuski, A., Hip trauma and convalescence: The case for care at Ghazali, 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 15-18 April, Los Angeles, USA, American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 69:273, DOI:10.1002/ajpa.24023.

2017 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., Oroantral Fistulae at the Monastic Settlement of Ghazali, Sudan (ca. 670–1270 C.E.), 44th North American Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, 17–19 April, New Orleans, USA.

2017 Stark, R.J., Prowse, T., 2017, Isotopic perspectives on human mobility at the Imperial Roman Rue Jacques Brel necropolis (ca. 1st to 3rd c. CE) in Saintes, France, 86th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 19–22 April, New Orleans, USA, American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 64:369.

2016 Stark, R.J., Prowse, T., Sperduti, A., Bondioli, L., Migration in Imperial Roman contexts (ca. 1st to 3rd c. CE): a multi-isotope investigation of human mobility at Isola Sacra and Velia, Italy, 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 12–16 April, Atlanta, USA, American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 62:301.

2016 Stark, R.J., Ciesielska, J., A possible intervertebral disc infection in an individual buried in the monastic cemetery at Deir Ghazali, Sudan, 21st European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, 15–19 August, Moscow, Russian Federation.

2012 Stark, R., Garvie-Lok, S., What Can Radiology Contribute to Paleopathological Examinations of Juvenile Scurvy?, 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, April 12–14, Portland, Oregon, USA, American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement 54:277.

Membership in scientific organizations
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA)
  • The Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA/ACAP)
  • Paleopathology Association (PPA)
  • Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA)
  • Sudan Archaeological Research Society (SARS)

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