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Tracy Prowse

Tracy Prowse

Associate Professor

Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Minor in Archaeology

CNH 514
Office Phone: 905-525-9140 x24302


  1. PhD McMaster University, 2001


Research and Supervisory Interests

My research explores diet and health 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 populations I study. I have done research on the diet, dental health, and geographic origins of an Imperial Roman skeletal sample from the site of Isola Sacra, Italy.

In 2003, I began a bioarchaeological investigation of a rural Roman cemetery on an Imperial estate at Vagnari, south Italy. My current research focuses on health, diet, and migration in this Roman skeletal sample, many of whom were likely slaves or freedmen. Learn more about the Bioarchaeological Field School at Vagnari.

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


Courses (2013-14)

On research leave.

Courses (2012-13)

Fall - Anthro 1AA3 - Introduction to Anthropology: Sex, Food and Death
Fall - Anthro 2FF3 - Human Skeletal Biology and Bioarchaeology

Winter - Anthro 1AA3 - Introduction to Anthropology: Sex, Food and Death
Winter - Anthro 3FA3 - Forensic Anthropology

Summer - Anthro 3W03 - Special Topics in Anthropology: Vagnari Field School (Italy)



In press Prowse TL. Burial practices and tombs in the Roman world. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Springer.

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.