Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls
Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation
Research Lead (Centre of Archaeology)
I am Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation and the Research Lead for the Centre of Archaeology at Staffordshire University. I teach in the areas of forensic archaeology, techniques in the identification of human remains and various aspects of crime scene investigation.
I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a BA(Hons) Archaeology and Ancient History in 2007 and an MPhil(B) in Archaeological Practice in 2008. I also completed my PhD thesis entitled 'Holocaust Archaeology: Archaeological Approaches to Landscapes of Nazi Genocide and Persecution', at the University of Birmingham.
My research focuses on the application of interdisciplinary approaches to the investigation of Holocaust landscapes and the need for a sub-discipline of Holocaust Archaeology. In particular, I have developed a non-invasive methodology which allows the scientific, ethical and religious aspects associated with studies of this period to be upheld. As part of this research, I have completed the first archaeological surveys of the former extermination camp at Treblinka (Poland), the sites pertaining to the slave labour programme in Alderney (the Channel Islands), and the former Semlin Judenlager and Anhaltelager (Belgrade, Serbia). The latter forms part of "The Living Death Camp" project which forms part of the "Forensic Architecture" programme at Goldsmiths University. My research at Treblinka extermination camp in Poland has recently received international media attention following the broadcast of a BBC Radio 4 documentary 'The Hidden Graves of the Holocaust'. My research at Treblinka extermination camp in Poland has recently received international media attention following the broadcast of ‘Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine’ (Smithsonian Channel), ‘Treblinka: Inside Hitler’s Secret Death Camp’ (UK Channel 5) and the ‘Hidden Graves of the Holocaust' (BBC Radio 4). I am also a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for Kamp Westerbork Archaeological Project in The Netherlands and an active member of a number of research groups in Holocaust and forensic archaeology, including Buried War Pasts [with VU University Amsterdam], the Atlantic Wall Research Group, and the Burial Research Group at Staffordshire University.
As a practising forensic archaeologist, I also undertake consultancy for UK Police forces with regards the search and recovery of buried remains. My particular interests in this field include the application of forensic archaeological methods to the investigation of cold cases and socio-historic conflicts. I am the Treasurer of the Forensic Archaeology Special Interest Group, under the auspice of the Institute for Archaeologists and a Member of the Institute For Archaeologists (MIFA) and a member of the UK Forensic Archaeology Expert Panel. I am a Member of the Institute For Archaeologists (MIFA) and a Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (MCSFS). My interests in archaeology also go beyond the recent past and I have undertaken fieldwork in Greece, the Western Isles of Scotland and a number of sites in England.
PgCHPE – Staffordshire University
PhD Archaeology and Antiquity - University of Birmingham
MPhil(B) Archaeological Practice – University of Birmingham
BA(Hons) Archaeology and Ancient History (1st class)
Member of the Institute for Archaeologists
Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Visiting Fellow, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS), October 2012-January 2013
Member of The Burial Research Group, Staffordshire University
Member of The Atlantic Wall Research Group
Assessor for the Forensic Science Society
Project management (archaeology)
Field survey (Total Station, DGPS, Geophysical Survey)
Holocaust history and Archaeology
Forensic Archaeology – The search for, and detection of, clandestine burials
Socio-historic conflict and genocide investigation
Forensic Architecture (ed). 2014. Forensis: The Architecture of Public Truth. Berlin: Sternberg Press. For more information
Hunter, J. Simpson, B. and Sturdy Colls, C. 2013. Forensic Approaches to Buried Remains. Wiley, London. For more information
Sturdy Colls, C. (2014) Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions. New York: Springer [Available December 2014]
Sturdy Colls, C. (In Prep.) Finding Treblinka. Archaeological Investigations at Treblinka Extermination and Labour Camps [Expected to be published in 2014. In English and Polish]
Morewitz, S. and Sturdy Colls, C. (eds). (In Prep.) Missing Persons Handbook. New York: Springer
Sturdy Colls, C. 2015. ‘Earth Conceal Not My Blood’: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Locating Human Remains of Holocaust Victims. In Anstett, E. and Dreyfus, J-M. (Eds.) Human Remains in Post-Genocide and Mass Violence Contexts. Manchester: Manchester University Press. [Due 2015]
Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. 2014. Reconstructing a painful past: A non-invasive approach to reconstructing Lager Norderney in Alderney, the Channel Islands. In Ch’ng, E. (ed.) Visual Heritage in the Digital Age. New York: Springer.
Hunter, J. and Colls, C. Sturdy. 2013. Archeology. In Siegel, J. and Saukko, P. (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Forensic Sciences. 2nd edition. Vol. 1, pp.18-32. Waltham: Academic Press.
Sturdy Colls, C. 2013. Ocena archeologiczna teren bylego Obozu Zaglady w Treblince/Archaeological Survey of the Former Extermination Camp at Treblinka. Co wiemy o Treblince?Stan Badan. Warsaw (in Polish and English).
Sturdy Colls, C. In Press. 'Learning from the Present to Understand the Past: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Sites of the Holocaust' in International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Killing Sites. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Sturdy Colls, In Press. 'Uncovering a Painful Past: Archaeology and the Holocaust'. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 17 [Available Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites early 2015].
Sturdy Colls, C. 2014. 'Gone but not forgotten: Archaeological approaches to the landscape of the former extermination camp at Treblinka, Poland', Holocaust Studies and Materials 3. Available as an e-book Gone but not forgotten.
Sturdy Colls, C. and Colls, K. 2013. The Alderney Archaeological Research Project 2010-2012. Alderney Society Bulletin.
- Sturdy Colls, C. 2013. The Archaeology of the Holocaust. British Archaeology 130, p. 50-53
Sturdy Colls, C. 2012. Holocaust Archaeology: Archaeological Approaches to Landscapes of Nazi Genocide and Persecution. Journal of Conflict Archaeology 7(2), 71-105. Available from: http://maneypublishing.com/index.php/journals/jca/
Sturdy Colls, C. 2012. O tym, co minelo, lecz nie zostalo zapomniane. Badania archeologiczne na terenie bylego obozu zaglady w Treblince. Zaglada Zydow. Studia i Materialy 8 (in Polish), 77-112. For more information see: http://www.zagladazydow.org/?l=a&lang=pl
Keynote Speech entitled 'Earth Conceal Not My Blood: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Locating Human Remains of Holocaust Victims', 3rd Annual Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide Conference, Manchester, September 2014.
‘Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology', Lecture delivered at the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences, London. January 2014
‘Holocaust Archaeology CPD Event for Teachers’, Institute of Education at the University of London, December 2013.
'Introduction to Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology', Lecture delivered at the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences, London. November 2012.
'Clandestine Burials: Methods Of Discovery', Lecture delivered at the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences, London. July 2011.
'Methods Used When Exhuming Clandestine Graves', Lecture delivered at the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences, London. July 2011.
‘Unearthing Treblinka? Archaeological Investigations at Treblinka Extermination and Labour Camps. Paper presented at the CHAT Dark Modernities conference, Pilsen, Czech Republic. November 2014.
‘Mapping Nazi Terror: Archaeological Investigations at Treblinka Extermination and Labour Camps. Paper presented at the Archaeology of Violence: Archaeology of War, Archaeology of Mass Violence Conference, France. October 2014.
'Badania archeologiczne w Obozie Zagłady i Karnym Obozie Pracy w Treblince' (Archaeological Surveys in the Extermination and Labour Camps in Treblinka), II Konferencja Naukowa „Treblinka – Historia i Pamięć, Treblinka, Poland, September 2014.
‘Learning from the Present to Understand the Past: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Sites of the Holocaust’. Paper presented at the Killing Sites Conference hosted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Krakow. Poland, January 2014.
Mapping the Unseen: Recording and Re-presenting Landscapes of the Holocaust’. Paper presented at the Competing Memories Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 2013.
‘Staro Sajmiste: An Archaeological Assessment’. Paper presented at the 54th October Salon, Belgrade, Serbia, October 2013.
‘Addressing Archaeological Ethics: The Value of Non-invasive Approaches to Landscapes of the Holocaust’. Paper presented at the European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Pilsen, Czech Republic, October 2013.
‘Mapping Adolf Island: Archaeological Approaches to the Occupation Landscape on Alderney’. Paper presented at the European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Pilsen, Czech Republic, October 2013.
‘Mapping the unseen: Archaeological Approaches to the Landscapes of the Holocaust’. Paper presented at the Society of Cartographers’ Conference, Staffordshire University September 2013.
‘DVI – 101’ training in an undergraduate and postgraduate context. Paper presented at the 2nd Annual Forum for Disaster Victim Identification, Royal College of Pathologists, London. 12th March 2013. Joint paper presented with Cassella, J. and Summers, R.
‘Landscapes of Memory’, Paper presented for Holocaust Memorial Day at Staffordshire University, 28th January 2013.
‘Examining the Imprints of Atrocity: Archaeological and Semiotic Approaches to Material Traces of Conflict’. Paper presented at Terrorscapes: Transnational Memory of Totalitarian Rule, Terror and Mass Violence in Europe, NIAS Workshop, 23 January 2013
'Forensic Archaeology'. Paper presented at Living Death Camp and Forensic Aesthetics: Where subjugated knowledge is, sociality occurs, Public Working Meeting, Centre for Cultural Decontamination, Bircaninova 21, Belgrade, 11th April 2012.
'Mapping the Subterranean', Invited lecture at Goldsmiths University, London, 28th February 2012.
'Landscapes of memory: recording the archaeological remains of the Holocaust', Paper presented at Beyond Camps and Forced Labour: Current International Research on Survivors of Nazi Persecution, Fourth International Multidisciplinary Conference at the Imperial War Museum, London, 4-6 January 2012.
'Archaeological approaches to the landscape of the former extermination camp at Treblinka, Poland', Paper presented at the International Holocaust Task Force International Conference on the Holocaust and Other Genocides: The Uses, Abuses and Misuses of the Holocaust Paradigm, The Peace Palace in The Hague, 27th and 29th November 2011.
Sturdy Colls, C. 2011. 'Ocena archeologiczna terenu bylego Obozu Zaglady w Treblince', Paper presented at Co wiemy o Treblince? Stan Badan i konferencja naukowa Muzeum Walki i Meczensta W Treblince – Oddzial Muzeum Regionalnego w Siedlcach.
'I have buried this under the ashes...': Archaeological Approaches to Holocaust Landscapes', Fields of Conflict Conference, Osnabruck, Germany, April 2011.
'The Past is History?: The Archaeology of Occupation and Persecution', Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, Austin, Texas, January 2011.
'Alderney: The Archaeology of Occupation and Persecution', Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) Conference, Bristol, United Kingdom, October 2010.
Terrorscapes. Transnational Memory of Totalitarian Terror and Genocide in Post-war Europe, Workshop at Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar 23rd January 2013.
Terrorscapes. Transnational Memory of Totalitarian Terror and Genocide in Post-war Europe, Workshop at Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar 29 November 2011.
The Heritage of the Atlantic Wall: Seeking a common European response, Workshop, University of Cambridge, 3-5 August 2011.
Field School in Forensic Archaeology
Techniques in the Identification of Human Remains
Crime Scene Documentation
Introduction to Forensic Science
Areas specialised in:
- Holocaust archaeology – in particular Treblinka extermination and labour camps in Poland, the Occupation of Alderney and Semlin camp in Belgrade.
- Forensic Archaeology – in particular the search and recovery of buried remains
Previous Media Experience:
- 'Unseen Holocaust', broadcast on Sky History (January 2014).
- Smithsonian Channel documentary about research at Treblinka in Poland
- Channel 5 documentary about research at Treblinka in Poland
- BBC Radio 4 documentary, ‘Hidden Graves of the Holocaust’
- Various television and radio interviews (international and national)
Department of Forensic and Crime Science
Faculty of Computing, Engineering & Science
R140 Science Centre
t: 01782 295930