Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls

Job Title and Responsibilities

Associate Professor of Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation

Research Lead (Centre of Archaeology)

About Me

I am an Associate Professor in Forensic Archaeology and Genocide Investigation at Staffordshire University specialising in Holocaust studies. I am also the Research Lead at the Centre of Archaeology. 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. As part of this research, I 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), the former Semlin Judenlager and Anhaltlager (Serbia) and killing sites in Adampol (Poland). Recently, I have also worked on a pilot project with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation (UKHMF) to map the terrain of Bergen-Belsen (Germany) and I am a member of the UKHMF Education Advisory Group, appointed by the UK Government. In August 2015, I installed a new permanent exhibition entitled “Finding Treblinka” at the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka based on the findings of my research.

I have published extensively in Holocaust and forensic archaeology and, in 2015, I published a book entitled Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions. My research has received international media attention via television documentaries and radio programmes aired in Europe and the US. I have held visiting fellowships at Goldsmiths College, London (Forensic Architecture Project) and Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (Terrorscapes Project). I also acts as a Scientific Advisor for Kamp Westerbork, sit on the NWO Holocaust Archaeology Group and I am a Consultant for the Polish-German Reconciliation Foundation. As a practicing 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 a member of the Forensic Archaeology Expert Panel and Treasurer of the Forensic Archaeology Special Interest Group. I am also a Member of the Chartered Institute For Archaeologists (MCIFA) and a Member (MCSFS) and approved assessor for the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS) University Accreditation Scheme. 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.

Qualifications

  • Research Supervision Award – Staffordshire University

  • 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)

Professional Memberships and Activities

Enterprise and Commercial Activities

Research Interests

  • Holocaust history and archaeology
  • Forensic Archaeology – the search for, and detection of, clandestine burials
  • Socio-historic conflict and genocide investigation
  • Advancing archaeological practice through non-invasive survey methods
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Selected Publications

Books

  •  Morewitz, S. and Sturdy Colls, C. (eds) In Prep. Missing Persons Handbook. New York: Springer.

  • Sturdy Colls, C. 2015. Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions. New York: Springer.For more information

  • 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. 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. 2015. Finding Treblinka: An Exhibition of Forensic Archaeological Research. Exhibition Catalogue. Stoke-on-Trent: Staffordshire University.

  • 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] 

Book Chapters

  • Sturdy Colls, C. In Press. ‘The Archaeology of Cultural Genocide: A Forensic Turn in Holocaust Studies?’, Dziuban, Z. et al (eds.). The Forensic Turn in Holocaust Studies. Vienna: The Wiesenthal Institute.

  • 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. 2015. 'Learning from the Present to Understand the Past: Forensic and Archaeological Approaches to Sites of the Holocaust' in International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Killing Sites. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 61-78.

  • 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 Sturdy Colls, C. 2013. ‘Forensic Archaeology’ in Siegel, J. Knuffler, G. and Saukko, P. Encyclopaedia of Forensic Sciences. 3rd edition. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, London.

  • 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).

Papers

  • Sturdy Colls, C. 2015. Mapping Nazi Terror: Archaeological Investigations at Treblinka Extermination and Labour Camps. Proceedings of the Archaeology of Violence: Archaeology of War, Archaeology of Mass Violence Conference, France. [In French]

  • 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

Recent Invited Lectures

  • The Use of Technology for Examining Jewish Cemeteries’, European Jewish Cemeteries conference, Vilnius, October 2015.

  • Keynote speech entitled ‘What Lies Beneath? Forensic Archaeological Approaches to Treblinka Extermination and Labour Camps’, British Association of Holocaust Studies conference, Birmingham, United Kingdom, July 2015. 

  • To Dig or not to Dig, “That Is the Question”. Reconsidering Archaeological Approaches to Holocaust Landscapes, The Forensic Turn in Holocaust Studies? (Re-) Thinking the Past Through Materiality conference. The Wiesenthal Institute, Vienna, Austria, June 2015.

  • 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. Annual event since 2011.

  • ‘Holocaust Archaeology CPD Event for Teachers’, Institute of Education at the University of London, December 2013.

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Conference Talks

  • ‘Harry was here…Graffiti archaeology on the island of Alderney’, European Association of Archaeology Conference, Glasgow, September 2015. 
  •  ‘No more life…Confinement, Oppression and resistance at Treblinka extermination and labour camps’, European Association of Archaeology Conference, Glasgow, September 2015. 
  • ‘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.
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Workshops

  • 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.

Current Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Forensic Archaeology

  • Field School in Forensic Archaeology

  • Techniques in the Identification of Human Remains

  • Crime Scene Documentation

  • Introduction to Forensic Science

Postgraduate

  • MSc/MA Applied Research with specialisms in Conflict and Genocide Archaeology, Forensic Archaeology and Archaeological Practice. 

  • MSci Forensic Science placement supervision

Working with the Media

Specialist areas:

  • Holocaust archaeology – in particular Treblinka extermination and labour camps (Poland), the Occupation of Alderney, Semlin (Serbia), Bergen-Belsen (Germany) and Adampol (Poland).
  • Forensic Archaeology – in particular the search and recovery of buried remains.
  • The application of non-invasive surveying methods

Previous Media Experience:

  • Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine, Smithsonian Channel television documentary, March 2014
  • Treblinka: Inside Hitler’s Secret Death Camp, Channel 5 television documentary, November 2013
  • 'Unseen Holocaust', broadcast on Sky History (January 2014).
  • BBC Radio 4 documentary, ‘Hidden Graves of the Holocaust’
  • Various television radio, newspaper and online report interviews (international and national)

Contact

Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls
Associate Professor
School of Sciences (Forensic and Crime Science)
Faculty of Computing, Engineering & Science
Staffordshire University
Science Centre
Leek Road
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2DF
t: +44 (0)1782 295930
e: c.sturdy-colls@staffs.ac.uk