My main areas of research focus on the human body and how it changes, particularly in the modern context. Here, most of my research examines the effects of burning on the skeleton (in particular the changes to the apatite phase and microstructural crystallinity) and the development of new ways to study this challenging biomaterial. I am also interested in the relationship between the biological and social body (again particularly in the modern context), and the role of forensic anthropology/ists in the world at large.

I have published over 35 peer-reviewed papers in international journals and books, and was senior editor for the book ‘Forensic Human Identification: An Introduction’. My new book, 'Human Identity & Identification' co-authored with Dr Rebecca Gowland is out now from those lovely people at CUP. My next book, 'The Archaeology of Cremation' will be published by Oxbow Books and is currently in full swing.

At Teesside I am actively involved in undertaking and fostering research. On top of developing my own research team and striving to create an environment for them to successfully work and develop in, I have Chaired both the School of Science & Engineering Research Ethics and Research Degrees Committees. Currently I Chair the University Research Ethics Committee and sit on the University Research Degrees Committee and the University Research Policy Committee.

The analysis of heat-altered bone

Key Publications

Gonçalves, D., Cunha, E. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2013)
Weight references for burned human skeletal remains from Portuguese samples. Journal of Forensic Sciences 58: 1134-1140.
Gonçalves, D., Cunha, E. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2013)
Osteometric sex determination of burned human skeletal remains. Journal of Legal and Forensic Medicine 20: 906-911.
Piga, G., Solinas, G., Thompson, T.J.U., Brunetti, A., Malgosa, A. and Enzo, S. (2013)
Is X-Ray Diffraction able to distinguish between animal and human bones? Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 778-785.
Thompson, T.J.U., Islam, M. and Bonniere, M. (2013)
A new statistical approach for determining the crystallinity of heat-altered bone mineral from FTIR spectra. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 416-422.
Gonçalves, D., Thompson, T.J.U. and Cunha, E. (2011)
Implications of heat-induced changes in bone on the interpretation of funerary behaviour and practice. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 1308-1313.
Squires, K.E., Thompson, T.J.U., Islam, M., Chamberlain, A. (2011)
The application of histomorphometry and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to the analysis of early Anglo-Saxon burned bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 2399-2409.
Thompson, T.J.U., Islam, M., Piduru, K. and Marcel, A. (2011)
An investigation into the internal and external variables acting on crystallinity index using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy on unaltered and burned bone. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 299: 168-174.
Piga, G., Thompson, T.J.U., Malgosa, A., and Enzo, S. (2009)
The potential of X-ray Diffraction (XRD) in the analysis of burned remains from forensic contexts. Journal of Forensic Sciences 54(3): 534-539.
Thompson, T.J.U., Gauthier, M. and Islam, M. (2009)
The application of a new method of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to the analysis of burned bone. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(3): 910-914.
Piga, G., Malgosa, A., Thompson, T.J.U. and Enzo, S. (2008)
A new calibration of the XRD technique for the study of archaeological burned human remains. Journal of Archaeological Sciences 35(8): 2171-2178.
Thompson, T.J.U. and Chudek, J.A. (2007)
A novel approach to the visualisation of heat-induced structural change in bone. Science & Justice 47(2): 99-104.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2005)
Heat-induced dimensional changes in bone and their consequences for forensic anthropology. Journal of Forensic Sciences 50(5): 1008-1015.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2004)
Recent advances in the study of burned bone and their implications for forensic anthropology. Forensic Science International 146S: S203–S205.
Hiller, J., Thompson, T.J.U., Evison, M.P., Chamberlain, A.T. and Wess, T.J. (2003)
Bone mineral change during experimental heating: An X-ray scattering investigation. Biomaterials 24(28): 5091-5097.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2002)
The assessment of sex in cremated individuals: Some cautionary notes. Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal 35(2): 49-56.

PhD Researchers

Ellingham, Sarah
The advanced analysis of burned bone from forensic and archaeological contexts.
Gonçalves, David
Bioanthropological analysis of burned bones.

The application of, and improving practice within, forensic anthropology

Key Publications

Gowland, R. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2013)
Human identity and identification. Cambridge University Press
Thompson, T.J.U. and Black, S.M. (eds.) (2007)
Forensic human identification. CRC Press, Inc.: Florida, USA.


Rankin B.W.J., Taylor G. and Thompson T.J.U. (2012)
Should Higher Education respond to recent changes in the forensic science marketplace? New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences 8: 27-32.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2008)
The role of the photograph in the application of forensic anthropology and the interpretation of clandestine scenes of crime. Photography & Culture 1(2): 163-182.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2003)
The quality and appropriateness of forensic anthropological education in the UK. Public Archaeology 3(2): 88-94.
Thompson, T.J.U. and Evison, M.P. (eds.) (2003)
Forensic anthropology in the United Kingdom – Current trends, problems and concerns. Science and Justice 43(4).
Thompson, T.J.U. (2003)
Supply and demand: Shifting expectations in forensic anthropology. Science and Justice 43(4): 183-186.
Thompson, T.J.U. (2001)
Legal and ethical considerations of forensic anthropological research. Science and Justice 41(4): 261-270.

PhD Researchers

Butler, Mark
Mapping and exploring volume crime scene practise to inform learning and teaching: A study in a North East United Kingdom Police Service.
Errickson, David
The application of laser scanning in forensic anthropology and the courts of law.

Other areas of interest

Key Publications

Starkie, A., White, L. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2013)
An investigation into the effects of decomposition on the post-mortem location of trans-dermal artefacts. Forensic Science International 224: 68-72.
Starkie, A., Birch, W., Ferllini, R. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2011)
An investigation into the merits of infrared imaging in the investigation of tattoos post mortem. Journal of Forensic Sciences 56: 1569-1573.
Thompson, C.E.L., Ball, S., Thompson, T.J.U. and Gowland, R.L. (2011)
The abrasion of modern and archaeological bones by mobile sediments: the importance of transport modes. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 784-793.
Garrido-Varas, C.E. and Thompson, T.J.U. (2011)
Metric dimensions of the proximal phalanges of the human hand and their relationship to side, position, and asymmetry. Homo – Journal of Comparative Human Biology 62: 126-143.
Thompson, T.J.U. and Inglis, J. (2009)
Differentiation of serrated and non-serrated blades from stab marks in bone. International Journal of Legal Medicine 123(2): 129-135.

PhD Researchers

Okey, Darryl
Application of non-contact 3D laser scanning to archaeological and forensic contexts.
Olakanye, Ayo
Microbial forensics: the application to grave location.
Griffiths, Sam
The effects of submersion in water on bone.
Chrysostomou, Popi
Methodological approaches for the sorting of commingled remains.
Garrido-Varas, Claudia
An investigation into bilateral asymmetry of the skeleton and its use in physical and forensic anthropology.

Starkie, Alexandra
The use of body modification in human identification.