The ‘motherhood in prehistory’ research team at the OREA Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences welcomes a new team member: PhD student Lukas Waltenberger. Lukas in an energetic young anthropologist who will develop his PhD project on physical changes in the human pelvis through childbirth within the next three years.
Already in his youth, Lukas wanted to become a scientist and spent his summers working in a biochemical lab. Before embarking on studying biology at the University of Vienna, he spent some months at Leeds University (UK) as a visiting research assistant, where he improved protocols for nuclei extraction out of plant cells. In 2010, he started to study Biology at the University of Vienna, and during that time his research interests changed from Biochemistry to Anthropology. In his bachelor’s thesis, he analysed early medieval skeletons and gained first experiences in geomorphometrics.
Lukas moved to the UK to study Forensic Osteology at Bournemouth University for his MA and gained experience in mass grave excavation, plane crash incidents and skeletal analysis. In his master dissertation, supervised by Prof. Holger Schutkwoski, he analysed heat alteration of cut marks and developed an experimental strategy using pig bones. He applied cutting-edge 3D-methods, such as micro-CT and laser scanning microscopy, to his research questions. He presented his research results at he European Researcher’s Night and in a Science Slam – a competition to present research in front of a non-scientific crowd. His contribution “Sherlock Bones – Forensic BBQ” was broadcast on Austrian television.
In spring and summer 2016 he won an internship at the Commission of Missing Persons in Cyprus and extended his experience in forensic analyses and war victim identification. He helped to identify war victims from the Cyprus Civil War in the 1970s. Skeletal remains predominantly found in mass graves were analysed for their biological profiles, cause of death, facial reconstructions and DNA fingerprint. Recently he received the ATHEN-grant of the Austrian Academy of Sciences to work in the Phaleron-project, led by Prof. Jane Buikstra, in Athens.
Since March 2017, he studies Prehistory and Historical Archaeology in addition to Anthropology at the University of Vienna. The combination of archaeology and anthropology makes him a great addition to our team. We are looking forward to working with him in many joint science adventures!