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Institute of Archaeology

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Thomas Siek

Reconsidering Palaeoepidemiological Investigations in Palaeo-Oncology

Thomas Siek

Email: thomas.siek.14@ucl.ac.uk

Section: Archaeological Sciences

Supervisors:

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Reconsidering Palaeoepidemiological Investigations in Palaeo-Oncology

Palaeo-oncology refers to the study of neoplastic diseases, such as cancer, in historical and archaeological contexts using bioarchaeological data and methodology. Despite this line of academic enquiry, there is still debate regarding the antiquity and prevalence of neoplasms. This has been bolstered by the limited number of palaeoepidemiological studies into neoplastic disease. These investigations into neoplastic prevalence have been infrequent and performed with limited effectiveness. Moreover, these studies remain independent entities of scholarship, differing in their methods and analysis.

My research is reconsidering palaeoepidemiological investigations into neoplastic disease and attempt to bring these lines of enquiry together. This is being accomplished with a systematic review of bioarchaeological research in neoplastic disease that will fill a gap in the bioarchaeological literature by examining how palaeopathology has approached neoplastic research, and filter and scrutinise past palaeoepidemiological studies. This lead to a palaeoepidemiological investigation, conducted in reference to Medieval Poland, and was aimed at exemplifying and incorporating a more standardized palaeoepidemiological methodology into palaeo-oncology.

Education

  • BA (Honours), History and Anthropology, McMaster University, 2012
  • MA, Public Issues Anthropology, University of Waterloo, 2014
    Publications

    Siek, Thomas. 2017. Exhibition Review of Wounded: Conflict, Casualties and Care Science Museum, London (29th June 2016-15th January 2018). Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 27.

    Siek, Thomas. 2015. An Exploration of Tactile Interaction in Osteology and Material Culture. PlatForum 14: 147-164.

    Siek, Thomas. 2013. The Osteological Paradox and Issues of Interpretation in Paleopathology. Vis á Vis: Explorations in Anthropology 13: 92-101.

    Siek, Thomas. 2012. 'A Rose by Any Other Name': The Types of Cholera in the 19th Century. In Ch2olera: Hamilton's Forgotten Epidemics. D. Ann Herring and Heather T. Battles eds. Pp. 24-30. Hamilton: McMaster University.

    Conference papers

    Siek, Thomas and Cara Hirst. 2018. A Malignant Monkey: Skeletal Evidence of Metastasis in a Tantalus Monkey (Cercopithecus tantelus). Presented at the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Austin, United States of America.

    Siek, Thomas and Lisa Monetti. 2018. Fascination or Obsession? Reflections on Depictions of the Skull in the 21st Century. Presented at Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies Conference, Southampton, United Kingdom.

    White, Suzanna, Cara Hirst, Thomas Siek and Annabelle Lockey. 2018. Managing the Dead: The Value of Rediscovering Skeletal Collections. Presented at Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies Conference, Southampton, United Kingdom.

    Siek, Thomas. 2017. A Review and Comparison of Paleoepidemiological Studies on Neoplastic Disease. Presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, Liverpool, United Kingdom.

    Siek, Thomas. 2017. Urbanization and the Bioarchaeology of Neoplastic Disease: Examining Social Processes and Disease in the Past, in Reference to Medieval Poland. Invited Symposium: Archaeology of Medieval Europe II: Bioarchaeological Research on Eastern Europe. Presented at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Unites States of America.

    Siek, Thomas. 2017. Cancer, a Disease in Flux: Attitudes and Perceptions from Antiquity to the Modern Period. Presented at Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies Conference, Southampton, United Kingdom.

    Siek, Thomas. 2016. Neoplastic Disease in Medieval Poland (966-1560). Presented at the 21st European Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, Moscow, Russia.

    Siek, Thomas and Maria A. Liston. 2014. The Efficacy of Using a Modern Skeletal Collection to Help Distinguish Neoplastic Lesions on Archaeological Bone. Invited Symposium: Cancer and Neoplastic Disease in Bioarchaeology. Presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Paleopathology Association, Calgary, Canada.

    Siek, Thomas and Maria A. Liston. 2013. Acute Leukemia Versus Juvenile Scurvy In Differential Diagnosis. Presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, Scarborough, Canada.