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Laurie Reitsema

UGA Arch
Associate Professor
Director, Bioarchaeology and Biochemistry Laboratory

I study human diet as a link between biology, culture and environment, focusing on stable isotope analysis of archaeological human skeletal remains. My bioarchaeological work is informed by ties to human biology and primatology. I chiefly work with European skeletal samples, and also use stable isotope analysis to study diet and stress among modern humans and non-human primates.

My research seeks to explain how human beings come to physically embody the biological and social aspects of our environments, focusing on nutrition, which I study using stable isotope tracers of diet in mineralized and soft tissues. I use a life history perspective, focusing on both proximate (e.g., developmental) and ultimate (e.g., political; economic) influences on human biology and behavior. Whereas proximately, adult health and disease are affected by the environment, frailty, and early-life living conditions, ultimately, these stressors are tied to social and political factors including structural violence and demographic transition. My research uniquely and advantageously incorporates human skeletal populations as well as extant non-human primates to clarify synergistic relationships between environmental impacts at multiple scales.


PhD, Anthropology, Anatomy minor, The Ohio State University, 2012  


Research Areas:
Research Interests:
  • Biological anthropology, focus on bioarchaeology
  • Diet, nutrition, growth, development
  • Physiological adaptation and plasticity
  • Stable isotope biogeochemistry
  • Primate weaning ecology
  • Colonization and culture contact
  • Eastern Europe, Mediterranean region, southeastern United States
Selected Publications:

2017     Reitsema, L. J., Kozłowski, T., Crews, D. E., Katzenberg, M. A., Chudziak, W. Resilience and Local Dietary Adaptation in Rural Poland, AD 1000-1400. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 45:38–52.

2016     Reitsema, L.J., Vercellotti, G., Boano, R.. Subadult Dietary Variation at Medieval Trino Vercellese, Italy, and Its Relationship to Adult Diet and Mortality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160:653–664.

2016     Reitsema, L.J., Partrick, K. A., Muir, A. B. Inter-Individual Variation in Weaning among Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta): Serum Stable Isotope Biomarkers of Suckling Duration and Lactation. American Journal of Primatology 78:1113–1123.

Articles Featuring Laurie Reitsema
Monday, May 24, 2021 - 3:51pm

PhD candidate, Katherine Reinberger, and Dr. Laurie Reitsema recently had an article published in PLOS One. The article is titled, "Isotopic evidence for geographic heterogeneity in Ancient Greek military forces" and can be found on the …

Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 8:46am

The University of Georgia has joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium to facilitate scholarly exchange and academic collaboration. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 5:05pm

The study abroad classes are underway, and the UGA archaeology field schools begin soon.

Professor Brosius' "Bali and Beyond" Maymester program is in full swing and we look forward to catching up with their new experiences any day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 1:28pm

The Office of Research recognizes Laurie Reitsema’s work with the 2018 Charles B. Knapp Early Career Scholar Award. Named in honor of the University of Georgia’s 20th president, this award recognizes outstanding accomplishment and evidence of potential future…

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 6:08pm

Several faculty members and an alumnus were featured in UGA's fall issue of Georgia Magazine.

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