Prof Eileen Murphy


Head of Discipline – Archaeology and Palaeoecology


Eileen is a bioarchaeologist and has undertaken numerous biocultural studies of prehistoric Russian human remains and Irish populations of all periods.

She is currently involved in a variety of projects including one on maternal and infant death in medieval Ireland and another on Takabuti, Belfast’s Egyptian mummy.

She was a member of the Ballyhanna Research Project and recently published a major biocultural analysis of this substantial populations (with Catriona McKenzie; 2018; Four Courts Press). She is currently PI on the Ranelagh Osteoarchaeology Project which has involved a comprehensive bioarchaeological study of a population of around 1000 Medieval individuals from County Roscommon.

Her research also extends into mortuary practice, particularly in relation to the burial of children as well a atypical burial practices. She has undertaken extensive research on cillíní (children’s burial grounds), unconsecrated burial grounds reserved largely for the burial of unbaptised infants, and was the co-editor (with Melie le Roy) of Children, Death and Burial: Archaeological Discourses (2017; Oxbow Books) and Across the Generations: the Old and the Young in Past Societies (with Grete Lillehammer; 2018; AmS-Skrifter 26. Norway). She is the Editor of the international journal, Childhood in the Past.

Eileen is also a member of the Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Project, where her role has involved a study of the grave memorials and burial of the early nineteenth-century Irish settlers in Lowell, Massachusetts.

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