Dr. Joel D. Irish

Dr. Joel Irish
Job Title Professor of Bioarchaeology
Telephone +44 (0)151 231 2387 (Office)
+44 (0)151 231 2290 (Lab)
+44 (0)151 231 2338 (Fax)
Email Address @ljmu.ac.uk


Contact Address

Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology
School of Natural Sciences and Psychology
Room 440
James Parsons Bldg
Byrom St.
L3 3AF

Research interests:

Bioarchaeology, Dental anthropology, Hominin origins and affinities, Human skeletal biology, Human adaptation and variation, Human paleopathology, Computer and statistical applications, North and sub- Saharan Africa.


View Publications List

Grants Obtained:

Title, Awarding Body and Year Role Amount
“A ‘Great Migration’: Using Measures of Dental Affinity to Retrace the Bantu Expansion(s).” National Science Foundation. 2009-2012. PI $86,112
“Nubians in Ancient Egypt: Excavation of the C-Group Cemetery at Hierakonpolis.” National Geographic Committee for Research & Exploration. 2007-2008. PI $20,000
“Nubians in Ancient Egypt: Excavation of the C-Group Cemetery at Hierakonpolis.” Wenner-Gren Foundation. 2007-2008. PI $20,000
“The Late Pleistocene through Recent Peoples of Northeast Africa: Measures of Affinity based on Dental Evidence. National Science Foundation. 2001-2003. PI $75,339


Module Leader:
Advanced Forensic Anthropology (6019NATSCI);
Excavation and Analytical Techniques (5108NATSCI)


  • Human Osteology (5008NATSCI)
  • Research Project (6000NATSCI)

Research interests:

I am a bioarchaeologist with extensive academic and applied experience in dental anthropology, human osteology, and paleopathology. I also have a strong background in prehistoric archaeology, having been involved in >30 seasons of archaeological and bioarchaeological fieldwork in the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Africa. A principal area of research involves a biocultural approach to the Upper Pleistocene through modern peopling of Africa, with a concentration on dental morphometric data to understand population origins, biological affinities, migration, and diachronic adaptation. I have assembled a large database of dental and osseous morphometric variants (313 variables in >6,000 individuals), recorded in North and sub-Saharan African samples from institutions throughout the world. I also conduct regular bioarchaeological fieldwork in Egypt. Though concentrating on Upper Pleistocene through recent groups, I apply this approach to Plio-Pleistocene hominins including, most recently, the newly discovered material from the Rising Star Expedition, and Australopithecus sediba in conjunction with colleagues from South Africa and elsewhere. Because of this and other research I have 2 co-edited books, one co-authored book, >80 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals and edited volumes, >80 presentations at regional, national, and international meetings, countless “grey literature” reports during my time as a practicing archaeologist and forensic consultant, and various manuscripts and books under review or in progress – including the new volume, Companion to Dental Anthropology, to be published by Wiley Press.

Professional Qualifications:

  • 1993 Ph.D., Arizona State University, Biological Anthropology.
  • 1984 M.S., Minnesota State University, Mankato, Anthropology (Continuing Studies).
  • 1980 B.S., Minnesota State University, Mankato, Anthropology.
Current Post:
  • Professor of Bioarchaeology, Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, and Forensic Anthropology Program, Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Evolutionary Studies Institute and Centre for Excellence in PaleoSciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Previous Posts:
  • Department of Anthropology and UAF Museum of the North, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
  • Anthropology Department Chair (2007-2012).
  • Professor and Curator of Biological Anthropology (2007-2012).
  • Associate Professor and Curator of Biological Anthropology (2002-2007).
  • Assistant Professor and Curator of Biological Anthropology (1998-2002).
  • Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA. Visiting Assistant Professor (1995-1998).
  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA. Faculty Associate (1995)
  • Cultural Resource Group, Louis Berger and Associates, Phoenix, AZ, and Marion, IA. Assistant Principal Investigator and Archaeologist (1993-1995) Principal Investigator and Archaeologist (1995)
  • Department of Anthropology, Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona, USA. Adjunct Professor/Faculty Associate (1992-1995).
Professional Memberships:
  • European Society for the Study of Human Evolution
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Sigma Xi Honor Society
  • Dental Anthropology Association (Founding Member 1986)
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Sudan Archaeological Research Society
Institutional Responsibilities:
  • 2014-2015 Faculty Research, Scholarship and Knowledge Transfer Committee
  • Research Excellence Framework (REF) Coordinator

Page last modified 20 October 2014.

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