Marit Van Cant

PhD Researcher in Osteological Archaeology

Junior researchers Brussels Heritage Lab (BREL) Health History
  • Current position PhD Researcher in Osteological Archaeology
  • Contact Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    Department of Art Studies and Archaeology
    Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
    Building C - Room 432
    Pleinlaan 2
    BE-1050 Brussels
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Marit Van Cant graduated magna cum laude as Master in Arts & Archaeology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2012. Since 2010 she has been specialising in human osteology by participating in several key courses at the LUMC (Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum), Leiden University, and the University of Sheffield. Her master's dissertation about the skeletal analysis of the rural population from Moorsel (Belgium) reached the shortlist of the Jacques A.E. Nenquin-award. Furthermore, she was granted the Renée De Bock-Doehaerd award by VUB's Department of History, and received a special citation from the Society of Demography (Vereniging voor Demografie (VVD)/Société démographique francophone de Belgique (SdfB)) in 2013. In 2015, Marit was honoured with a scientific communication year award by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB) for the co-ordination, scientific outreach and public engagement during her osteological analysis of the Deinze skeletal assemblage.

Currently, Marit is a PhD-fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) for a joint PhD between the VUB (supervisor Dries Tys) and the University of Sheffield (co-supervisor Dawn Hadley). She will continue her research on the health status of (semi)rural and small urban populations in NW-Europe, both based on new and existing bioarchaeological analyses, and with a particular emphasis on the use of musculoskeletal stress markers (MSM) or entheseal changes (EC). This recent approach in bioarchaeological studies intends to elucidate how repetitive activities have an impact on muscle attachment sites, and might identify certain patterns in lifestyle.

Key publications

Van Cant, M. (in peer review). A possible case of a (late)medieval femoral amputation. In: Turner, W. and Lee, C. (Eds.). Trauma in Medieval Society.

Van Cant, M. (2015 in print). The bioarchaeological analysis of the skeletal remains from the rural village of Moorsel (c. 1000-1860 AD), as a case study for the use of musculoskeletal stress markers (MSM) or entheseal changes (EC), in light of other osteological studies from Flanders (Belgium) and north-west Europe. In: Medieval and Modern Matters.

Van Cant M. (2015) Bioarchaeological results of the Deinze skeletal assemblage [Online].

Previous education

2012: MA in Material Culture (magna cum laude), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium (including Erasmus - Human Osteology at the University of Sheffield (UK) – Physical Anthropology/Palaeopathology at Leiden University (the Netherlands))

2011: BA in Art History and Archaeology (magna cum laude), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium