In Memoriam: Holger Schutkowski


It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that we have learned that Professor Holger Schutkowski, former Head of AGES, passed away suddenly, but peacefully, from MND on Monday 30th March 2020.

Holger Schutkowski joined the University of Bradford just as the Millennium dawned – he often recalled watching the fireworks over Bradford just after he moved here from University of Göttingen, Germany. He soon became established as a leading biological anthropologist in the UK and within the University of Bradford. He led the Biological Anthropology Research Centre, the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology as well as serving as Head of School. Outside of Bradford Holger was president of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO) and served on the Advisory Panel for Archaeological Burials in England (APABE). He moved to the University of Bournemouth in 2010.

Holger was a kind, gentle man with a lovely sense of humour. He often fell about laughing (once almost falling off his chair on the stage during a graduation ceremony), and always had a twinkle in his eye. He enjoyed teaching and research, and supported dissertation and PhD students to their full potential. He published on many aspects of biological anthropology, drawing together osteological, isotopic and trace element data with the broader archaeological context and socio-environmental factors, research exemplified by “Between Biology and Culture” (CUP, 2012) and his current research project “The Enigma of the Hyksos: Diet, mobility, health and biodistance affiliations of the Hyksos”.

In 2018 Jo Buckberry and Sonia Zakrzewski organised a BABAO session in Holger’s honour. We were delighted that he was able to join us for a lovely afternoon of celebration and reminiscing. BABAO awarded him with the first Honorary Lifetime Membership that afternoon. As Richard Mikulski read the many tributes to Holger that had flooded in there wasn’t a dry eye in the house (and certainly not on the podium).

Holger was deeply moved by all the messages of support that reached him over the past few weeks, particularly the many uplifting thoughts, memories and spring photographs so many of us shared with him. Bradford staff, graduates and students will miss him.
Jo Buckberry


University of Bradford

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