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Vasiliki Louka

Archaeology, University of Leicester

Thesis title:

The violent truth: A comparative, long-term study of collective violence from armed conflicts in Europe

My thesis is an interdisciplinary project that will connect forensic anthropology, international humanitarian law and sociology in order to study collective violence in armed conflicts. The main focus for this study is Europe and specifically, two case studies with historical, national and international importance; the Arkadi massacre (1866) in Crete and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). 

I will be analyzing the skeletal trauma of human remains from these two incidents, using anthropological methods in a forensic context and 3D modelling. In conjunction to this, I will interpret my findings and associate evidence with sociology of violence in an attempt to understand the reasons and higher motives for the infliction of violence. The Cretan skeletal collection is stored in Arkadi Monastery in Crete and the Spanish skeletal collection is based in Ponferrada, Spain.

My aim is to create a theoretical framework by combining forensic anthropology and sociology of violence which can contribute in contemporary forensic investigations for violation of human rights in armed conflicts and enhance our understanding in skeletal trauma from this particual context as well as its meaning in a social context.

Research Area

  • Archaeology


  1. Louka, V. (2021) Gunshot wounds: A case-study of commingled remains in Greek Civil War. In: 6th Annual SAAH PGR Conference, Leicester, UK, 19 March 2021.
    • Oral presentation
  2. Louka, V., Anastopoulou, I. and Moraitis, K. (2019) Reassociating commingled human crania with first cervical vertebrae: An osteometric approach. In: American Association of Forensic Sciences 71st Annual Scientific Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, 18th-23rd February 2019. Abstract and poster.
    • Abstract and poster.
  3. Louka, V., Valakos, S. and Moraitis, K. (2013) An osteometric study on the concurrence of the articular surfaces of the atlantooccipital joint. In: 35thAnnual Conference of Panhellenic Association of Biological Sciences, Nauplio, Greece, 23-25 May 2013. Athens, Greece: Panhellenic Association of Biological Sciences, 198-199. Available from http://www.eebe.gr/wp-content/uploads/diafora/Praktika%20lastV1_2013.pdf [accessed 4/1/2019].
    • Poster and oral presentation by V. Louka.

Other Research Interests

Apart from the analysis of skeletal trauma, I am particularly interested in the analysis of commingled human remains, forensic casework and Disaster Victim Identification, as I have worked closely with forensic services and have participated as a guest forensic anthropologist in mass fatality incidents. Furthermore, the documentation of skeletal collections and the forensic analysis of historical skeletal samples (e.g., monastery ossuaries) are also two more things to consider as part of my research interests.

As part of the PhD research, I am working on the application of photogrammetry in a forensic context or for teaching/demonstration purposes and as an alternative to the use of computed tomography and scanners. Therefore, I am open to collaborations of forensic or interdisciplinary nature. Future collaborations could include projects on the construction of virtual libraries for forensic, educational or cultural purposes (e.g., museum collections) and the organization of similar CDF events.


  • British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (member)
  • Royal Anthropological Institute (Student Fellow)
  • Kenyon International Emergency Services
  • British Association for Forensic Anthropology


  • 2015-2016: M.Sc. Forensic Anthropology, University of Lincoln. Grade: Distinction
  • 2009-2014: B.Sc. Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Grade: 6.56/10 (2.1)

Research projects

  • 2020: Analysis of a Greek Civil War commingled assemblage at the Forensic Anthropology Unit of Athens, Greece.
  • 2019, 2021: Analysis of the crania from the 1866 massacre of the Arkadi Monastery, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece.

Conference posters

  • Louka et al. (2013) An osteometric study on the concurrence of the articular surfaces of the atlantooccipital joint.Louka (2013)-EEBE poster.ppt
  • Louka et al (2019) Reassociating commingled human crania with first cervical vertebrae: An osteometric approach.AAFS 2019 Louka.pptx

Teaching in HE

  • June 2021-today: Supervision of master's dissertations in Forensic Anthropology (DL M.Sc. Forensic Science and Criminal Justice). University of Leicester, School of Chemistry.
  • February 2021-today: Teaching of the module "Introduction to Forensic Anthropology" from the Distance Learning (DL) M.Sc. program "Forensic Science and Criminal Justice". University of Leicester, School of Chemistry.
  • October 2017-December 2017: teaching assistant in "Human Skeletal Analysis" (undergrad, postgrad). University of Leicester, School of Archaeology and Ancient History.