Maria Liston


Maria Liston
Office:  PAS 2016

Phone: 519-888-4567 x43050



Maria Liston received her BA in Classics from King College in Bristol, Tennessee and her MA in Classics from Indiana University. She then completed a BA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. She pursues research as a skeletal biologist and archaeologist, focusing on the excavation and analysis of human remains and their mortuary contexts. She recently co-authored The Agora Bone Well, a study of a deposit containing 449 infant and fetal skeletons, probably deposited by midwives working in Hellenistic Athens, Greece. This deposit included the oldest case of battered child syndrome known from the archaeological record. Recently she has begun work on a well from the Swiss excavations at Eretria, Greece that also has a large number of infant skeletons in the fill and promises to provide an important comparison to the Agora well. She also is currently documenting skeletons from an early Christian cemetery found in in the Sanctuary of Ismenian Apollo in Thebes. This cemetery was associated with an early hospice or hospital; many of the individuals buried there suffered from leprosy. She welcomes inquiries from graduate students who would like to carry out research in these areas.

Selected Publications

L. P. Day and M.A. Liston, et al.  (In Press) Kavousi: The Early Iron Age Cemeteries at Vronda: Vol. IVA: The Cremation Enclosures; Vol.IVB The Tholos Tombs and Specialist Reports. Institute for Aegean Prehistory Academic Press.

Smith, S.K. and M.A. Liston, 2020. “Myositis Ossificans Traumatica with Associated Pseudarthroses in an Adult Male from Late Bronze Age Athens, Greece. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 2020: 1-5.  doi: 10.1002/oa.2866

Liston, M.A.  2019. “Skeletal Evidence for the Impact of Battle on Soldiers and Non-Combatants.”  In L.L. Brice, ed. New Approaches to Greco-Roman Warfare. Wiley-Blackwell, 81-94.

Stewart, A. and M.A. Liston, 2019.  Bathing Beauties: Hygiene, Hydrotherapy, and the Female Nude: An Early Hellenistic Bronze Case-Mirror from Elis.  In B. Robinson, S. Bouffier, and I. F. Ortega (eds.), Ancient Waterlands, Presses Universitaires de Provence,117-129.

Cosmopoulos, M., C. Shelton, D. Ruscillo, D. Riebe, M. A. Liston, and S. E. Allen, 2019. “The Chronology of Mycenaean States: New Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 14C Dates from Iklaina,” Journal of Archaeological Science, 24: 888-899.

M. A. Liston, S. Rotroff, L.M. Snyder. 2018 The Agora Bone Well. Hesperia Supplement 50, Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Papadopoulos, J.K., E.L. Smithson, with contributions from M.A. Liston, D. Ruscillo, S. Strack, and E. Dimitriadou,  2018. Excavations in the Athenian Agora XXXVI: The Early Iron Age: The Cemeteries. Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Liston, M.A., 2017.  “From Birth to Death and all the Problems in Between: Disease, Disability, and Death in Ancient Greece.” In A. Glazebrook and C. Vester, eds., Themes in Greek Society and Culture. Oxford University Press, 241-266. Revised 2nd Edition, forthcoming, 2021.

Liston, M. A. and Rotroff, Susan I.  2013. “Babies in the Well: Archaeological Evidence for Newborn Disposal in Hellenistic Greece.” In T. Parkin and J. Evans-Grubbs, eds. Oxford Handbook of Childhood and Education in the Classical World, pp. 62-81. (Translated and Reprinted: 2013 “Des bébés dans un puits: un témoignage de l’abandon des nouveau-nés en Grèce hellénistique”. Dossiers d'Archeologie 356:74-79.)

Liston, M. A. 2012 “Reading the Bones: Interpreting the Skeletal Evidence for Women’s Lives in Ancient Greece.” In S.A. James and S. Dillon, eds. A Companion to Women in the Ancient Mediterranean, Blackwells’ Companions to the Ancient World, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 125-140.

Video Lectures

2020 - A Tale of Two Wells: Mothers, Midwives, and Perinatal Infant Mortality in Athens and Eretria, Greece. Canadian Institute in Greece, Athens, 2019-2020 Lecture Series.

2017 - Murder in the Agora: Violent Death and Illicit burial in Ancient Athens. Canadian Institute in Greece, Athens, 2016-2017 Lecture Series.

2017 - Plagues, Pestilence, and Other Dreadful Diseases in Byzantine Thebes. Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory Lecture at the American School of Classical Studies.

2017 - Deviant Burial and the Dangerous Dead in Ancient Athens. Aegean Lectures. Aegeus - Society for Aegean Prehistory.

2016 - Inside the Wiener Lab. American School of Classical Studies, Athens.