Marit Van Cant graduated magna cum laude as Master in Arts & Archaeology at the VUB (Free University of Brussels) in 2012. Since 2010 she has been specialising in human osteology by participating in several key courses at the LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center), Leiden University, and the University of Sheffield as part of an Erasmus exchange in 2011. Her master’s dissertation on 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 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 for the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), and in a joint PhD between VUB (supervisor prof. dr. Dries Tys) and the University of Sheffield (co-supervisor Prof. Dawn Hadley). Her doctoral research project involves the health status of rural and small urban populations in NW-Europe (1200-1860 AD), based on both new (six Belgian sites and one skeletal assemblage from the UK) and published bioarchaeological analyses, and with a particular emphasis on the use of musculoskeletal stress markers (MSM) or entheseal changes (EC). This approach in bioarchaeological studies intends to elucidate how repetitive activities could have an impact on muscle attachment sites, and might identify certain patterns in lifestyle on inter- and intra-population level. Additionally, archaeological and historical evidence from the discussed sites in this project will be juxtaposed with the osteological data.