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Dr Xanthe Mallett Biography

Updated on June 5, 2016

Dr Xanthe Mallett - Famous Forensic Anthropologist


Xanthe Mallett

Forensic anthropologist, criminologist, TV presenter, science-fan, animal lover
Forensic anthropologist, criminologist, TV presenter, science-fan, animal lover | Source

Academic Publication by Xanthe Mallett

Disaster Victim Identification: Experience and Practice (Global Perspectives on Disaster Victim Identification)
Disaster Victim Identification: Experience and Practice (Global Perspectives on Disaster Victim Identification)

A text on Disaster Management, this work offers practical advice for policy makers and disaster management experts. Viewing disaster management from a global perspective, this volume contains the combined input of academics, forensic specialists, trainers, and law enforcement professionals who focus on actual cases to honestly assess events and provide recommendations for improvement.


Xanthe Mallett - Academic Career

Xanthe Mallett's first degree was a Bachelor of Archaeological Sciences from the University of Bradford (UK) in 2002. She graduated with first class honours.

She gained her Masters in Biological Anthropological Sciences at the prestigious Cambridge University in 2003. Then she went on to complete a PhD in Forensic Human Identification at the University of Sheffield in 2007.

After her doctorate, Xanthe worked as a lecturer at the Dundee University Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification under Professor Sue Black up until the end of 2011. It was during that period that Xanthe participated in the "History Cold Case" TV series - see below.

She has been a lecturer at the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England (UNE), Armidale, New South Wales, Australia since March 2012. This represents a change in direction for Xanthe. She moved to Australia because criminology is more developed in Australia with more opportunities for career progression. She said that she is becoming more interested in exploring the motivation behind the crime rather than just the post-crime identification processes. The role at UNE will hopefully allow her to pursue this in depth.

Her current areas of supervision at UNE include:

  • Forensic anthropology
  • human craniofacial biometrics
  • behavior patterns of people who abuse children
  • the use of the Internet in child abuse.

Xanthe has authored various research papers in criminal science including clandestine grave site identification, body recovery, and race and gender issues in relation to violent crime. She has been published in many journals including the International Journal of Legal Medicine and the Journal of Forensic Sciences. She has currently published sixteen works with more pending. If you are interested in reading some of Xanthe's work follow this link to some of her publications.

Xanthe's memberships include the British Association for Human Identification.

She won the the Brian Cox Award for Excellence in Public Engagement of Research (An internal award within the University of Dundee (jointly awarded with S Black, C. Wilkinson, and P. Randolph-Quinney in 2010.

Xanthe's particular areas of academic expertise include hand identification, the use of the internet in child abuse, and the legal admissibility of facial recognition evidence. Of course she also has many other areas of interest. She has been involved in collaborative work with criminal agencies including the FBI on a research basis and actively giving expert evidence at criminal trials as well as assisting criminal agencies to identify and apprehend criminals.

As an academic, Xanthe is extremely involved in getting young people interested in science. Her media career is part of her outreach work in getting the community more involved and more interested in science. In speaking about her passion for outreach, Xanthe said "I don’t want everyone to be a forensic anthropologist, if I can just inspire like one kid to stick to science, then I’ve kind of done my job really."

Xanthe Mallett in History Cold Case

History Cold Case Series Two Cover


The Decryptors - Grave Robbers in Cincinnati featuring Xanthe Mallett

Xanthe's TV and Media Career

Xanthe enjoyed one of the leading roles in the 2010 & 2011 BBC/National Geographic UK hit series "History Cold Case" as part of the team from the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee in the UK. See below for more information.

Following "History Cold Case", Xanthe presented a similar style of series in the United States called "The Decrypters".

Xanthe was also a presenter for a series about Jack the Ripper - National Treasures for the BBC. This gave the production a strongly scientific focus.

She presented for the first series of History Chanel series "Coast Australia". This show follows in the footsteps of the BAFTA winning TV show "Coast" about the history of the British Coast line. "Coast Australia" premiered on Foxtel in the second half of 2013. A second series is in production.

Another production Xanthe's expertise features in is "Wanted" - a true crime/unsolved crime show which aired in Australia from 8 July 2013. "Wanted" promotes community involvement in solving crime. Sometimes police only need one more clue and the public might be able to provide it. "Wanted" will use social media and local reporters, hoping to highlight new information on unsolved crimes. In the first episode, Xanthe went to the eerie Belanglo State Forest to look at the case of 'Angel', a young murder victim. Police say that 'Angel' was not murdered by Ivan Milat, but they have no idea who did murder her or who 'Angel' really is.

Xanthe also regularly appears as an expert in radio, television and newspaper interviews.

History Cold Case - Woman and Three babies Episode

History Cold Case - the head reconstructions

Xanthe Mallett - History Cold Case

History Cold Case is a new style of TV show starring academics directly performing community service using their skills in archaeology and forensic anthropology.

The team from History Cold case, led by the resolute and staggeringly knowledgeable Professor Sue Black, examines the skeletons of everyday people from all time periods. They solve shocking crimes and mysteries, sometimes hundreds and even thousands of years old, using scientific method. Their means of inquiry include DNA, carbon dating, facial reconstruction and archaeological examination. Xanthe's role is often more on the archaeological side. She investigates the historical record and interviews relevant experts and interested parties.

Usually the skeletons are presented to the team by interested community organisations, such as local historical societies. The end of each episode usually involves the team directly presenting their findings to the community resulting in a fascinating blend of science and human emotion. Communities are able to discover more about their past and come to terms with events which more often that not are disturbing to them. The facial reconstructions displayed to the local communities are especially moving and evocative.

There are two series of History Cold Case. Full episodes can be seen on YouTube. If you enjoy archaeology or murder mysteries or just want to watch some really excellent TV - definitely watch History Cold Case.

Professor Sue Black and Dr Xanthe Mallett


© 2013 Mel Jay


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    • profile image

      Linda Marinkovich 

      4 weeks ago

      I love your History Cold Case series. I have watched almost both seasons and wish there were more. Since I do geneaology and my ancestors are from England, Ireland and Germany (generally speaking) I feel very related to your stories. Thank you all for your information and sharing your findings with us. I was hoping the Kinght at Sterling would have been a Templar.


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      fascinante , vous etes réellement fascinante !

    • Mel Jay profile imageAUTHOR

      Mel Jay 

      5 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Mel, I admire Xanthe's tenacity and am fascinated by her field. But I am not sure I could stomach some of the things she routinely deals with. It's great she decided to move over here to Australia, but I am sure there is more to that story that what I could find out..thanks for the comment - Mel

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      5 years ago from San Diego California

      Sounds like a fascinating woman. I love history, so I will have to tune in to the History Cold Case program. Thank you for alerting your audience to this program. Very well written and informative hub.


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