Maria Teresa Ferreira is PhD in Anthropology, branch of Forensic Anthropology, and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Coimbra. In the present, she is Coordinator of the Master of Forensic Anthropology and Vice-Coordinator for the branch of Forensic Anthropology of the PhD in Anthropology, both from the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Coimbra; Vice-deputy of the Centre for Functional Ecology ¿ Science for People & the Planet; Curator of the Collection of Identified Skeletons of the 21st Century, Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra. She is the PI of the research on the osteological collection of skeletons of African enslaved individuals exhumed from the Valle da Gafaria (Lagos, 15th-17th centuries). She investigates mainly in the areas of Forensic Anthropology and Bioarchaeology. She worked, for a decade, on archaeological excavations (various chronologies, from the Mesolithic to the 20th century). She participated in nine forensic humanitarian missions in three continents, highlighting her participation in the Preservation of Memories Program of the Portuguese League of Combatants, and in the forensic expertise of the October 2017 massive bushfires in Portugal. She was also part of the BioCol-HIVs Project, funded by Indiana University, dedicated to Political, Social, and Cultural History of the Emergence of HIV/AIDS. She is currently part of the team of the Bakeng se Afrika Project (an Erasmus+ project). She has about 150 publications in articles and book chapters, and delivered around 240 communications and posters at congresses / seminars. She supervises 12 of master's and 6 doctoral theses, and 41 completed masters.

Personal identification

Full name
Maria Teresa Ferreira

Citation names

  • Ferreira, Maria Teresa
  • Ferreira, Maria

Author identifiers

Ciência ID


Mobile phone
  • 914556878 (Personal)


  • Departamento de Ciências da Vida - UC, Calçada Martim de Freitas, 3000-456, Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal (Professional)


  • http://lfa.uc.pt/member/maria-teresa-ferreira/ (Professional)

Knowledge fields

  • Medical and Health Sciences - Other Medical Sciences - Forensic Science


Language Speaking Reading Writing Listening Peer-review
Portuguese (Mother tongue)
English Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1)
French Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1) Intermediate (B1)
Spanish; Castilian Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1) Beginner (A1)
Degree Classification
Antropologia (Doutoramento)
Major in Antropologia Forense
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
"Ferreira MT. 2012. Para lá da morte: Estudo tafonómico da decomposição cadavérica e da degradação óssea e implicações na estimativa do intervalo pós-morte. Tese de Doutoramento em Antropologia Forense, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de C" (THESIS/DISSERTATION)
Distinção e Louvor

Teaching in Higher Education

Host institution
2019/02/04 - Current Assistant Professor (University Teacher) Universidade de Coimbra Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Portugal
2014/10/20 - 2019/02/03 Invited Assistant Professor (University Teacher) Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


Host institution
2008/12/29 - 2013/10/16 Sócia; Antropóloga; Gestora Dryas Arqueologia Lda, Portugal
Dryas Arqueologia Lda, Portugal
2005/07/19 - 2013/10/16 Sócia fundadora; Gerente; Antropóloga Styx, estudos de Antroplogia Lda., Portugal


Designation Funders
2019 - 2021/06/30 Bakeng se Afrika
Bakeng se Afrika
Erasmus Plus, Belgium
Erasmus Plus
2016 - 2017/12/31 IRonBONE
PTDC /IVC ANT/1201/2014
Universidade de Coimbra Centro de Investigação em Antropologia e Saúde, Portugal
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
2015 - 2016/05/31 Evidence of violence and maltreatment in the 15th-17th centuries: African slaves buried at Valle da Gafaria (Lagos, Portugal)
Sem referência
Principal investigator
Archaeological Institute of America, United States
Archaeological Institute of America


Designation Funders
2010 - 2013/02/02 iLab.Arq – programa operacional em Geociências e Arqueologia aplicado à indústria do património histórico e cultural
QREN 2010, Portugal
QREN 2010


Book chapter
  1. Cunha, Eugénia; Ferreira, Maria Teresa; Cordeiro, Cristina; Vieira, Duarte Nuno. "Making the Best of Limited Resources and Challenges Faced in Human Rights Investigations". In Case Studies in Forensic Anthropology, 225-232. CRC Press, 2019.
  2. Cunha, Eugénia; Ferreira, Maria Teresa; Codinha, Sónia; Carnim, Gonçalo; Marques, Carina; Umbelino, Cláudia. "Recovering memories of the Portuguese Colonial War through forensic anthropology". In Forensic archaeology, 479-488. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2015.
  3. Ferreira, Maria. "The Mesolithic Skeletons from Muge: the 21st century excavations". In Muge 150th: the 150th Anniversary of the Discovery of Mesolithic Shellmiddens. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.
  4. Silva, Ana Maria; Boaventura, Rui; Ferreira, Maria Teresa; Marques, Rui. "Skeletal evidence of interpersonal violence from Portuguese Late Neolithic collective burials". In Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones, 317-340. Oxford University Press, 2012.
  5. Ferreira, Maria. "História de um arrabalde durante os séculos XV e XVI: o "poço dos negros" em Lagos (Algarve, Portugal) e o seu contributo para o estudo dos escravos em Portugal". In A Herança do Infante, 29-46. Lisboa, Portugal: CHAM, CEPCEP e Câmara Municipal de Lagos, 2011.
Journal article
  1. David Gonçalves; Ana R. Vassalo; Calil Makhoul; Giampaolo Piga; Adriana P. Mamede; Stewart F. Parker; Maria T. Ferreira; et al. "Chemosteometric regression models of heat exposed human bones to determine their pre-burnt metric dimensions". American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2020): https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24104.
  2. Sofia N. Wasterlain; Ana Isabel Rufino; Liliana M. Carvalho; Maria Teresa Ferreira. "Enamel hypoplasia in African enslaved individuals from Valle da Gafaria, Lagos, Portugal (15th–17th centuries)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2020): https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.2917.
  3. Mariana Pedrosa; Francisco Curate; Luís A. E. Batista de Carvalho; Maria Paula M. Marques; Maria Teresa Ferreira. "Beyond metrics and morphology: the potential of FTIR-ATR and chemometrics to estimate age-at-death in human bone". International Journal of Legal Medicine 134 5 (2020): 1905-1914. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-020-02310-3.
  4. Maria Teresa Ferreira; Catarina Coelho; Calil Makhoul; David Navega; David Gonçalves; Eugénia Cunha; Francisco Curate. "New data about the 21st Century Identified Skeletal Collection (University of Coimbra, Portugal)". International Journal of Legal Medicine (2020): https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-020-02399-6.
  5. Sofia N. Wasterlain; Ana Isabel Rufino; Maria Teresa Ferreira. "Dental caries and intentional dental modification in a skeletal sample of enslaved Africans from Lagos, Portugal (15th–17th centuries)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 30 1 (2020): 109-113. https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.2827.
  6. Sofia Antunes; Leoni Lauricio Fagundes; Sofia N. Wasterlain; Maria Teresa Ferreira. "Variação anatómica: análise de caracteres nãométricos do esqueleto pós-craniano em escravos africanos dos séculos XV–XVII (Lagos, Portugal)". Antropologia Portuguesa 36 (2019): 93-109. https://doi.org/10.14195/2182-7982_36_5.
  7. Maria Teresa Ferreira; Catarina Coelho; Eugénia Cunha; Sofia N. Wasterlain. "Evidences of trauma in adult African enslaved individuals from Valle da Gafaria, Lagos, Portugal (15th-17th centuries)". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine 65 (2019): 68-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jflm.2019.05.005.
  8. Maria Teresa Ferreira; Catarina Coelho; Sofia N. Wasterlain. "Discarded in the trash: Burials of African enslaved individuals in Valle da Gafaria, Lagos, Portugal (15th-17th centuries)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2019): https://doi.org/10.1002/oa.2747.
  9. Ana Amarante; Maria Teresa Ferreira; Calil Makhoul; Ana Rita Vassalo; Eugénia Cunha; David Gonçalves. "Preliminary results of an investigation on postmortem variations in human skeletal mass of buried bones". Science & Justice 59 1 (2019): 52-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2018.08.002.
  10. Ferreira, Maria. "Eco-geographic adaptations in the human ribcage throughout a 3D geometric morphometric approach". American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2018):
  11. Ferreira, Maria. "Growth faltering in a skeletal sample of enslaved nonadult Africans found at Lagos, Portugal (15th–17th centuries)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2018):
  12. Ferreira, Maria. "Ancestry estimation based on morphoscopic traits in a sample of African slaves from Lagos, Portugal (15th-17th centuries)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2017):
    (DOI: 10.1002/oa.2542)
  13. Ferreira, Maria. "The G-force awakens: the influence of gravity in bone heat-induced warping and its implications for the estimation of the pre-burning condition of human remains.". Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences (2017):
    (DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2017.1340521)
  14. Ferreira, Maria. "Application of Forensic Anthropology to Non-forensic Issues: 1) an experimental taphonomic approach to the study of human body decomposition in aerobic conditions.". Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences (2017):
    (DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2017.1329850)
  15. Ferreira, Maria. "Periapical lesions in intentionally modified teeth in a skeletal sample of enslaved Africans (Lagos, Portugal)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2017):
    (DOI: 10.1002/oa.2539)
  16. Ferreira, Maria. "Dental modifications in a skeletal sample of enslaved Africans found at Lagos (Portugal)". International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2016):
    DOI: 10.1002/oa.2453
  17. Ferreira, Maria. "Applying standardized decomposition stages when estimating the PMI of buried remains: reality or fiction?". Journal of Forensic Sciences (2016):
    (DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2016.1212268)
  18. Ferreira, Maria. "One for all and all for one: linear regression from the mass of individual bones to assess human skeletal mass completeness.". American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2016):
    (DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22979)
  19. Ferreira, Maria. "Reliability of weathering in the estimation of the post-mortem interval of human remains buried in coffins". Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences (2016):
    (DOI: 10.1080/00450618.2016.1257066)
  20. Ferreira, Maria. "A method for sex estimation using the proximal femur.". Forensic Science International (2016):
  21. Ferreira, Maria. "Cortical bone loss in a sample of human skeletons from the Muge Shell middens.". Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2016):
    (DOI: 10.1007/s12520-016-0402-4)
  22. Ferreira, Maria. "AncesTrees: ancestry estimation with randomized decision trees". International Journal of Legal Medicine (2015):
    DOI 10.1007/s00414-014-1050-9
  23. Ferreira, Maria. "CraMs: Craniometric Analysis Application Using 3D Skull Models.". IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (2015):
  24. Ferreira, Maria. "Growth problems in a skeletal sample of children abandoned at Santa Casa da Misericórdia, Faro, Portugal (16th–19th centuries).". Anthropological Science (2015):
    (DOI: 10.1537/ase.150629)
  25. Ferreira, Maria. "A New Forensic Collection housed at the University of Coimbra Portugal: the 21st Century Identified Skeletal Collection.". Forensic Science International. (2014):
  26. Ferreira, Maria. "Genetic Evidence of African Slavery at the Beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade". Sci. Rep. 4 (2014):
  27. Ferreira, M.T.; Neves, M.J.; Wasterlain, S.N.. "Lagos leprosarium (Portugal): Evidences of disease". Journal of Archaeological Science 40 5 (2013): 2298-2307. http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84873899678&partnerID=MN8TOARS.
  28. Ferreira, M.T.; Cunha, E.. "Can we infer post mortem interval on the basis of decomposition rate? A case from a Portuguese cemetery". Forensic Science International 226 1-3 (2013): http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84875578556&partnerID=MN8TOARS.
  29. Ferreira, Maria. "A decomposição cadavérica e as dificuldades de gestão dos espaços funerários.". Antropologia Portuguesa (2013):
    (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14195/2182-7982_31_4)


Thesis Title
Degree Subject (Type)
Institution / Organization
2020/09/01 - Current When chemistry meets anthropology: taphonomy and trauma of burned bones
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
2019/10/01 - Current Intervalo postmortem, o desafio da Antropologia Forense - luminol, fluorescência UV e difração de raios-x. Bolsa FCT: SFRH/BD/145225/2019.
Doutoramento em Antropologia, especialidade em Antropologia Forense. (PhD)
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
2019 - Current How to stop time: Shedding light on spontaneous mummification while developing a method for postmortem interval estimation on mummified bodies. Bolsa FCT: SFRH/BD/143242/2019.
Doutoramento em Antropologia, especialidade em Antropologia Forense. (PhD)
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal


2019 Menção Honrosa atribuída a 16 de outubro de 2019, pela F.C.T.U.C., pelos resultados dos inquéritos pedagógicos do ano letivo de 2018/2019
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
2018 Prémio Melhor Poster: Pedrosa M, Silva EC, Teixeira F, Coelho C, Ferreira MT. 2018. Traumatismos esqueléticos perimortais: um caso de estudo. BeAnthropology – I Encontro Nacional de Estudantes de Antropologia. Coimbra, 6-8 abril.
2018 Menção Honrosa Poster: Monteiro C, Ferreira MT, Gonçalves D, Curate F. 2018. Análise exploratória da densidade mineral óssea nos fémures esquerdo e direito: implicações para o estudo da perda de massa óssea. VI Jornadas Portuguesas de Paleopatologia. Coim
2017 Menção Honrosa atribuída a 12 de outubro de 2017, pela F.C.T.U.C., pelos resultados dos inquéritos pedagógicos do ano letivo de 2016/2017
Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
2014 Prémio Melhor Artigo: Neves L, Dias P, Coelho C, Ferreira MT, Santos H, Santos BS. 2014. Medidas e deteção de estruturas morfológicas para craniometria usando modelos 3D. 21º Encontro Português de Computação Gráfica. Leiria
2014 Prémio Melhor Comunicação: Rufino AI, Ferreira MT, Wasterlain S. 2014. Modificações dentárias intencionais e patologia oral: estudo de uma amostra de escravos africanos do século XV a XVII de Lagos (Portugal). IV Jornadas Portuguesas de Paleopatologia. Co

Other distinction

2009 Citação Elogiosa da Liga dos Combatentes (relativa à participação no Programa Estruturante “Conservação das Memórias”)