osteology

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Review – Bodies of Evidence

The whereabouts of some of the estimated 1,700 men who died in captivity after the Battle of Dunar was not known until the discovery of human remains in two pits during building work at the city’s Palace Green Library in 2013. Today, a memorial plaque on the wall outside the library’s courtyard café commemorates those who were found at this spot and those who still lie buried beyond the boundaries of the excavation. It is at this most fitting venue that the exhibition Bodies of Evidence: how science unearthed Durham’s dark secret delves into research behind the identification of the excavated remains.

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A West Sussex execution victim?

Post-excavation analysis of a grave discovered on a hillside just north of Shoreham-by-Sea suggests that its Anglo-Saxon occupant may have met a violent end. The human remains were found by Archaeology South-East (the contracting division of the Centre for Applied Archaeology, University College London), who were working in advance of construction for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm within an area of the South Downs Way known for its prehistoric burials.

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Review – The Outcast Dead: the effect of the New Poor Law on the health and diet of London’s post-medieval poor

Based on the results of the author’s MPhil research at Durham University, this volume examines an intriguing hypothesis: that the introduction of the New Poor Law in 1834 had such a profound effect on the diet of the poor that it left visible traces on their bones. It does so by interrogating historical data, with an osteological assessment of the health of five buried populations.

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Science Notes – Let’s talk about sex… determination

In the first ‘Science Notes’ (CA 333), we discussed the identification of a possible female Viking warrior using ancient DNA analysis. This is a guaranteed way to confirm sex in human remains, but can be costly, time-consuming, and destructive to the bone, meaning that it is not feasible when a project needs to determine the sex of a large number of skeletons.

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Review – Skeletons: our buried bones

What can a dozen skeletons tell us about life and death in Britain through the ages? Lucia Marchini visits an exhibition at Leeds City Museum to find out. It is not uncommon for development-led archaeology to uncover human remains – fascinating traces of individuals otherwise lost to history, which often offer intimate insights into their […]

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Current Archaeology 333

It is a startling thought that (thanks to a quirk of the publishing process) this is the last issue of CA with 2017 as the cover date. There is plenty to look forward to in the new year though (not least our annual conference, 23-24 February – save the date!), even as we continue to […]

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Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate renovations reveal Quaker burial site

In March this year, work began on an ambitious project to restore and reunite Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion Estate buildings and garden, starting with a major refurbishment of the Grade 1 listed Brighton Dome Corn Exchange and Grade 2 listed Studio Theatre. During the course of this work – which will restore long-lost heritage features as well as provide new, state-of-the-art […]

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More evidence of ritual cannibalism at Gough’s Cave

It has long been known that the early humans who inhabited Gough’s Cave, Somerset, around 15,000 years ago practised cannibalism and modified certain human remains (such as turning skulls into cups for possibly ceremonial purposes). Now a newly published study focusing on an arm bone from the same assemblage has described evidence for what may […]

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