27 April 2017

Digging up human stories: Recent archaeology in the South West

A one-day symposium exploring recent finds and new research in the Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset area.

A must for those already working in archaeology, osteology, anthropology and related fields, this will also be a fascinating day for armchair explorers, weekend historians, and anyone with an interest in the human stories beneath our feet.

Dr Nivean Speith
Care for the afterlife? The discovery of a Romano-British decapitation and its story
This talk will offer an insight into the discovery and interpretation of a decapitated female Romano-British skeleton from a burial enclosure found near Winterborne Kingston, Dorset. Find out what bioarchaeology can tell us about the way she lived and died, and why her story offers us some new perspectives on this seemingly grim ritual during Late Roman Britain.

Dr Rebecca Redfern
Skeletons: Our Buried Bones
As a Curator of Human Osteology at the Museum of London, Rebecca worked on the exhibition Skeletons: Our Buried Bones, from its first iteration at the Wellcome Collection in 2008 to its current version at M Shed including skeletons from Bristol. She discusses making new discoveries about the individuals you can see in the gallery.

Professor Kate Robson Brown
Health and healthcare in 19th century Bristol: what we can learn from the skeletons of our predecessors?
Using her research on skeletons excavated from burial grounds at a former Victorian convent at St Catherine’s Court in Clifton, and the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Kate explores how 19th century Bristol cared for its poorer residents – in life and death.

Kevin Potter and Dr Heidi Dawson-Hobbis
The burial ground of St George’s, Brandon Hill
In 2016 St George’s Bristol appointed Avon Archaeology to carry out excavations ahead of developing new facilities on its grounds. They uncovered 382 burials, finding unrecorded brick vaults in the process. The project presents an opportunity to study death, and by extension, life, within a diverse 19th century urban parish. Kevin discusses the excavation project and Heidi her initial analysis of the individuals found.

Graham Mullan and Gail Boyle
More than the Bare Bones of a Story
What do the bones tell us? A brief overview of laboratory analysis of skeletal material, covering radiocarbon dating, stable isotope analysis and statistical analysis of skeletal dimensions, illustrated by results from Bone Hole, Cheddar Gorge, and Skeleton Cave, Avon Gorge.

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