Human Osteoarchaeology at Winchester
- Discover the scientific methods used to determine age, sex and stature and disease in skeletal remains and try them for yourself
- Learn how bone analysis can enhance our understanding of archaeological sites and social history
- Hands-on session in small group with an extensive skeletal collection
The study of ancient human remains can reveal an astonishing amount about life as it was lived in the distant past. Using scientifi c and medical techniques, archaeologists are able to learn about individuals in incredible detail: age, sex, stature, health status and, occasionally, status and manner of death. From Ötzi the Iceman to Richard III - the science of osteology has been instrumental in adding to our knowledge of some of the greatest archaeological finds of recent years.
This day will introduce the techniques used in the study of archaeological human remains, through introductory lectures and extensive “hands-on” sessions with human remains. A rare opportunity to see a skeletal collection at Winchester Museum stores, led by Dr Katie Tucker from the University of Winchester. Learn basic skeletal anatomy, how to lay out a skeleton, how to determine age and sex and identify evidence of disease and trauma. Privileged encounters with the precious, unique and poignant human remains that have so much to teach us about the past.
"The unique hands-on opportunity [spending] a really good length of time laying out the skeleton and learning how to find out more about what bones can tell us." Guest comment
- Small Group
Meeting time / place
09:30 at Winchester Vineyard Church. Unit A. Bar End Industrial Estate. Winchester SO239NP
End time / place
16:30 at Winchester Museum Stores
We will begin the day with an introductory lecture about bones, their structure and their prominence and role in the archaeological record. Instructional session on the basics of ageing, sexing and metric analysis on a skeleton before a chance for a practical session.
A buffet-style lunch will be provided.
Learn how to identify and interpret pathologies and trauma in skeletal material to see how diseases such as tuberculosis and leprosy, common conditions such as arthritis and the fractures and injuries during life and at time of death manifest upon bone. Th is will be followed by a practical session where you can put what you’ve learned into practice.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Lunch - A buffet-style lunch will be provided
- Fact Sheet - Including background information about your Guide Lecturer, historical context for the Day, detailed itinerary, a suggested reading list and directions to the venue
The session in the afternoon with the bones was fantastic. I had not imagined that we would get to work on such interesting skeletons. The small group allowed for Katie to spend a good amount of time with each group.
I loved the day it was a good balance of theory and practical. It was great to be in a small group it allowed everyone to mix and get the most out of the day.
The opportunity to get 'hands on' with skeletal remains was immensely rewarding. Learning about their context added to the experience of building a human story from the evidence of bony pathology and trauma. To be able to determine not only that an individual had been beheaded, but also the angle and direction of the fatal blow was extraordinary.
Dr Tucker was an engaging presenter whose knowledge has enormous scope. In a group with a range of previous experience she responded to all questions at the level of the questioner and developed the answer to enable the whole group to understand.
We enjoyed every aspect of the day, from the very informative morning lectures by Dr Katy Tucker to the fascinating hands-on examination of skeletons in the afternoon. We really appreciated the chance to hear from someone as expert, well-informed and enthusiastic as Katy. And it was a real and rare privilege to see and handle the bones of three people whose stories came to life for us as Katy helped us to read the clues in the skeletons.
On the practical front, all of the staff at the venue were very helpful and enthusiastic and gave us a very nice (and generous) lunch.
having a knowledgeable lecturer. It was so much more interesting to work with real skeletons. The main skeleton I wokrd with was that of a woman from a leper hospital. I learnt so much about pathology and the diseases she was suffering from and made understanding her condition more real and allowed me to develop real empathy with her.
It was really interesting and a great privilege to be able to handle the skeletons and learn so much about them from an expert. The talks were very clear, but the chance to see things for ourselves was what really made the day special. We also enjoyed the tour of the stores at the end of the day. The lunch was excellent too!
I enjoyed the practical element, looking at how the bones can tell a story of a person's life and sometimes death. Katie imparted her knowledge in an enthusiastic, interesting and logical manner, facts intermixed with some anecdotes to illustrate them.
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What to expect
- An expert guide to accompany you throughout the Day
- A mixture of lectures, practical demonstrations, handling sessions, guided tours and walks
- Special access to museums, sites and galleries otherwise closed to the general public (where specified)
- Small Groups 12-25 guests
- The company of like-minded people!