Osteology and memory

Osteology is the archeological study of bones and the skeleton. I became fascinated with this subject after I was lucky enough to visit the bone archive at The Museum of LondonJelena Beklavac is the Curator of Human Osteology and was captivating as our guide. This tour became an important turning point for me, the ‘memory’ of lives lived are still contained within the bones. I was amazed at the enourmous amount we can learn with careful analysis of archeological human remains.

  • Estimated age at death
  • Sex
  • Height
  • Likely diet – teeth and tartar on teeth can inform us about diet and health
  • Cause of death – we were shown a vertebrea that had a clean cut all the way through showing a beheading.
  • Previous injuries – bumps, breaks that show healing proving that they were not the cause of death.
  • Ailments throughout life – illness can leave a trace on our bones.
  • Smoking a pipe can leave a mark on the teeth where the pipe would have been held.

I have become more and more fascinated with the whole topic and have been lucky enough to be given some books for Christmas that will allow me to explore this further.

The ‘memory’ contained within bone is the catalyst to explore further within my work.

books

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