July 23, 2014

3:34 PM | 400-Year-Old Crucifix Found by Canadian Student
A tiny crucifix found during the excavation of a 17th century colony on Newfoundland symbolizes early religious freedom in North America. Continue reading →

July 22, 2014

3:15 PM | How long was the average Roman foot, and what was their shoe size?
Archaeologist Eric Poehler just keeps coming with the questions about Roman walking and feet.  Today, he wanted to know the size of the Roman foot.  In my last post, I'd kind of given up on the idea of figuring out foot size, since I didn't think I had any foot measurements.  Then I remembered this morning that of course I have calcaneus maximum length.  The trick was to find a formula using calcaneus maximum length to approximate foot size.Sandaled foot from the Augustan […]
1:42 PM | Weddings and the Dead
I’ve been thinking about weddings a lot recently. It’s not just that I’m planning my own wedding which is less than ten weeks away, I’m also in my little brother’s […]
8:50 AM | An Example of Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the Archaeological Record
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), more commonly known as ‘brittle bone’ disease is a condition which causes bones to be fragile and break easily. I have a personal interest in this condition and therefore wondered if there was any evidence of the condition in the archaeological record. A quick search produced this article ‘Osteogenesis Imperfecta in the […]

July 21, 2014

12:20 PM | The Crowning of the Lion
Deep in a single square metre of trench D at Landsjö castle, on the inner edge of the dry moat, we found five identical coins. Boy are they ugly. They’re thin, brittle, made of a heavily debased silver alloy and struck only from one side; they bear no legend and the image at the centre…

July 18, 2014

8:49 PM | July Pieces Of My Mind #1
This lady in Wyoming sends me a picture of “sacred procreation rocks”, one looking like the sideways outline of an erect cock and the other simply with a hole in it. “They were found less than a few thousand feet from each other.” In the picture, the cock stone is helpfully pointed at the hole.…
4:11 PM | How long was the average Roman stride?
Eric Poehler (@Pompeiana79) posed this question on Twitter this morning. Katy Meyers (@BonesDoNotLie) and Keith Chan (@ChekeiChan) commented that there are formulae to estimate stride based on height. The forensic articles I found were actually going in the reverse -- from footfalls/strides to height (which makes sense if you want to find a murder, for example).  Keith suggested exercise medicine articles, and the most often-quoted article, Hatano, Y. "Use of the pedometer for […]
12:54 PM | The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld – Guards! Guards! Guards!
This is the 8th Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett and the first to include the Watch. The Watch is the law enforcement of Ankh Morpork who patrols the streets, although they don’t have a big job as the Thieves’ Guild is self regulating. However, they become more active after a new recruit, Carrot, joins and […]
8:07 AM | Week 16 at the Royal College of Surgeons
There’s not a lot to say about today’s work. The boxes of bones I went through consisted of elements of the arm and shoulder. These included the scapula (shoulder blade), humerus and the individual hand bones. There wasn’t much to look at with any of the bones, particularly the humerus and scapulars. However there were […]

July 16, 2014

11:04 AM | Day of Archaeology 2014
Last Friday, the 11th of July, was the annual Day of Archaeology! It is when we archaeologists creep out of our offices, labs, archives and trenches and share with you what our day, a normal Friday in July, looks like. … Continue reading →

July 15, 2014

5:37 PM | Craniosynostosis
I was searching for some information about the process and progression of infant skull growth when I came across a condition called craniosynostosis. According to NHS Choices it is a condition which causes abnormal shaped heads in babies due to the premature fusing of some of the sutures in the skull. This means that growth […]
3:55 PM | Medieval Italian Skeleton Reveals Livestock Disease
A sip of unpasteurized sheep or goat's milk may have spelled doom for a medieval Italian man.
2:53 PM | Presenting Anthropology - New Links to Others' Cool Stuff
Ever since I taught Presenting Anthropology, a graduate proseminar, in the spring of 2013, I've been thinking about new and different ways to do public outreach and have been saving links to clever projects by others.  Here are a few links I came across this morning and had to share:Drunk Archaeology -- Two students in my Presenting Anthropology course (Zach and Andy) created a Drunk Archaeology video on analogy with Drunk History, starring fellow grad student Will.  Because they are […]
12:53 PM | Using the Dead to Understand Access to Water
As humans, we cannot survive without water. In the first world, we are privileged to have consistent access to fresh clean water. In many countries, access to water is based […]

Lightfoot, E., Šlaus, M. & O'Connell, T. (2014). Water consumption in Iron Age, Roman, and Early Medieval Croatia, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 154 (4) 535-543. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22544

Editor's Pick

July 14, 2014

1:00 PM | Ancient Coins Found Buried in British Cave
Digging through a cave in central Britain, archaeologists uncovered 26 ancient gold and silver coins belonging to the Corieltauvi tribe.
12:20 PM | Coin Challenges Written Record
A fun thing about historical archaeology, the archaeological study of areas and periods with abundant indigenous written documentation, is when the archaeology challenges the written record. According to the patchily preserved historical sources, Landsjö hamlet was a seat of the high nobility in about 1280 but then became tenant farms no later than 1340. This…

July 12, 2014

10:52 PM | Some Figures from the Discworld
As I’m visiting my Mum this weekend I don’t have the ‘Wit and Wisdom of Discworld’ on me. However, I do have all of my Mum’s books and figurines of the Discworld figures so I thought I would share some of my favourites instead. Every since I can remember my Mum has been collecting the […]
1:30 PM | Cursed, 450-Year-Old Shipwreck To Be Explored
The cold, dark waters of the Baltic Sea have preserved the Mars, a Swedish war ship that sank in 1564.

July 11, 2014

5:12 PM | Day of Archaeology 2014: Codes, Bones and a Backstory
Happy Day of Archaeology 2014! It is a day where archaeologists from all around the world share what they are doing in order to spread awareness of the breadth and diversity […]

July 10, 2014

6:05 PM | Week 15 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons
A slightly greyer and cooler day yesterday – a good insight into the British weather! One week it’s gorgeous sunshine the next it’s grey and threatening to rain! Never mind, what ever the weather I always enjoy my Thursdays. This week I wasn’t in my own but had another volunteering working with me. It was […]
5:17 PM | 200-Year-Old Bottle of Seltzer Found in Shipwreck
Still corked, the perfectly preserved stoneware bottle was produced in the early 1800s by Selters, one of the oldest mineral waters in Europe. Continue reading →
12:20 PM | Earliest Case of Down Syndrome Found in Medieval Cemetery
The earliest case of Down syndrome comes from a 5- to 7-year-old child who lived in medieval France some 1,500 years ago.

July 09, 2014

8:56 PM | Ruin On An Islet
Landsjö castle is on a high islet in the lake next to the modern manor house. Nobody ever goes there. The ruins are covered by vegetation and they’re in bad shape: only along the western side of the islet do they rise even a metre above the rubble and accumulated forest mulch. Visible is a…
1:21 PM | Clothing the Dead in Ancient Peru
Why is clothing on the dead so important? Because what we choose to put on our bodies conveys social meanings about our wealth, our status, and the social groups we […]

Baitzel, S. & Goldstein, P. (2014). More than the sum of its parts: Dress and social identity in a provincial Tiwanaku child burial, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 35 51-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2014.04.001


July 08, 2014

1:55 PM | Long-Lost Iron Age Temple Unearthed in Iraq
The discoveries date back over 2,500 years to the Iron Age, a time period when several groups vied for supremacy over what is now northern Iraq.

July 07, 2014

9:00 PM | Mysterious Earthen Rings Predate Amazon Rainforest
Square, straight and ringlike ditches scattered throughout the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon were there before the rainforest existed, study finds.
8:35 PM | The Index of Care for Bioarchaeologists
I was looking through some past articles from the International Journal of Paleopathology when the following title caught my eye: ‘Introducing the Index of Care: A web-based application supporting archaeological research into health-related care.’  A quick read through the article supporting this application indicates that it aims to do what it says on the tin! […]

July 06, 2014

5:57 PM | Real or Replica?
Originally posted on Deathsplanation:A few days ago I came across this photo that had been posted on the The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice Facebook page, run by Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris. It was captioned, “A skeleton of a mother, and her baby, who both died during her pregnancy.” The photo in question – is this real or…
5:54 PM | The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld – Soul Music
I’ve chosen Soul Music as the next installment for my ‘Wit and Wisdom of Discworld’ as I couldn’t resist doing another Death novel. I think they are easily my faviourite collection of books by Terry Pratchett. Re-reading these small snippets of the books are making want to go back and read them all again. Unfortunately, […]

July 04, 2014

7:33 PM | A Look at the Accuracy of Dental Age Estimation Charts
So it’s now the 4th of July and I haven’t created a new skull of the month and I don’t think I will. Over the past few months I’ve been really rubbish at updating my blog and the reason behind that – I’ve been applying for jobs and working out what I’m going to do […]
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