Here is our latest newsletter, packed full of information…
In one of my previous posts; Death and Art, I mentioned that a group of art students had visited the Eastbourne Ancestors lab to research and draw skeletal remains. The students were from the Part-time Foundation Diploma in Art and Design class, led by Elaine Cameron from Eastbourne’s Sussex Downs College .
The students were working on a project based around ‘Collection’ (and ‘Structure’- a separate project). This involved considering the ethical, social and political implications of collections from a variety of museums, galleries and individuals and developing personal responses through art.
The students have now completed their inspired project pieces, and Elaine has sent me posters (laminated- apologies for the sheen on the photos below) of their work which I found amazing. I thought I’d share a few of these with you here. Unfortunately I don’t know the titles of these pieces, so I’ve given them basic names.
These pieces have been created by individuals who are not archaeologists, and to me its great to see how they have captured the different aspects of the project. This has helped me to see that I can reach out to individuals in other sectors and inspire them with an archaeologists curiosity.
The first pieces that caught my eye were these skeleton images, you can really appreciate the form and structure of the human skeleton.
These pieces make me think of accessibility. Access to collections; public or private, access to archaeology; buried or excavated, or general lost and found.
My favourite pieces are these, which I may borrow for the Eastbourne Ancestors Saxon Festival. The use of the Scrabble tiles is very interactive, and allows individuals to get involved and express their opinions.
I like this piece because it makes me think about the structure of bone, how fragile it can be, but also how strong to survive for thousands of years.
This piece is interesting in that its inspired by archaeologists and their record keeping. The English Heritage logo and the Council for British Archaeology are mentioned on the box, but these organisations don’t have anything to do with the site or the boxes contents (just in case anyone was wondering).
These are a selection of pieces from the students who visited the Eastbourne Ancestors Project.
What do you think?
I’ve got some big news!
The Heritage Lottery Funded Eastbourne Ancestors Project have booked Regia Anglorum, a living history re-enactment group to set up a Saxon village in Eastbourne! This group is well-known for their excellence in public interpretation and interaction.
The event is particularly relevant to the project as we are currently examining the human remains from two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries within Eastbourne (along with skeletons from other eras in the collection). Regia portrays this period to the public, putting ‘flesh on the bones’ and giving us a glimpse as to how Eastbourne’s Saxon inhabitants may have lived.
The Eastbourne Ancestors Saxon Festival will take place over the May Day Bank Holiday (Saturday 4th – Monday 6th May 2013) in Gildredge Park, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
Saturday 4th May 11:00am to 17:00pm
Sunday 5th May 10:00am to 17:00pm
Monday 6th May 10:00 to 17:00pm
The event is FREE thanks to our HLF funding for the project.
The Eastbourne Ancestors team will have a stall promoting the project, so come and see what we have been discovering. You may even want to sign up to become a Museum Service volunteer and get involved with our different activities.
We will also be celebrating our 1st Birthday.
We hope to see you there!
The Eastbourne Ancestors volunteers were having an interesting conversation today in the lab…discussing their ‘Top 10′ of Human Bones. Here is what they came up with…
#1 Ear Ossicles (Incus, Malleus & Stapes)
Described by my team as perfect and distinctive in shape.
Although enamel coated, the dentition is a fascinating part of the human skeleton. Very useful for isotope testing, analysing diet and lifestyle.
Interesting in shape, and the bone that seems to get knocked the most often (according to the volunteers).
#4 Phalanges (Distal)
A philosophical moment by the volunteers wondering what past people touched and felt using their fingers and toes.
#5 Vertebral Column
An amazing design of puzzle-like pieces supporting the body and at the same time giving us flexibility.
An odd-looking bone, we can analyse this bone to determine the biological sex of an individual.
A classic example of a bone, recognised by all (possibly due to the ‘skull & crossbones’ pirate flags). We can analyse this bone to determine the stature of an individual.
A student (Tori) was studying these bones for her MSc Bio Anth and ever since the volunteers have been interested in the physics and mechanics of this element.
One of my favourites (mainly because it looks like a gremlin. I don’t have a sensible answer).
This is the element that people seem to connect with the most, the one that draws the most emotive response.
What’s your favourite?
You can watch the trailer for the project here, (this video displays human remains).
I myself have gone for ‘The Quack’ package…(says it all really I guess).
I have been interested in human remains ever since I can remember, I was a morbid child, and I’ve rediscovered my interest in medical history because of Dr. Lindsey Fitzharris and her amazing work.
I’m an osteoarchaeologist (studying human and animal bones) and it’s fascinating what we can learn from the human skeleton in archaeology. Things like the age, sex and stature of an individual, lifestyle, status, metrics and disease for example. Studying the history of medicine is even more interesting as there are additional resources to analyse such as tools, documents, diaries, photographs, teaching aids, preserved specimens and more.
Studying the human skeleton, I’m only seeing part of the puzzle. By researching the history of medicine I’m beginning to learn about the manifestations of diseases and how different types present in soft tissue as well as understanding the effects on skeletal remains. I’ve always been interested in Leprosy as an example.
I think that ‘Medicine’s Dark Secrets’ is a project worth funding.
The students are currently working on an interesting ‘collection’ project. They are considering the ethical, social and political implications of collections from a variety of museums, galleries and individuals and developing personal responses through art. Elaine is hoping to exhibit the students work locally and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
The week beforehand the students had paid a visit to the Wellcome Collection to see the ‘Death: A Self Portrait’ exhibition. It’s a fabulous exhibition by Richard Harris, who has collected different pieces of art that represent death in varying ways. I will be visiting the exhibition next weekend which I’m very excited about and I’ll review it here afterwards.
As a contrast the art students visited the Eastbourne Ancestors project to learn more about the Museum collection and the ethics regarding human remains in an archaeological context. I gave them a tour of our current project and then organised a session of artefact drawing of the Anglo-Saxon objects.
The collection of memento mori is something I myself am interested in, having received two lovely etchings as presents this Christmas. As you will know by now, I have a morbid fascination with the dead, I want to learn about them, who they were, how they lived and died and that’s thanks to my background in archaeology and osteoarchaeology. A little weird, but that’s just me.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.