Eastbourne’s Ancestors Project 2012: News

I’ve been rather quiet (quieter than usual) on the blogging front. Apologies for that.

I’ve been kept very busy over the last week with my new job. That’s right, I’ve finally cracked the world of osteoarchaeology and archaeology, well for 18 months at least anyway.

I’m the Project Co-ordinator for the Heritage Lottery Funded Eastbourne Ancestors Project in the UK.

What the heck is that all about I hear you ask…well check out our page here:


And for those who don’t have Facebook, I’ll explain…

Eastbourne’s Ancestors is a Heritage Lottery Funded project run by Eastbourne Museum Service, which is part of Eastbourne’s Borough Council Service. We will be using the HLF grant to learn about the human remains in the collection and the artefacts associated with them.
The aims of the Project are:
  • To fully examine all the human skeletal remains in the Eastbourne Museum Service collection from the Eastbourne area in order to produce a demographic profile of the human remains.
  • This analysis will include: age, biological sex, stature, metrical analysis, non-metric traits, physical appearance, facial reconstruction, family connections, migration studies, diet, DNA, isotope studies and pathology.
  • We intend to produce a uniform method of analysing and reporting on all the human skeletal remains.
  • To complete full analysis and reporting on all human skeletal material in the collection.
  • To identify suitable specimens for further examination; isotope analysis, C14, DNA analysis, molecular osteology, x-raying of pathology, microscopy, facial reconstructions, restoration for possible display, moulding and casting.
  • All data will be recorded digitally and a full MODES record produced.
  • To DNA test a number of local people and compare with DNA from skeletal remains. Does Eastbourne still have any links to its Ancestors?
  • To produce a full exhibition of the Project’s results, an academic report and a guide to the Project published at its culmination.
  • Training of volunteers, leaving the Museum with a lasting legacy for the recording of newly acquired skeletal and archaeological material.
  • Public workshops, talks and demonstrations to be held as the project progresses to disseminate as much information to the widest audience possible.
  • Fieldwork exercise alongside the Project to encourage community participation in archaeology and get ‘hands-on’ with their Heritage. We have a Community excavation this summer: check www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk for more info.
  • To work with schools and other local educational establishments to encourage participation in the project.
At the moment I have begun to produce a preliminary record of all the human remains in the collection, which currently stands at about 300. I’ve still got a long way to go. The human remains include inhumations and cremations ranging from the Neolithic (over 4,000 years ago) to the Anglo-Saxon period (about 1500 years ago). The focus of the Project is to produce a demographic profile of the past populations in Eastbourne by analysing the remains creating an osteo-biography, or story, bringing the individuals ‘to life’ so that we can connect and learn about them. This will run in conjunction with artefact analysis and conservation workshops.
High quality training will be offered to the 150 or so volunteers who will work with Eastbourne Museum Service on this project and the training and learning opportunities for all elements of the project have attracted and engaged a broad cross-section of the community. During the Project, schools, colleges and the public will be invited to a temporary lab, which will be set up in Eastbourne Town Hall, to take part in artefact conservation and environmental sampling processes alongside staff and volunteers. If you are interested in taking part and volunteering then email us at the Eastbourne Museum Service: localhistory@eastbourne.gov.uk.
If you can get to Eastbourne we will be holding an ‘open door’ session on Tuesday 26th June at the Town Hall for people interested in taking part at the following times: 10-12am, 2-4pm and 5-7pm. If you can’t make it don’t worry, just email us and we can send out any information to you.