CRESIDA’s new medieval skeleton collection

Alex and Lia studying a burial

Last week we saw a buzz of activity around our human osteological collection, comprising about 300 Medieval burials from rural Surrey. Alex Parr, an ex MRes student of ours, has started working with us to help cleaning and studying the human remains. We have had a visiting researcher, Samantha Leggett, who has taken some samples from the collection for isotopic analyses. The carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios in the teeth and ribs of these individuals can give evidence of their diet (C for plants, N for animal protein, both combined for terrestrial versus marine resources), and oxygen and strontium in their tooth enamel can indicate mobility and migration in the past. Sam is doing her PhD in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, and is collecting samples from various Anglo-Saxon populations across Britain, building a picture of early medieval diet throughout the transition to Christianity and into the Viking Age.

Sam Leggett photographing dental samples

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