Contract Osteology

The Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC, formerly the Calvin Wells Laboratory) is able to offer a service to archaeologists who wish to extract the maximum benefit from a cemetery excavation by comprehensive investigation of the human remains. This involves a study of burial customs, demography (age and sex profile of the cemetery), health status and diseases which leave evidence on the bones and teeth.

The teaching and research functions of the laboratory, which include running undergraduate and postgraduate courses, allow valuable cross-fertilisation of ideas between academic and contract staff and students. In addition, the research interests of members of the laboratory cover a wide range of subjects involving the study of human bone, including trace element and isotopic analysis which allows for 'bolt-on' research, leading to a greater understanding of lifestyle, mobility and diet of past populations.

Reports completed for archaeological units over the past three decades include sites from all periods, from the prehistoric to the post-medieval. Recent projects include:

The BARC has an excellent track record in human osteology over the last 30 years. The laboratory was founded by Keith Manchester. Previous osteologists include Professor Charlotte Roberts, Frances Lee, Brian Connell, Natasha Powers, Lynda Isaac, Malin Holst, Rebecca Wiggins, Iraia Araboalaza and Paola Ponce, many of whom still work as osteologists. At present osteological contract work is undertaken by Dr Alan Ogden Dr Rebecca Storm and Dr Jo Buckberry and is supported as necessary by recent graduates from the MSc Human Osteology and Palaeopathology.

We have extensive holdings of human skeletal remains, reference casts, books, off-prints and photographs/slides, enabling us to undertake research of the highest calibre. In addition, our labs have benefited from a large Science Research Investment Fund (SRIF) grant, a joint award from the Government Office of Science and Technology and the Department for Education and Skills. This funded the purchase of high-quality lab equipment, including a wide range of osteometric equipment, a histology and microscopy suite, radiography and radiograph digitisation equipment and dedicated photography facilities, enabling us to extract the maximum amount of information from osteological collections.

Please contact Jo Buckberry for further information about our contract osteology service

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Last Updated:24 June 2011