Since early July, I’ve been in London, finally getting to analyse the human remains we excavated last season at Amara West. The human skeleton acts as a unique database about a number of different aspects of past human life. It can reveal information about a person’s life such as sex, age at death, diet or health – even a few thousand years after the person died.
This does not necessarily require special technical equipment or analysis but can usually be deduced from visible inspection of the bones alone. For example, while certain shape traits in the skull and pelvis give information about whether the individual was male or female, attrition of the teeth and degenerative changes in specific parts of the hip bone can tell us how old a person was when he or she died.
Currently, I’m working on the human remains from the chamber of Grave 234. One of the more challenging tasks working on the burials from this grave is to find out how many people were actually buried there.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Analysing skeletal remains from Amara West
British Museum (Michaela Binder)