ARC Work Experience Placement – A lesson in Osteology
As a Sixth Form student, it can be hard to come by opportunities that really allow me to explore different careers. Work experience with the ARC, however, has been an incredible few days that have facilitated this.
The week has been educational in the world of archaeology as we explored and re-boxed artefacts, investigated site documents, and presented objects to the public. It must be mentioned that I have been well informed of the pathways into archaeology by the curators and very welcoming team of volunteers.
One day that stood out was Thursday- we had the privilege of trying out some osteology under the very helpful guidance of Dale Munn. We learnt how to decide the age, sex, and height of the skeleton, in addition to detecting any pathologies. Having participated in the dig at Chester House only a month before and working on the excavation of a skeleton, I was fascinated to see what happens next- the bones are cleaned, laid out and investigated. Osteologists determine the completeness of the skeleton (the bones present) and look at some key indicators for age and sex: the skull and pelvis. The molars and pelvis can be used to estimate age, while features of the skull and pelvis are used for the sex. An estimated height is also explored- we did this by measuring the femur. Dale Munn also taught us how to identify healed fractures, arthritis, and Schmorl’s nodes.
Overall, the week was incredibly educational and enjoyable. I feel extremely fortunate that the ARC is so nearby, and that such friendly and knowledgeable people work and volunteer there- I cannot thank them enough for having me.