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Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group Laboratory

Selecting bones from the collection in Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Laboratory

Researchers in the Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group laboratory study faunal material from archaeological sites in order to reconstruct human-animal relations in the past and are actively involved in both research and teaching. Research areas include the zooarchaeology of islands, the identification of specialised animal exploitation strategies, red deer in British prehistory, animal palaeopathology, depositional practises (e.g. in later prehistoric middens), the development and  integration of bioarchaeological techniques and the assimilation of zooarchaeology within mainstream archaeological discourses.  Archaeological questions form the focus and springboard for all the research group activities.

Studying bones in Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Laboratory

The laboratory of Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group (CORG) houses an ever-expanding skeletal reference collection of mammals, birds, herpetofauna and fish, as well as a substantial collection of terrestrial and marine molluscs.  In addition, the laboratory has access to a high quality range of analytical equipment within the department, including X-ray, SEM and isotopic analysis preparation facilities and holds its own reference library.  The laboratory facilities support five taught undergraduate modules: Environment and Economy, Environmental Archaeology, Forensic Archaeology, Osteoarchaeolgy and Bioarchaeology, as well as providing masters level training.

The Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group is lead by Dr Jacqui Mulville and Adrienne Powell who have extensive zooarchaeological experience and have published widely both in Britain and further afield.

At the moment CORG is benefiting from a second Institute of Field Archaeology Workplace Learning Bursary in the field of Bioarchaeology.  Róisín McCarthy has joined us from Ireland to work with us on the cremated remains from Cleatham Anglo-Saxon Cremation Cemetery for 2009-10.  The first holder of this bursary, Richard Madgwick, commenced his AHRC funded PhD on Depositional Practises at Southern British Late Prehistoric Middens in January 2009  Jane Masters also commenced her PhD at this time on the Bronze Age cremations of Wessex.

Other members of the group include a number of this years MA Archaeology students Julia Best, Aidan Farnan and Donna Murry.  Julia completed the analysis of Avian remains from the Shiant Isles for her undergraduate dissertation, and presented this work at the International Council of Zooarchaeology Bird Working Group meeting in Groningen, August 2008.  She has subsequently produced a joint paper with Jacqui Mulville, The Fowling Economies of the Shiant Isles, Outer Hebrides: Resource Exploitation in a Marginal Environment for publication in the journal.

Latest News

Experimental Sheep Cremation Project

‘The effects of ritual dowsing on fissure-patterning in cremated bone’

The Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group recently joined forces with the National Museum of Wales and St. Fagan’s National History Museum to conduct an experimental outdoor sheep cremation simulating Anglo-Saxon ritual practices. The aim of this research was to gain a better understanding of the affects of purposeful manipulation of bones during cremation and how this may help in our interpretation of the types of rituals, if any, that were performed as part of the ancient cremation process.

The Ancient Cremations Workshop. Ancient Cremations: Re-igniting the Debate

Róisín McCarthy (IFA Intern in Bioarchaeology) and Jacqui Mulville have been awarded £625 from the Cardiff University Research Networking Events Fund as a contribution towards costs associated with the Cardiff Osteoarchaeology Research Group-led Ancient Cremations Workshop, due to take place on the 9th and 10th October 2009. The workshop will encourage inter-school and cross-institutional communications by bringing together researchers, professionals, students and the public with an interest in ancient cremation and cremation ritual practices of the past.