SSSB 2017 (University of Southampton)
SSSB Keynote Speakers
Dr. Heather Bonney (Natural History Museum)
"An arm and a leg... The real cost behind the modern bone trade"
The last few years has seen an exponential increase in concerned reports from members of the public, who have found human remains openly for sale in 'curiosity shops', being offered as raffle prizes, and even as a 'chalice' for serving £120-a-time cocktails at a Halloween party. Are these activities legal? Are they ethical? This talk will explore these questions, the dark history of the trade in human remains, and the real stories behind those now being sold as 'antiques'.
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Professor Caroline Wilkinson (Liverpool John Moores University)
The changing social context relating to the depiction of faces of the dead for forensic identification and archaeological investigation
The depiction of faces of the dead can be a useful forensic tool for promoting identification and post-mortem facial depiction is described as the interpretation of human remains in order to suggest the living appearance of an individual. This paper provides an historical context relating to the changing view of society to the presentation and publication of post-mortem facial depictions and discusses the current ethical, practical and academic challenges associated with these images. In addition, this presentation will discuss the use of this technique to visualise faces of people from the past, including famous historical figures, preserved bodies and archaeological populations.
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SSSB Student Presentation Prizes
Thank you to Wessex Archaeology and the Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences for kindly agreeing to sponsor the student presentation prizes, and thank you to the keynote speakers and the other members of the scientific panel who took the time to judge the student presentations.
Student Podium Presentation Winner:
Sarah-Louise Decrausaz (University of Cambridge)
It takes a village (and a doctor, and an anthropologist, and a journalist) to birth a child: Biocultural approaches to studying the obstetric dilemma
Biological anthropologists have maintained an interest in the development of the obstetric dilemma (OD) in an evolutionary context and amongst living women. Recent studies across biological and medical disciplines have discussed the role played by the transition to agriculture, differential variation in size and shape of the pelvic canal and other parts of the pelvis, patterns of covariation between the pelvis, head size and stature and the current rise in caesarean sections as contributing factors to the OD. Other scholars have examined the research frameworks used by biological anthropologists to understand the OD, pointing to the limited consideration of the social and cultural context in which childbirth takes place today. Popular media coverage of this research has additionally prescribed biologically deterministic and patriarchal perspectives on the ‘poor design’ of the skeletons of women undergoing caesarean sections. In this paper, it is suggested that future studies on the skeletal components of the OD should be constructed with a biocultural approach that fully integrates biological and social components of the OD, and recognises gaps between medical, social and anthropological perspectives on the OD. The strengths of a biocultural approach include a) a clear outline of challenges faced by women living in specific communities, such that broad generalisations regarding childbirth are not applied to all communities and b) demonstrating variation in pelvic canal size and shape in living populations today. This approach also incorporates research on the developmental links between body and pelvic size and shape variation, to better understand the factors that contribute to pelvic growth throughout early life. The feasibility of such an approach is dependent on access to different types of data, particularly longitudinal studies of childbirth practices. The OD has developed in a social and biological context and this should prompt a multidisciplinary approach to this uniquely human problem.
Student Poster Presentation Winner:
Rikke Nerli (University of Winchester)
The effects on the taphonomic process in biological samples embedded in concrete
To date, differential decomposition within various types of concrete is an area that has received little attention within academic literature. This study draws upon previous work carried out by Gibelli et al (2013) and seeks to answer whether concrete containing high levels of the hydraulic material, silica dioxide (SiO2), have the same qualitative effect on the taphonomic process as concrete containing only silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide and calcium oxide (SiO2+Al203+CaO). Six pigs’ heads were embedded within two types of concrete: B35 MF40 STD 16MM RED and B45 SV40 STD 16MM (plus a surface decomposition acting as a control). These samples were left embedded for 10, 17 and 35 weeks before manual recovery. This experimental study was carried out to qualitatively assess if there are any alterations in the decomposition rate in concrete containing a hydraulic material like silica fuel, with the main component silica dioxide (SiO2), as concrete containing pulverised fuel ash with the main components silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide and calcium oxide (SiO2+Al203+CaO). Preliminary results suggest a more rapid decomposition rate in B35 MF40 STD 16MM RED which contains SiO2.
Please note: Due to formatting constraints, chemical formulae may not appear accurately. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Sarah M. Schwarz
Dr Jenny Skidmore
Dr Andrew O'Malley
Dr David Walker
Professor Jo Sofaer
Dr Elizabeth Norton
Twitter: #sssb2017 #sssbconf
The inaugural Skeletons, Stories, and Social Bodies conference was held from 24th - 26th March 2017 at the University of Southampton.
SSSB was a three day interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Department of Archaeology and the Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences at the University of Southampton. The conference aimed to cover a wide range of areas related to death, anatomy, attitudes to the body, mortuary practices, and more. We aimed to cover various aspects of death through presentations, discussion panels, and tailored workshops.
Dr Scott Border
Dr Nick Thorpe
Dr Tomasz Cecot
Dr Scott Paterson
Workshop 1: Introduction to the Anatomical Sciences Laboratory
Facilitators: Dr Jenny Skidmore, Dr Andrew O'Malley, Dr David Walker, & Ellen Adams (Anatomical Sciences Laboratory, Uni. Southampton)
Workshop 2: Bones, Bodies, and Burials: An introduction to bioarchaeology
Facilitators: Members of Bioarchaeology & Osteoarchaoelogy Southampton (Uni. Southampton)
Workshop 3: Memories in Stone: Revealed and Recorded
Facilitators: Tony Hack and Judith Thomson (Wiltshire Medieval Graffiti Survey)
Workshop 4: Grief Demystified
Facilitators: Caroline Lloyd (Trinity College, Dublin)
Workshop 5: The Scent of Death
Facilitators: Dr Anna Williams (University of Huddersfield)
(L to R) Rikke Nerli, Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Dr Andrew O'Malley
(L to R) Sarah-Louise Decrausaz, Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Dr Andrew O'Malley