Donation for isotope analysis

SHARP’s Ray Baldry featured in the Current Archaeology Live! event at the British Museum in February 2016. Ray’s presentation was all about the evidence for trauma on the Boneyard skeletons. Julian Richards asked Ray if we’d done isotope analysis to check whether the skeletons in question were locals. Ray explained that this was not currently possible due to financial constraints. Julian suggested a whip-round and announced it over the mike, organised it, and collected … £935.70! We are so grateful to everyone who made a donation.

Ray and Neil receiving donation from Julian Richards

Neil and Ray receiving donation from Julian Richards

The intention is to use the donation collected at Current Archaeology Live! for isotope tests to establish the origins (that is, their childhood location) of the Sedgeford cemetery people. We want to know if they were they locals, visitors or invaders. When members of SHARP’s Human Remains Team get together in May 2016 they will decide on a strategy to get this work done and which bones would give the most valuable results. A collaborative study would be the best way to link it in with other work on migration and integration of the British peoples. We have previously had a generous donation from the West Norfolk History Society to enable tests on skeleton S8001 (the Neolithic crouched burial from Chalk Pit Field), skeleton S8002 (the Iron Age crouched burial from Chalk Pit Field) and skeleton S0025 (the female buried on a horse on Boneyard). Samples from the teeth of S8001, S8002 and S0025 are currently at the British Geological Survey laboratories. The results are expected any day! The new donation will allow us to do further tests which relate to a specific time and event. When the previous test results are known we will have a good idea of its level of success and any problems to overcome. So for now all that can be said is that this incredibly, generous and spontaneous donation. We look forward to being able to share the results with you all in due course.

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