BU investigates mystery bones

Human remains dug up by a workman in Preston, Weymouth, could date back to Roman times.

Human remains dug up by a workman in Preston, Weymouth, could date back to Roman times.

The grim discovery was made by the workman while digging a trench for a garage. Dorset Police were the first to arrive on the scene, and the bones are now being investigated by a team of archaeological experts at Bournemouth University (BU).

The archeology lab at Bournemouth University, where the bones are being investigated. Photo - Michelle Browne

Elizabeth Craig, a biological anthropologist working in the university’s archeology department said she immediately identified the remains as human, and added that they could be from an ancient burial site.

“We were contacted by Dorset Police. They sent over a photograph of the remains, which I immediately identified as human and of antiquity.

“There’s a very long history of human occupation in Dorset. And certainly around Weymouth we have plenty of records of Iron Age and Roman occupation, things going on about 2000 years ago.”

She explained that the bones will need to be cleaned and allowed to dry before a proper assessment can begin, which may take several weeks.

Elizabeth works as a biological anthropologist at the universities Archeology Department

“Will be able to find out in the coming weeks the age of the bones, and the biological sex. Stature is often quite easy to calculate. We can also look at markings on the bones – different markings can indicate different diseases.

“Sometimes it’s possible to make an estimation of ancestry, so whether the person comes from an African, Asian or European ancestral group. By examining the bones and finding out this information, you’re bringing a person back to life in a sense.”


Elizabeth Craig explains to The Breaker how it’s possible to discover ancestry through archeology:

[audio:http://www.thebreaker.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Elizabeth-Craig1.mp3|titles=Elizabeth Craig]
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