So after a week off and away in sunny Portugal I was back at the college to sort through the remaining boxes of bones. I am very close to finishing the current project of creating a bone inventory and hopefully next week will be the last week sorting out boxes of bones. I’ll then move on to infant skulls which have various forms of pathology.
This week, however, focused on the lower leg. To start with I had two boxes of articulated lower legs which I got out and divided into lefts and rights. These we’re very simple to organise and took me very little time to sort. There weren’t any pathologies but it was nice to see how the bones fitted together and articulated with one another. I think it is these specimens which may be particularly useful for the students as they can get a good look at how the bones move.
I then had some individual foot bones to sort and included the metatarsals and foot phalanges. I had to count out the individual bones and make sure that they were in the correct boxes. I suspect that some of the elements had been mixed up by previous students whilst studying. I can see how this can be done but it doesn’t make it easy for any future individual to look at the bones properly.
After these small bones I was presented with the ankle bones. I only got through the talus and calcaneus bones before stopping so I have the rest of the ankle to finish next week. I stopped early because I wanted to have a look at the wet lab where wet specimens are restored and conserved. I was talked through some of the processes and techniques which are used and why various things had to be done. There were some very interesting specimens including an elephants foot and a raccoons skull. The conserver’s job is really interesting and every day is different. There is always something to repot, refill or replace and the specimens range from skeletal to soft tissue, animal to human and large to small. Hopefully I’ll get to see even more in the future!