My British Osteological Database – An Update


Finding research material is major component for any PhD. This can often mean extensive online searchers, emails to curators and searching through journal articles for relevant or useful material.

From my own experiences (where I needed large samples of human molars from a range of archaeological periods) this is not always an easy thing to do. A while back I decided to produce a crude database about some of the human remains collections I came across during my search. Recently, I decided to update this to make it more user friendly and to add a couple more sites.

You can find a downloadable excel file here with site names, dates and basic collection information.


PS. If there are any more collections that you know of (and their information can be shared publicly) please get in touch!

Week 37 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons

Outside of the Royal College of Surgeons. Image taken from

Outside of the Royal College of Surgeons. Image taken from

I’ve been quiet for the last 2 weeks because I haven’t been into the College. The last time I was there I had finished photographing and creating an inventory of a Pathology collection. It’s taken the curator these last few weeks to find the associated notes for project which we wanted to add to the collections records. However I could come in this week and start looking through the files.

When I arrived at the College I met the curator who was carrying a box. We then proceed to go through it to work out what was in there and the best way to record the various bits of information. The information included original photographs of the specimens of the collection, hand written notes and drafts of possible publications.

Once we had worked through the box I started on the photographs. I had to try to match the photos with specimen numbers from the collection, make a digital copy other photographs and then update the museum’s database.

I think I got through at least half of the photographs and have the remaining ones to do next week. After that I will start working on the paper records. Again I will try to match them with previous specimens from the collection and also make summaries of the documents.

I’m finding this aspect of the collection just as interesting as the bones themselves, but in a different way. It’ll be quite a satisfying feeling to be able to match up the records with the specimens as well as to read the original notes made by the collector.