New News!

In the last week two cool things have been confirmed:

I’m really excited about both of these and can’t wait to get stuck in.

The Volunteering


Inside the Hunterian Museum. Image taken from here.

About 2 years ago I started volunteering at in the museums department of the Royal College of Surgeons and enjoyed it so much that continued to work there until I started my PhD. Whilst there I was lucky enough to work with some amazing osteology collections and saw some interesting pathologies. I really enjoyed working there and was sad to leave, however, I knew I needed time to settle into my PhD.

A year on I have made the decision to return once a fortnight, so not to impact with my studies too much, to volunteer once again. I am so happy to be returning and to see some of the people I had met previously and can’t wait to get started. I am hoping to start this week, although I am waiting for confirmation, but already know what I will be working on – but I’ll wait until I’ve started to tell you all about it! It will be so lovely to go back, and a positive (and useful!) distraction from my PhD work.

Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies

SSSB logo

The SSSB logo. Check the conference out here.

A fellow PhD student and friend of mine from Southampton (archaeosarah) and colleagues have set up a new conference called Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies (SSSB) and I have offered to be a committee member. It will be an inter-disciplinary conference for discussing topics surrounding death, anatomy, attitudes to the body, mortuary practices, and more! This will be a joint conference by the Osteoarchaeology group (Department of Archaeology) and the Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences (CLAS) at the University of Southampton.

Since volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons I have become more and more interested in anatomy and therefore saw this as a great opportunity to learn more about the subject. Last year I helped out with the University of Southampton’s student conference, PGRAS, for the archaeology department. I therefore thought helping out with SSSB would be a great way to build on this experience.

Part of my role as a committee member will be to help with the general organisation of the conference and  to read submitted abstracts and proposals. In addition to this I have been asked to help out with promoting the SSSB on social media. This will certainly be a useful skill to develop as so much is carried out in this way now – plus it should help with my networking skills. I’m sure there’ll be lots of other things to help with and I’m definitely going to get stuck in – I may even run a workshop!

Please go and check out the conference and sign up to our mailing list for updates!



Twitter: @sssbconf or #sssbconf



The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld – Soul Music

Death on motorbike by Paul Kidby. Image from,40.htm

Death on motorbike by Paul Kidby. Image from,40.htm

I’ve chosen Soul Music as the next installment for my ‘Wit and Wisdom of Discworld’ as I couldn’t resist doing another Death novel. I think they are easily my faviourite collection of books by Terry Pratchett. Re-reading these small snippets of the books are making want to go back and read them all again. Unfortunately, they are all at my Mum’s house – I’ll have to go back home again soon and raid her bookselves!

I’ve selected some quotes from ‘The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld’ which made me smile and laugh. There are also a few in there which I can definietely relate to considering I live and go out with a musician!

So here is the blurb:

‘Other children got given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her Grandfather to take off his vest.

Yes. There’s a Death in the family.

It’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and weilds a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy. And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered the Discworld.

It’s lawless. It changes people.It’s called Music With Rocks In.

It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but… it’s alive.

And it won’t fade away.

And here are the snippets:

– It looked like the kind of musical instrument emporium which doubles as a pawnshop, since every musician has at some time in his life had to hand over his instrument if he wants to eat and sleep indoors.

– “We haven’t even practised together properly,” said Imp.

“We’ll practise as we go along,” said Glod. “Welcome to the world of professional musicianship”.

– The Mended Drum had traditionally gone in for, well, traditional pub games, such as dominoes, darts and Stabbing People In The Back And Taking All Their Money.

– There is something very sad about an empty dressing room. It’s like a discarded pair of underpants, which it resembles in a number of respects. It’s seen a lot of activity. It may even have witnessed excitment and a whole gamut of human passions. And now there’s nothing much left but a faint smell.

– The Patrician leaned back in an attitude that suggested attentive listening. He was extremely good at listening. He created a kind of mental suction. People told him things just to avoid the silence. 

Death playing guitar by Paul Kidby. Image taken from

Death playing guitar by Paul Kidby. Image taken from

The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld: Mort

The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld. Complied by Stephen Briggs

The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld. Complied by Stephen Briggs

I visited my Mum last week and stole this book from her! It was complied by Stephen Brigg’s by selecting extracts from all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. It contains, book by book, the blurb of the title and then witty, compelling quotes. These are sometimes a page in length or sometimes just a line long. I want to dip into this book every week and select my own snippet of Terry Pratchett’s work that I want to share with you.

I might end up making a page for this, but for now I’ll stick to posts. I’m writing this more for a selfish reason then anything else. I haven’t read these books for a while and want to get a taste of them again. I also want to share with others some of the wonderful words of Sir Pratchett with those who haven’t read his work. Maybe these quotes will pursuade you too!

I’m going to start with Mort. If I remember correctly it’s one of the first Pratchett novels that I read and I definietly thinks it’s a good place to start.

Here is the blurb:

‘Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found out that romantic longings did not mix easily with the resposibilities of being Death’s apprentice…’

And some of my favourite snippets:

– THANK YOU, BOY, said the skull. WHAT IS YOUR NAME? 

       ‘Uh,’ said Mort, ‘Mortimer…sir. They call me Mort.’


– Ysabelle was heavily into frills. Even the dressing table seemed to be wearing a petticoat. The whole room wasn’t so much furnished as lingeried.

Death visits a job centre: ‘It would seem that you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,’ Keeble said. “have you thought of going into teaching?’

   Death’s face was a mask of terror. Well, it was always a mask of terror, but htis time he meant it to be.

Mort drawn by Paul Kidby. Image taken from

Mort drawn by Paul Kidby. Image taken from

Fashion Can be a Deadly Thing!

A small article by Anne Kingston entitled Deadly Victorian Fashions. To be honest I don’t know a huge amount about the history of fashion but it’s pretty interesting what length people will go to in the name of fashion. Admittedly they may have not known the facts to begin with but it’s still pretty incredible.

I’ve written a small piece in the past about skull modification, including skull binding, if you’re interested in that type of thing! You also only have to think about fashion today and cultures around the world to see what we can put the human body through. The famous and most common examples include tattoos,  Chinese foot binding, and neck rings.

Fashion and body modification are two intertwined and fascinating subjects, and another thing to add to my list of subjects I want to further explore ! 


Quote from Terry Pratchett’s Death – So True!


From ‘A Blink of the Screen: Collected Short Fiction’ by Terry Pratchett and in his short ‘Death and What Comes Next’.

Death – Ethics of showing human remains in museums

A really interesting audio link from the Wellcome Collection. This is a clip of Hedley Swain, who is the Early London History from the Musuem of London. It’s definitely worth a listen, he refers to the rights of the dead and some of the issues which arrive.

It’s a short clip but it’s very good and I totally agree! Have a listen here

Not quite sure how I feel about this!

Name sought for Roman Mancetter’s Unknown Child

This is an article I found through a friend. Archaeology Warwickshire have discovered a lead coffin containing a Romano-British child. This isn’t the bit I find odd but the fact that they are wanting to name the child with a Roman name. Now I find this odd enough – many infant burials have been found and I have never heard of them being named before, unless they know for sure. Archaeology Warwickshire want to do this as ‘a mark of respect’ but how respectful is it giving the child a false name. What I think makes it worse is that you can vote for the name, again how respectful is this?

Maybe I’ve become desensitized to all this, but I don’t know! What do you think?