Osteological Analysis of Early Bronze Age human skeletal remains in Tyne and Wear Museums

Michelle Gamble, Chris Fowler, 2012

Data copyright © Michelle Gamble unless otherwise stated

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School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 7RU
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Tel: 0191 2225759

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1017462
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Michelle Gamble, Chris Fowler (2012) Osteological Analysis of Early Bronze Age human skeletal remains in Tyne and Wear Museums [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1017462

Introduction

Human skull from Tyne and Wear Museums

Much of our understanding of Early Bronze Age burials in the North East of England is derived from excavations which took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In order to judge the reliability of existing information on the human remains recovered, and to provide additional detailed information, Michelle Gamble carried out osteological re-analysis of the human remains from several Early Bronze Age burials from the North East of England. The purpose of the osteological analyses was to inform a new synthesis of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age (c. 2500 - 1500 BC) mortuary practices in this region, utilising the contextual evidence from excavations of over 350 burials conducted by Chris Fowler (2013a; 2013b).The dataset presented here represents a detailed inventory of the all the human skeletal material from the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age in North East England which could be located within the Tyne and Wear Museums' collections (Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland Museum and Wintergardens in Sunderland, and Arbeia Museum and Roman Fort in South Shields). Key findings of the osteological analysis, radiocarbon dating of some selected bones, and contextual information on the remains examined are related in an article by Gamble and Fowler (2013). The human remains examined derive from the following archaeological sites (though see Gamble and Fowler 2013 for discussion of provenance): Allerwash, Newbrough (NY871673); Bewes Hill, Stargate, Newburn (NZ170630); Corby's Crags, Edlingham (NU12800965); Denton Burn, Newcastle (NZ1965); Fulwell, Sunderland (NZ3959); Hasting Hill, Offerton, Sunderland (NZ35275435); Hollybush, Gunnerton, Wark (NY894746); Humbledon Hill, Sunderland (NZ381551); Reaverhill Farm, Barrasford (NY907737); Hexham Golf Course (NY922649); Mill Field, Bedlington (NZ262814); Summerhill, Blaydon (NZ177635); Warden Law, Sunderland (NZ372505); West Wharmley (NY8866); and Whitton Hill, Milfield (NT933347).


References

Gamble, M. and Fowler, C. (in press) A re-assessment of Early Bronze Age human remains in Tyne and Wear Museums: results and implications for interpreting Early Bronze Age burials from North-East England and beyond. Archaeologia Aeliana, 42.

Fowler, C., (2013a) The Emergent Past: A Relational Realist Archaeology of Early Bronze Age Mortuary Practices. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

Fowler, C. (2013b) Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age burials in North-East England. Archaeology Data Service: York [distributor] DOI:10.5284/1017128.

Fowler, C., (in press) '"The more things change, the more they remain the same"? Continuity and change in Northumbrian Early Bronze Age mortuary rites', in Brandt, R., Ingvaldsen, H. and Prusac, M. (eds.) Ritual Changes and Changing Rituals: Function and Meaning in Ancient Funerary Practices. Oxbow: Oxford.

Fowler, C. and Gamble, M. (in preparation), Ritual enclosures and mortuary practices at Whitton Hill: a re-appraisal. Article.


Acknowledgements

All remains are curated by the Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, who also allowed access to the human remains and provided support and aid in locating archival material and without whose permission this project never could have taken place. Particular thanks are due to Alex Croom and Andrew Parkin. The osteological analyses was funded by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Newcastle University.