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Portsmouth, United Kingdom

The age-markers described at the adult acetabulum by Rissech et al. (J Forensic Sci 51 (2006) 213-229) were scored in the Spitalfields collection of skeletons of documented age and sex (N = 161). The purpose of the work was as a contribution to the evaluation of the general utility of these markers for estimating age at death. To this end, their relationship both with age, and with some other factors, was investigated. The latter comprised sex, general tendency toward bone formation in periarticular soft tissue (as measured by the occurrence of diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis), and occupation (as documented for some of the males). Of the seven Rissech et al. variables, only four were found to show a statistically significant relationship with age. The correlation between a composite score derived from a linear combination of these four variables, and age was similar to or greater than correlations between age and composite scores based on other age indicators reported in the literature for Spitalfields. Male acetabula aged at a greater rate than those of females. There was no relationship with the occurrence of DISH, but for occupation, those in nonmanual professions showed greater acetabular scores-for-age than those in manual trades. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Sternberg T.,University of Oxford | Viles H.,University of Oxford | Cathersides A.,English Heritage
Building and Environment | Year: 2011

The role of ivy (Hedera helix L.) on building walls is much debated, with arguments being put forward for it playing a biodeteriorative role (for example through ivy rootlets exploiting cracks and holes) as well as suggestions that it might provide some bioprotection (for example by the ivy canopy protecting the walls from other agents of deterioration such as frost). We have carried out a year-long study of the influence that ivy canopies play on wall surface microclimates at five sites across a range of climatic settings within England, using iButtons to monitor temperature and relative humidity fluctuations at the wall surface on ivy-covered and exposed walls. Hourly data illustrates a general mediating effect of ivy canopies on both temperature and relative humidity regimes. The ivy reduces extremes of temperature and relative humidity, with the most clearcut differences for temperature. Across all five sites the average daily maximum temperature was 36% higher and the average daily minimum temperature 15% lower on exposed vs ivy-covered surfaces. Differences in the exposure level of studied walls (i.e. whether they are shaded or not by trees or other walls) influenced the degree of microclimatic alteration provided by the ivy canopy. Other important factors influencing the strength of the ivy impact on microclimate were found to be thickness of the canopy and aspect of the wall. A detailed analysis of one site, Byland in North Yorkshire, illustrates the seasonal differences in impact of ivy on microclimates, with insulation against freezing being the dominant effect in January, and the removal of high temperature 'spikes' the dominant effect in July. The observed moderating role of ivy canopies on wall surface microclimates will reduce the likelihood of frost and salt deterioration to the building materials, thus contributing to their conservation. Further research needs to be done on other potentially deteriorative roles of ivy before an overall bioprotective role can be assumed, but the significant impact of ivy on wall surface microclimates across England is clear. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Brock F.,University of Oxford | Wood R.,University of Oxford | Wood R.,Australian National University | Higham T.F.G.,University of Oxford | And 3 more authors.
Radiocarbon | Year: 2012

A recent study into prescreening techniques to identify bones suitable for radiocarbon dating from sites known for poor or variable preservation (Brock et al. 2007, 2010a) found that the percent nitrogen (%N) content of whole bone powder was the most reliable indicator of collagen preservation. Measurement of %N is rapid, requires little preparation or material, and is relatively cheap. The technique reduces the risk of needlessly sampling valuable archaeological objects, as well as saving time and money on their unsuccessful pretreatment prior to dating. This method of prescreening is now regularly used at the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU). In the original study, linear regression analysis of data from 100 bones from 12 Holocene sites across southern England showed that when 0.76% N was chosen as a threshold, 84% of bones were successfully identified as containing sufficient (i.e. >1%) or insufficient (i.e. <1%) collagen for dating. However, it has been observed that for older, Pleistocene bones the failure rate may be higher, possibly due to the presence of more degraded, shortchain proteins that pass through the ultrafilters used in pretreatment, resulting in lower yields. Here, we present linear regression analysis of data from nearly 600 human and animal bones, antlers, and teeth, from a wide range of contexts and ages, to determine whether the 0.76% threshold identified in the previous study is still applicable. The potential of carbon: nitrogen atomic weight ratios (C:N) of whole bone to predict collagen preservation is also discussed. © 2012 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Source

Mays S.,English Heritage
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research | Year: 2010

The strong genetic component in the etiology of Paget's disease of bone (PDB), together with marked geographic variation in its prevalence, with high frequencies in British populations, has led some to suggest that the disease originated in Britain and spread around the world in recent times by the migration and admixture of British populations. This study aims to investigate this hypothesis by studying the world geographic distribution of PDB cases identified in ancient skeletons excavated from archaeological sites. The methodology is a review of PDB cases described in the literature. There were 109 cases that met modern diagnostic criteria. All came from Western Europe, 94% from England. These data support the hypothesis that PDB originated in this geographic region. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Source

Sternberg T.,University of Oxford | Viles H.,University of Oxford | Cathersides A.,English Heritage | Edwards M.,University of Oxford
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2010

The potential bio-protective role of urban greenery and how it interacts with airborne dust and pollutants has been the subject of much recent research. As particulate pollution has been implicated in both the deterioration of building materials and in damaging human health, understanding how it interacts with urban greenery is of great applied interest. Common or English Ivy (Hedera helix L) grows widely on urban walls in many parts of the world, and thus any bio-protective role it might play is of broad relevance. Using Scanning Electron Microscopy ivy leaves collected on roadways were examined to determine if ivy can absorb dust and pollutants that can instigate decay processes on stone walls and impact human health in urban environments. Results showed that ivy acts as a 'particle sink', absorbing particulate matter, particularly in high-traffic areas. It was effective in adhering fine (<2.5μm) and ultra-fine (<1μm) particles at densities of up to 2.9×1010 per m2. Our findings suggest that through absorbing pollutant particles ivy can retard bio-deteriorative processes on historic walls and reduce human exposure to respiratory problems caused by vehicle pollutants. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

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