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Fairclough G.,Northumbria University | Herring P.,Historic England
Landscape Research | Year: 2016

Contemporary wisdom holds that landscape research requires cross-disciplinary collaborations, and consideration of character has been seen as one way to achieve this, yet character-based methods of landscape assessment incline towards unidisciplinarity. This is the case in the UK, with two parallel methods in use since the early 1990s. Both have become influential across Europe in the drafting and implementation of the European Landscape Convention. This paper, a contribution to a special issue of Landscape Research, focuses on one of the methods, Historic Landscape Characterisation (carried out mainly by archaeologists and heritage managers), and compares it with Landscape Character Assessment (used by the landscape architects and geographers) to examine the concepts of both landscape character and interdisciplinarity. It concludes that although a single integrated method for landscape assessment could be desirable, there remain benefits in having separate methods, and the process of combining parallel landscape assessments can bring research benefits. © 2016 Landscape Research Group Ltd

Mays S.,Historic England
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2016

Objectives Recent biomedical research suggests that, in modern human populations, individuals may vary in their inherent tendency toward bone formation at skeletal and extra-skeletal locations. However, the nature of this phenomenon is incompletely understood, and the extent to which it might apply to past populations is unclear. It is hypothesized that if there is inter-individual variation in some overall tendency toward bone formation in skeletal and extra-skeletal sites then there should be a positive relationship between ligamentous ossification and thickness of cortical bone. This work is a test of this hypothesis in an archaeological population. Materials and Methods The study material comprises adult skeletons (N = 137 individuals) of documented age at death from 18th to 19th century London. It examines the relationship between bone deposition in the anterior longitudinal ligament (ALL) in the thoracic spine and cortical index (CI) at the metacarpal measured by radiogrammetry. Results Controlling for the potential confounders age, sex, skeletal completeness, occupation (males) and parity (females), there was a positive association between ossification into the ALL and CI. This reflects lesser medullary cavity width in those showing ALL ossification. Discussion Ligamentous ossification in the axial skeleton and peripheral cortical bone status are linked, individuals with ALL ossification showing lesser resorption of cortical bone at the endosteal surface. This is consistent with the idea of inter-individual variation in some general bone-forming/bone-losing tendency in this 200 year old study population, but there was no evidence of a link between ALL ossification and increased skeletal subperiosteal bone deposition. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Brace S.,Natural History Museum in London | Ruddy M.,Historic England | Miller R.,University of Liege | Schreve D.C.,Royal Holloway, University of London | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2016

The terminal Pleistocene and Early Holocene, a period from 15 000 to 18 000 Before Present (BP), was critical in establishing the current Holarctic fauna, with temperate-climate species largely replacing cold-adapted ones at midlatitudes. However, the timing and nature of this process remain unclear for many taxa, a point that impacts on current and future management strategies. Here, we use an ancient DNA dataset to test more directly postglacial histories of the water vole (Arvicola amphibius, formerly A. terrestris), a species that is both a conservation priority and a pest in different parts of its range. We specifically examine colonization of Britain, where a complex genetic structure can be observed today. Although we focus on population history at the limits of the species’ range, the inclusion of additional European samples allows insights into European postglacial colonization events and provides a molecular perspective on water vole taxonomy. © 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Mays S.,Historic England
International Journal of Paleopathology | Year: 2015

It has recently been proposed that bilateral scapular fracture in archaeological populations may be an indicator of assault by beating (Blondiaux et al., 2012). This proposal, whilst plausible, lacked empirical support. This article provides some empirical evidence in support of this suggestion. It describes a case of bilateral scapular fracture in a Mediaeval burial where there is independent evidence that the individual suffered beating by a mob. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Mays S.,Historic England
Annals of Human Biology | Year: 2015

Context: Estimation of adult age from skeletal remains is problematic due to the weak and variable relationship between age indicators and age.Objectives: To assess the proportion of variation in age indicators that is associated with factors other than age and to attempt to identify what those factors might be.Methods: The paper focuses on frequently used adult bony age markers. A literature search (principally using Web of Science) is conducted to assess the proportion of variation in age indicators associated with factors other than age. The biology of these age markers is discussed, as are factors other than age that might affect their expression.Results: Typically, ∼60% of variation in bony age indicators is associated with factors other than age. Factors including inherent metabolic propensity to form bone in soft tissue, vitamin D status, hormonal and reproductive factors, energy balance, biomechanical variables and genetic factors may be responsible for this variation, but empirical studies are few.Conclusion: Most variation in adult skeletal age markers is due to factors other than age; dry bone study of historic documented skeletal collections and high resolution CT scanning in modern cadavers or living individuals is needed to identify these factors. © 2015 © 2015 Informa UK Ltd.

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