15 February 2010

Bone storage made possible by generous Alumni

Photo: Juvenile Developmental Osteology Reference Collection

Human skeletal remains up to 1,000 years old, excavated from archaeological digs at the University of Sheffield are set to benefit from a new storage facility, thanks to £25,000 worth of donations from the Alumni Fund Telephone Campaign.

The new Juvenile Developmental Osteology Reference Collection based in the University’s Department of Archaeology, will provide museum standard storage space for juvenile skeletons of all developmental ages, from the late foetal stage to approximately 12-years-old.

Around 600 skeletons and associated research materials have been put on display in the collection space, all of which will be used for graduate research and training and will be available for the research projects of staff and visiting researchers.

These remains are considered vital by the Department as they provide a record of how the skeleton grew and matured in past populations and the new facility will ensure such delicate materials are curated securely and can be retrieved rapidly with minimal physical disturbance.

The donation from former students to fund the vital new storage space was made possible following the Alumni Fund Telephone Campaign, which annually sees current students initiate and maintain contact with over 30,000 alumni to encourage them to support the University.

Prior to this funding, the skeletons were stored in several separate dispersed locations in the Department buildings, which were less accessible for use by the graduate students and researchers.

Professor Andrew Chamberlain, senior lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, said: “The storage facility will form an integral part of our planned Centre for Human Bioarchaeology. It will make it much easier for researchers to study the juvenile skeletons which provide an important resource for research on skeletal growth and development in past populations.”

Miles Stevenson, Director of Development in the Alumni Department said: “We are most grateful to all our former students who donated. Their generosity speaks volumes for their affection for the University of Sheffield.”