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Meet the research team

Meet the research team
© University of Reading and Colchester Museum

The University of Reading and Colchester Museums, in partnership with Durham University, have been leading an exciting research project to uncover new information about Roman Britain from the cremation burials in Colchester’s collections.

These include cremated remains and associated artefacts of the individuals who settled in Colchester in the years during which Roman Britain emerged in the first century AD. Excavated in the 19th century and conserved in private collections before being donated to the museum, their secrets have been hidden from us due to the challenges of analysing cremated material. Until now.

Advances in archaeology and osteology (the study of bones) have created new opportunities to discover more about the people who lived and died in early Colchester. We’ll join this up with our existing knowledge about Roman Britain and ancient funerary processes to find out more about the identities and lives of these individuals.

This is the first time that cremation burials from Roman Britain have been studied combining osteoarchaeology and isotope analysis.

Meet the research team

We’ve created this course to share the fascinating insights we’ve discovered so far. Let’s introduce ourselves:

Professor Hella Eckardt, I’m Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading. I work on the archaeology of Roman Britain and have led research on migration and mobility using both artefacts and isotope analysis.

Glynn Davis, I’m Senior Collections and Learning Curator at Colchester Museum.

Carolina Lima, I’m a specialist in Roman archaeology and curator for the Decoding the Dead project.

With thanks to other members of the wider research team; Frank Hargrave, Manager at Colchester and Ipswich Museums, and Emily Carroll, Osteologist specialising in Roman cremations.


From 12 to 25 July, our team will guide you through the content and will be on hand to support the discussions. We will be joined by two students studying Osteology at the University of Reading; Tom Mills and Charlotte Procter.

The team will aim to answer your queries where they can but please bear in mind, they won’t be able to respond to every post. Don’t let that stop you from asking questions to other learners in the comment area.

Let’s start

Move on to the next Step to discover how the cremations came to be in Colchester Museum’s collections and discuss what we’d like to find out about the individuals they represent. Make sure you ‘mark Step as complete’ using the pink button before you move on.

© University of Reading and Colchester Museum
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Dead Interesting: Uncovering Roman Britain in Old Museum Collections

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