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What's in the pot?

What's in the pot?

As academics and researchers, we have a lot of questions about the individuals whose cremated remains reside in the museum. To find some answers, Dr Carolina Lima met with Osteologist, Dr Emily Carroll to discuss what an osteoarchaeological analysis (the methods, techniques and theory used to study ancient bones) can tell us.

The family of the deceased would choose which fragments and remains to keep from the funeral pyre, so the contents of each pot in the Colchester collections vary greatly. Because only specific bones can reveal information about, for example, the biological sex or age, it’s not always possible to build a complete picture of each individual.

A lead vessel COL_20 was discovered in a grave which was covered by a barrow. The lead vessel contained a glass vessel which contained the cremated remains.

photo of a narrow-necked pale green glass spherical bottle and a rectangular shaped lead box

The Mersea Barrow Burial Vessels. ©Colchester Museums. Image Credit Douglas Atfield

So who was COL_20? If you were a museum specialist, what information would you want to know about them? Share the questions you’d ask in the discussion area below.

Move to the next Step to discover more about individual COL_20.

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Dead Interesting: Uncovering Roman Britain in Old Museum Collections

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