Over the course of the Digitised Diseases project we have been very fortunate to have had the help of some truly awesome placement students in the BARC and in the Centre for Visual Computing.

Our latest two placement students in the BARC, Andrew Douthwaite and Zoe Meacock have been no exception. Andrew and Zoe have been crucial in supporting Digitised Diseases in the very late stage of the project. Andrew has written the following about his time on placement and his involvement in Digitised Diseases:

“As a placement students we were involved in day-to-day tasks within the Biological Anthropology Research Centre at the University of Bradford, helping out as and when people needed us, but as well as that we had our “go to Jobs”, checking, labelling and re-bagging and labelling the Hereford skeletal collection.

BARC placement students, Andrew and Zoe check and re-bag skeletal material from Hereford Cathedral

BARC placement students, Andrew and Zoe check and re-bag skeletal material from Hereford Cathedral

For the Digitised Diseases project, Zoe and I scanned radiographs from both BARC and RCS collections and photographed a wide variety of elements, ranging from metatarsals and phalanges to crania and mandibles. These photographs were sent, along with laser scans, to allow the texturing of 3D models. Once the specimens had been fully processed, it was our job to return them to their proper place in the collection. Although this was relatively simple some sites posed more of a challenge than others in the location of specific individuals, namely Eccles! [The Eccles collection has an…idiosyncratic skeletal numbering system – Ed]

A tricky job was keeping track of bones that were still needed for the project, especially during the teaching term as they would be taken out for lab sessions. The easiest way of doing this was to create a chart in which the details such as site, skeleton number, element, the room and box which the bone had come from, date of removal and return were noted down so that everything would get back to its proper place.

I very much enjoyed my time at BARC and have gotten a great deal out of this placement. I have gained skills and experience that I didn’t have before, such as photography, and a much more in depth knowledge of the human skeleton and how it can be affected by both disease and the burial environment”.

On behalf of the entire Digitised Diseases team we thank all of our placement students for their hard work.