Friday, 30 December 2016

Out in Oxford: Where did it all begin?

Hello, I’m Beth, Assistant to the Director and Administration. I also have a background in Egyptology. In February this year I attended a lecture given by Professor Richard Parkinson (Queen’s College, Oriental Institute, Oxford, and the British Museum) for LGBT History Month. The talk was entitled, ‘A Great Unrecorded History’: LGBT Heritage and World Cultures and I found it incredibly inspiring. You can watch the podcast here and see if you find it as powerful as I did! What struck a particular chord with me were Richard’s words that:

“One day, hopefully, every museum will have at least one LGBT item openly identified as such on permanent display, so that visitors of any sexuality can feel empowered by their human heritage…Silent and implicit support is not enough...Public gestures by institutions are crucial in embodying, consolidating and legitimising our history. Prominent institutions have a responsibility to stand up for inclusive human rights – prominently.”

I simply thought, why not? Why don’t we do that? The Pitt Rivers Museum is a celebration of human experience and creativity, so surely we have relevant objects? With the help and encouragement of my colleague, Helen Adams, VERVE Project Curator, and Lucy Shaw of the Oxford University Museums Partnership (OUMP), I applied to the OUMP Innovation Fund to develop a trail similar to Richard’s in the British Museum and his book, A Little Gay History. One of the criteria was that the project had to involve other museums and, so, the University’s first cross-collections trail was born!


The specially commissioned trail highlights LGBTQ+ experiences across Oxfordshire and beyond. LGBTQ+ community members and allies volunteered to write about objects in the University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) to queer the collections and offer alternative insights into the fascinating items looked after by the University. Many different objects have been considered for inclusion in the trail, here are just a few of them:

Noh mask 1884.114.56 © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
A Noh theatre mask from Japan showing Hannya, and angry female spirit (1884.114.56). During the Edo Period, women were banned from performing in Noh and Kabuki theatre, meaning that female roles were performed exclusively by men, but this is starting to change.


Bone pendants 1932.65.203-209 © Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

Natufian bone pendants from Mount Carmel in Palestine (1932.65.206-209). These were excavated by Francis Turville-Petre (1901-41), who was openly gay, in 1931.

In the words of Matt Smith, the artist and curator behind the Queering the Museum project at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2010-11,

“Unlike many groups whose culture is passed down from parents to children, there are few objects which can stand in for LGBT lives. Rather than universalising the group using totemic objects, museums need to work differently with interpretation about LGBT lives. It has been likened to detective work, looking into the cracks and fissures of collections since historically, the LGBT links with objects would often have been undocumented.”




If the University of Oxford’s museums and collections are to truly reflect human experience and achievement in all its forms, then the LGBTQ+ experience should be explicitly represented. I sincerely hope this pilot project will help address that!

Beth Asbury
Assistant to the Director and Administration Team

I am indebted to my friends and colleagues who are helping me to run the project and design the trail booklet: Katherine Clough, Nicholas Crowe, Madeleine Ding and Jozie Kettle. With the help of the project’s volunteers, Jozie, Maddie and Nico are organising launch events for the trail, which are going to be amazing! I am also indebted to Richard, who is advising on the project, and the curators who have identified items in their collections for inclusion in the trail: Stuart Ackland (Bodleian Library), Mark Carnall (Museum of Natural History), who also co-ran the workshop, Jeremy Coote (Pitt Rivers Museum), Simon Glenn (Ashmolean Museum), Clare Harris (Pitt Rivers Museum), Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum), Stephen Johnston (Museum of the History of Science), Andy Lamb (Bate Collection), Julia Lenaghan (Ashmolean Museum), Charlotte McKillop-Mash (Bodleian Library), Liam McNamara (Ashmolean Museum), Laura Peers (Pitt Rivers Museum) and Matthew Winterbottom (Ashmolean Museum). Caroline Kennedy of the Equality and Diversity Unit has been incredibly helpful and supportive, and without her brilliant network of contacts we would not have had the wonderful group of volunteers who have given up their time, including weekends, to make this project work!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Textiles in Focus Day

Event Poster
On the 29th October, the Museum was - or so it felt - entirely taken over by textiles! Working collaboratively with Conservation staff and the Collections team, the Need/Make/Use team developed an event to showcase pieces from the textile collections and offer hands-on and behind-the-scenes opportunities for visitors. In particular, we set out to highlight textiles collected by Sheila Paine during her fieldwork throughout East and Central Asia. From 16th August 2016 through to 12th February 2017, you can see a special display on the first floor of the Museum entitled Stitch of a Symbol - Insights into the textile journeys of Sheila Paine. You can read a great article about Sheila Paine here.


Stitch of a Symbol gallery display
Going behind-the-scenes
Visitors were able to book a place on a special behind-the-scenes talk led by Curator and Joint Head of Collections, Julia Nicholson. Visitors were able to see close-up objects specially taken off of display and retrieved from the Museum's stores. 


Textiles in the research space © Pitt Rivers Museum
Curatorial Assistant, Nicholas Crowe, and Curator and Joint Head of Collections, Julia Nicholson, laying out objects in the research space ready for the tours. 


Visitors in the research space © Pitt Rivers Museum
Beautiful and intricate objects were laid out in the research space. Visitors were able to take photos, hear Julia talk about how the objects were acquired and learn a bit about their history. It was excellent to hear many of the visitors puzzling between themselves about how they thought garments were constructed and exactly how decorations were applied. Through opportunities such as this, we hope to facilitate visitors to get thinking about the intricacies of construction and about the individuals who made - and still make - such objects.

Floral brocaded ribbon (Slovakia 2008.117.5) © Pitt Rivers Museum
Mola (Panama, 1924.46.74) © Pitt Rivers Museum

Waistcoat and blouse (Slovakia, 2008.117.1-.2)
© Pitt Rivers Museum
Tapestry panel (Peru, 1952.7.69) © Pitt Rivers Museum





















Huipil blouse (Guatemala 1990.46.1) © Pitt Rivers Museum
Visitors in the research space © Pitt Rivers Museum

Weaving demonstrations and object handling
The balcony space on the first floor was filled with textiles from our handling collections - visitors were able to pick up and look closely at all sorts of objects - contrasted in different ways - from around the world. One of the days highlights was Head of Conservation, Jeremy Uden, demonstrating weaving on an 8 shaft loom. Visitors of all ages seemed to find this intricate and time consuming work really interesting and asked many questions throughout the day! With help from VERVE volunteers, people could also have a go at weaving on a 4 shaft loom. 


Head of Conservation, Jeremy Uden, demonstrating
an 8 shaft loom. © Pitt Rivers Museum
Visitor using a 4 shaft loom © Pitt Rivers Museum


Volunteers and visitors have a go at 4 shaft loom weaving using patterns designed by Jeremy Uden, Head of Conservation. 


Colourful handling objects © Pitt Rivers Museum

Handling objects - Huipil blouses from Guatemala (2016.223.edu and 2016.219.edu) and a backstop loom likely to be from South America (2002.168.edu). 


Handling object - toy doll in traditional Uzbek dress
(2016.608.edu) © Pitt Rivers Museum 

Coffee and cross stitch  
To finish off their visit, we invited people to join VERVE staff and volunteers for a coffee and to have a go at cross stitch in our seminar room. Each cross stitch design had been specially created by VERVE volunteers and reflected patterns found on the women's hats in the Sheila Paine collection. People could take away patterns and the work they had begun to continue cross stitching in their own time. Some visitors said that this was the first time they had cross stitched since childhood and that they now felt inspired to keep going with the craft. Others had never tried cross stitching before and learnt a new skill whilst also connecting with the collections in a new way. 


Designs based on 2008.116.22 - a panel made for a
women's skull cap © Pitt Rivers Museum
Cross stitching © Pitt Rivers Museum
Finished cross stitch © Pitt Rivers Museum
A new convert to cross stitching shows off her completed design! 




All in all, Textiles in Focus Day was a real success, offering more than 400 visitors the chance to closely examine the textiles in the collections and get some insight into the people who still make and use such items today. 

Keep an eye on our what's on pages for information about other events like this one ... in 2017 we are offering monthly hands-on workshops (such as prehistoric knife making!) that provide the chance to explore the making methods behind objects in the collections. 

Jozie Kettle
VERVE Programming and Communications Officer

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Out in Oxford: handling collection

Helena Fox volunteered at the Pitt Rivers Museum assisting with preparations for activities during LGBT+ History Month in 2017.  We asked Helena to explore our Object Handling collection.  Here are her experiences: 

From 28th November to 2nd December I had the opportunity to undertake work experience at Pitt Rivers Museum.  One of the tasks I had was to search the Museum’s Object Handling Database to find items which could be used as part of the Pitt RiversOut in Oxford LGBT+ History Month in February 2017. Here, I want to highlight two objects which I feel have a particularly pertinent part to play in contemporary discussions around LGBTQ+ issues.

Mask 2002.160.edu © Pitt Rivers Museum

The first object I have picked is the collection’s carved wooden face mask, called a Mwana Pwo mask, of the Chokwe people of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These masks, depicting the ideals of female beauty, are used in initiation ceremonies to promote fertility and honour the women of the communities in which they are used. However, Mwana Pwo masks are always worn by men who dress as women and skilfully mimic female movements during performances. For me, the mask evokes conversations I have had about the huge scope of different gender identity expression, such as is seen in the hugely popular TV show, RuPaul’sDrag RaceThe Mwana Pwo masks are objects of great importance and respect; they are so revered that it is said they are buried with the masqueraders. In my opinion, these masks speak of widespread respect for the fluidity of gender expression and the many different forms which this can take, and this is highly relevant to LGBTQ+ discourse today.

Kohl flask and applicator 2016.75.1.edu and 2016.75.2.edu © Pitt Rivers Museum

The second item which struck me as especially interesting is the collection of kohl flasks. I was grasped by two things: first, that kohl is associated with both practical and aesthetic uses, and secondly that, in Ancient Egypt, it was worn by men, women and children. Kohl’s practical applications included belief in the protection it provided against harsh sunlight, ailments and being cursed by the Evil Eye. Kohl is now known to have qualities which boost the immune system and help ward off potentially dangerous bacteria. This universal wearing of eyeliner, be it for practical, cultural or aesthetic reasons, made me think about our perception of makeup as an inherently female, or at least feminine, item. Consequently, we tend to associate men wearing makeup with a certain level of femininity and therefore an assumption of them being gay, as fits into the ‘gay best friend’ model of a camp man providing fashion and makeup advice. To qualify our unease with men wearing makeup, especially men we see as far too masculine to be gay (which is, in itself, an odd conclusion, as levels of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ behaviour cannot denote sexuality), we use terms like ‘male grooming’ and ‘guy liner’. Reading about male and female usage of kohl (made iconic in the images of Tutankhamun and Cleopatra so synonymous with our perception of Ancient Egypt) made me consider how strange our gendering of makeup is, and how we use this to presume people’s sexualities when we really have no basis to go on. 

Kohl flask and applicator 2016.9.1.edu and 2016.9.1.edu © Pitt Rivers Museum

I will leave you with this: next time you go to talk about someone wearing ‘guyliner’, why not try simply ‘eyeliner’? Is there really any difference?

Helena Fox
Volunteer

Monday, 21 November 2016

The story of a shoe ...

Inuit shoe 1886.1.747 © Pitt Rivers Museum
This Inuit shoe (1886.1.747), made of sealskin, was collected by Arctic explorer George Francis Lyon during his voyages in the 1820s. Lyon commanded HMS Hecla under Sir William Parry in 1821, and HMS Griper in 1824, both voyages seeking the North West Passage. The second voyage was a failure—the anchor chains were lost in a storm which also badly damaged the masts and rigging.  Having barely made it back to England, Lyon was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1825, and the record for this shoe says it was presented by him to Oxford in that year.

Lyon was perhaps more successful as an adventurer and early anthropologist than as an explorer. He had many interactions with Inuit people on these voyages and was tattood by them. His writings on Inuit people during these voyages have proven valuable to scholars since.

Sole of shoe 1886.1.747 © Pitt Rivers Museum
This shoe once had four strips of fur on the sole for grip on snow. It is exquisitely sewn with sinew (animal tendon) and part of an outfit designed for survival in the Arctic.


Laura Peers
Curator for Americas, Pitt Rivers Museum &
Professor of Museum Anthropology, School of Anthropology


See this shoe and more footwear made of animal skin on display in the Leatherwork case (L.63.A) on the Lower Gallery.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Archaeology Displays Update

Museum staff arranging metal objects ©Pitt Rivers Museum
The new archaeology displays in the Pitt Rivers Museum will be displayed by type of material, rather than by chronology or geography.  The objects for these displays have been selected and now the time has come to layout all the objects to determine their final positions in the cases.  Prof Dan Hicks was involved with the final selection, Technicians Alistair and Adrian advised regarding the placement of objects in the cases and Conservator Miriam recommended ways to support and protect the objects.

The run of 10 archaeological cases is 17 metres in length and so it is important to see the potential layout of the cases next to each other.  The team spent three days working through the the displays which will show archaeological objects made of stone, metal, bone, glass, ceramic, wood and textile.



This case contains examples of spindle whorls © Pitt Rivers Museum

We started with the stone case.  The PRM has over 10,000 archaeological objects; most of these are stone tools so we had a lot to choose from. The carved stone piece in the centre of the photograph is a fragment of limestone (1884.138.12) excavated by Lt. Gen. Pitt-Rivers himself from Caesar’s Camp near Folkstone.

A close up of objects made of wood © Pitt Rivers Museum
Organic material is less likely to survive in the archaeological record but the museum holds some interesting examples to display in the case.  This case contains an intriguing wooden mummy face (1890.25.3) from Ancient Egypt 3rd Intermediate period excavated by Flinders Petrie and a mystery wooden object, possibly a lock, from a bog in Aghabullogue, Ireland (1884.117.1).

A close up of textiles © Pitt Rivers Museum

Archaeological textiles pose a problem for the museum conservation team.  These textiles are fragile and vulnerable to UV light, high lux light levels and to museum pests.  The conservation and technical services departments are investigating methods to control light levels and protect the textiles on display.

A close up of objects made from bone © Pitt Rivers Museum

The bone case contains examples of bone, tooth, shell and horn.  This case contains many small objects.  During the layout we took the opportunity to test the case text.  We printed mock up labels and tried placing the labels along the side edges of the cases.

The Archaeology Stone case in situ © Pitt Rivers Museum

The first display was installed on the Upper Gallery in October 2016.  Keep an eye out for more appearing soon!

Madeleine Ding and Sian Mundell
VERVE Curatorial Assistants

Thursday, 20 October 2016

New techniques in soft-mount making at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Recently, in the conservation lab we have been busy preparing objects for a new display. Rank and Status in the Pacific is one of the new VERVE displays, which are being installed in the Lower Gallery. The case presents a range of items, including jewelry, clothing and ceremonial sticks, representing emblems of authority and status in the Pacific.

A large number of soft mounts, mostly consisting of padded MDF boards covered in Jersey fabric, were required to support the many neck ornaments, which feature in the display. However, two particular objects, a headband 1989.28.11 and a shell necklace 1990.22.3, offered us the opportunity to be more experimental with our mounts. We decided to create a head-and-neck 3D mount, which would display the objects as they would have been worn. This mount will be the centerpiece of the case.

To create a mount of this kind we would normally use a method called buckram, which consists of covering a mould, usually a mannequin, in layers of linen strips impregnated with starch paste which, once dry, create a cast of the mould.  Although this method is very efficient and very popular among conservators and mount makers, it can be very time-consuming, especially when many layers of linen strips are required to achieve the desired shape and strenght. Each layer in fact has to be completely dry before a new layer can be applied.

However, a new material, called Fosshape (Fosshape™), is becoming more and more popular among conservators and mount makers as an alternative to buckram for making soft mounts. Fosshape has been designed and used mostly in the millinery industry and it is a thermoplastic, non-woven, synthetic fabric, which can be molded into any desired shapes using vapour and heat. Earlier this year, I used the same material to create a hand-shaped mount for a leather glove 1911.29.85 used in the masonry industry, which is now on display in the Stonework display in the Lower Gallery.

Leather glove 1911.29.85 mounted on a hand-shaped mount made of Fosshape, front (left) and back (right) 
           
In April, Jeremy Uden, Deputy Head of Conservation, and I also attended a one-day training session at the textile conservation lab at the V&A with Textile Conservation Display Specialists Rachael Lee.  At the V&A, Fosshape is used extensively. Due to its versatility, ease and speed of use, it is an ideal material to adapt mannequins and create desired silhouettes for costumes. Our day at the V&A textile lab, gave us a chance to practice further with Fosshape and improve our skills under Rachael’s direction, and to observe how versatile this material can be and what great potential it has for use in conservation and mount making.

Although it is great fun to work with Fosshape, it must be said that creating complex mounts out of it can be tricky. For our first attempts, the hand-shaped mount mentioned above and the head-and neck mount, we set our goals pretty high.

The first step was to select a suitable mannequin’s head to use as a mould on which to shape the Fosshape. Given the size of the headband, which we were making the mount for, we needed a fairly small head. Finding a mannequin of a suitable size can be difficult when only a few are available in a small lab.  Fortunately, the mannequin available to us was perfect for the job. 

Our mannequin head is covered in calico fabric, which has been cut into eight sections and sewn together to create a perfect fit for the head. We decided to use a similar pattern to cut the Fosshape into eight pieces, which we then sewed together. We chose to use Fosshape 600 grs for this project, as it creates stronger mounts than the Fosshape 300 grs, which is more suitable for smaller, lighter mounts, like the hand-mount shown above.


Sewing patterns
Once ready, the Fosshape was turned inside-out and fitted onto the mannequin head again ready to be shrunk with heat and vapour from an iron. To ensure that the mount could be removed from the mannequin, the back of the mount was stitched by hand. 

Fosshape sections sewn together and fitted onto the mannequin, front (left) and back (right)
A wet piece of calico was used as a barrier between the mount and the iron, partly to generate more vapour and partly to protect the mount from potential burns. We shrunk the Fosshape to a point where we felt comfortable that it was still flexible enough to be removed from the mannequin, while still being able to retain its shape. Once removed from the mannequin, which required a significant amount of teamwork in order to plan, pull and remove it without causing any damage to the mount or the mannequin, the Fosshape mount was stitched back together.

Jeremy shrinking the Fosshape 
Fosshape mount shrunken and ready to be removed from the mannequin, front (left) and back (right)




















Although our mount at this stage was already quite strong, following advice from Rachael, we decided to add a layer of buckram for additional strength. The mount was left to dry overnight and the next day was ready to be covered in fabric. We used the same pattern created for the Fosshape to make a black Jersey cover to fit the mount. At this stage, it is impossible to stitch through the Fosshape as it is completely hardened. This meant that the Jersey had to be stretched out gradually onto the mount, using pins. Whereas the majority of the cover was machine sewn, the back of the mount was hand-stitched. At the base of the neck, the fabric was tucked inside and hot-glued to the mount. 

Fosshape mount covered with a layer of buckram 
Miriam sewing the Jersey fabric cover (left) and Jersey cover nearly completed (right) 

Ultimately, the headband mounted on Polyfelt covered in black jersey, was attached to the head using Velcro, and the necklace was fixed onto the mount using nylon monofilament wire.



Headband and necklace mounted onto the Fosshape mount, front (top center), side (bottom left), back (bottom right)

The results of our experimentation were highly pleasing. Aside from being a really useful, alternative, material for soft mounts, we were able to assess the huge potential that Fosshape has to aid the interpretation of objects in our displays. Rank and Status will be installed soon… Watch this space!

Miriam Orsini
VERVE Conservator

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tales From a Student Placement

Dominic Persinger, Archaeology student from Cardiff University, undertook a summer placement at the PRM, here he shares his experiences. 

My First Day © Pitt Rivers Museum

Elation is the only word that can be used to describe my feeling upon receiving news that I would be undergoing a placement here at the Pitt Rivers Museum. With my favoured career path set firmly in the direction of museum work, opportunities do not come much greater than gaining vital experience at my long-standing favourite museum. With a varied and diverse schedule I would gain valuable insight into the inner workings of this most charismatic museum.



Education Department


During my time at the museum I was given the chance to participate in a number of the museum's summer family friendly activities. On my first day I was able to try my hand at construction as children were tasked with building a structure that could withstand a randomly chosen environmental condition. Some straws, lollypop sticks and a whole lot of creativity later, we were left with some structures that would challenge even the contents of the 'Building and Housing' case found on the court level. 


Audiences enjoying the pop-up puppet show © Pitt Rivers Museum
The following week I was lucky enough to sit in on the increasingly popular pop-up puppet show. I, like the rest of the audience, was blown away by the beauty and intricacy of the Indonesian shadow puppets. Manned by a pair of the museum's many enthusiastic volunteers that I would meet during my stay, the puppets played out the Ramayana, a traditional Hindu epic.



Projects and Popcorn


Over the course of my placement I would help out with the research, planning and organisation of the museum's forthcoming community and outreach projects. This swiftly became perhaps the most rewarding part of my experience. Having input into the upcoming LGBTQ+ museum-wide trail and the refugee and asylum seeker engagement project, I felt as though I was a part of something very special. One day we welcomed After 18 to the museum, a Leicester based group consisting of unaccompanied refugee and asylum seeking young people. While we hunted through the museum's dense displays to locate objects from their respective native countries, it was a privilege to observe the visitors interact and engage with the collections, as clearly beloved memories and stories were triggered throughout. Witnessing such engagement projects first hand reassured me how important the work carried out by the culture and heritage sector really is; after all, in my opinion, people should be at the heart of everything a museum does. Coming from an archaeological background it was particularly interesting to be able to oversee the complete process of an object being discovered, displayed and finally engaged with. 

Crowds lounging around watching Star Wars © Pitt Rivers Museum

In the time leading up to my placement I would never have guessed that at any point I would be sat watching Star Wars whilst the sun was setting over the picturesque museum lawn. But alas, deck chairs and beanbags were scattered across the grass as Cult Screens brought three days of outdoor cinema-viewing pleasure to the Oxford public. Hearing the imperial march echo through the 19th century grounds was a distinct highlight of mine.


Collections Department


As a part of the VERVE project, new archaeology displays are destined for the Upper Gallery and I was lucky enough to experience the processes involved with planning, selecting and organising these new display cases. Seeing up close and personal both the artefacts that made the cut and those that did not was a real treat. I will never look at a display the same again now that I know of the precision and patience that goes into getting the contents and aesthetics just right.


The very same day we visited the museum's Osney store. Upon meeting the team conducting a two and a half year project packaging the store's contents ready for transportation to a new location, the extreme scale of their task became apparent. The store is currently home to around 100,000 objects, so naturally I jumped at the chance to be granted this behind-the-scenes access and experience some of them for myself. If you too would like to explore some of the store's many items, do check out the recent Pitt Rivers Stores twitter account (@Pitt_Stores) for frequent updates on the newest discoveries.


Front of House 


One Monday I spent the day with the museum's front of house staff, it was my chance to adorn the red tie. I soon realised that I would spend most of the day answering one infamous question- "where are the shrunken heads?". When talking with the front of house guys, I was incredibly impressed by the whole team's extensive knowledge of the collections - they really did know the museum inside out.  I relished at the chance to spend some time with the displays myself, forever discovering something new as I strolled through the galleries.


Making fire the good ol' fashioned way © Pitt Rivers Museum

Pitt Fest


The focal point of my placement would be preparing for the museum's fourth annual Pitt Fest. Fittingly the theme for this year's fest was archaeology, giving me the opportunity to really sink my teeth into the event's organisation. After weeks of long and hard preparation, the big day came along and greeted us with substantial rain and blistering winds. However, the weather conditions did not dampen the spirits of the crowds who descended onto the museum lawn. Visitors explored the world of archaeology through free drop-in demonstrations, workshops, object handling, activities, performances and talks. I spent the first half of my day dissecting ancient poo (that's right, I said poo!); many a laugh was shared as festival goers dismembered fake coprolites in order to determine what part of history they would have came from, be it Roman, Viking or Tudor.


Fancy a story? © Pitt Rivers Museum

My nerves grew throughout the day as I was due to close the new soapbox talk series. Sharing a platform with experienced museum professionals and Oxford University professors was a daunting thought. As a result of the relentless rain my audience was confined to those who could cram into the soapbox tent, making for an easing and intimate atmosphere. I delivered the talk on one of my particular areas of interest, the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in Europe. I discussed the debates that surround how the transition from from a hunter-gatherer way of life to a farming one played out, with particular focus on the recent developments of exciting scientific methods that we can use within archaeology, such as strontium isotope analysis and aDNA studies. In all I was pleased with how my talk went and with the interest it sparked with those listening. It was however nice to unwind afterwards by eating some gorgeous world street food and dancing around to the infectious sounds of the Seby Ntege Band.



The Seby Ntege Band closing the day's festivities © Pitt Rivers Museum















To conclude I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff at the Pitt Rivers Museum, in particular the VERVE team, for making me feel so welcome and a part of the group. The work you do is truly inspiring and Im sure I will be seeing you all again very soon.

Dominic Persinger
University of Cardiff Placement Student