Osteology in the frame

While the PTP project has a strong biomolecular approach, restricted access to laboratories and museum archives during Covid-19 has necessitated a few creative pivots. One such example was the vast cremated bone assemblage from the passage tomb at Knockroe, Co. Kilkenny. Knockroe was excavated in the early 1990s and again in 2010 by Professor Muiris O’Sullivan at UCD. The burial deposits were completely recovered, making it a very rare and scientifically important passage tomb assemblage. Working with Dr Jonny Geber from the University of Edinburgh, a leading osteologist with a genuine interest in cremated bone (not many people are!), we set about assessing the material and working out a systematic approach to its analysis. Sieving and sorting all of the fragments into standardized size categories will allow us to compare this assemblage with the Carrowkeel passage tombs, which Jonny has already analysed. There is a lot of cremated bone from Knockroe – well over 100 kilos we think – and Jonny started his analysis in August 2021, staying for nearly five weeks at our laboratories at UCD. That’s dedication!

Jonny sorting cremated human bone fragments from Knockroe

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