Skeletons in School… And it’s not Halloween!
HOP members are certainly more used to meeting the human “skeleton” at Halloween (oooh scary!) or on Scooby Doo (ha ha! funny!) rather than literally face to face which is what happened when Malin Holst, Osteoarchaeolgist came to talk at last week’s HOP meeting. HOP have been focusing on the Battle of Boroughbridge (1322) and invited Malin along to talk about her work and what can be learned from excavated skeletons. Malin worked on the Towton Battlefield excavations in 1996 and had evidence of the trauma the participants sustained. However, the children learned that is was also most important to keep in mind the human story of the skeletons and see them as people who lived, laughed, feared, loved and cried just as we do today.
After Malin’s talk, HOP invited a local resident to ask Malin’s opinion on a skull which she found in the attic of her house in Boroughbridge. The skull had trauma on the side of it. Could this person have taken part in the Battle of Boroughbridge and died as a result of a terrible head wound to the head? Malin examined the skull and thought not. The damage had occurred after death and although it was not possible to date the skull, she could tell us that it was of a middle aged to elderly female, so very likely ruling out our hoped for Battlefield connection. However, returning to our human story, for those with long standing family connections to the area, it was quite possible that they were looking at one their family ancestors.
Thanks to Malin for an extremely interesting talk, tackling head on the horrific realities of human conflict and for demonstrating to the children a caring and sensitive approach to the subject.