First Review for Built on Bones!

So, I spent this week doing a lot of things. One of my favorites was freaking about my photoshopped proximity to lifetime hero author Neil ...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Regular readers of this blog (hi mom!) will be aware that generally, I talk about teeth. I post videos of teeth, I wonder what teeth might be telling us about Neolithic children, and otherwise tend towards the dental. Recently however, I was asked to do something a bit out of the ordinary -- the lovely organisers of the BONE exhibit at the Florence Nightingale Museum ( @florencemuseum )asked me to come and be a 'live respondent' in their installation.

How much fun, right? Art! But me, a scientist? However could it work??? It's like oil and water, right? Cats and dogs, chalk and cheese, Ikea furniture that requires an allen wrench and Ikea furniture shipped with an allen wrench. Which is to say, things that don't always come together. But Simon and Rhiannon, the organisers, were determined to bring a 'scientist' (moi) in to their thoughtful display. So how did that work?

Actually, pretty well. The exhibit focuses on 'bone', but by focus, I mean it writhes around all aspects of the stuff. On display are a wide variety of bone-related objects, from comfrey leaves (a plant used as a folk medical remedy, otherwise known as 'bone-knit'), x-rays of Sigmund Freud's jaw after that cigar habit finally lost him his maxilla to cancer, and horse metatarsals used as medieval ice-skates.

Various live respondents have left little objects in the exhibit as well; there are bone carvings from a well-known Maori artist alongside this dapper little fellow, prepared by Amanda ( @amanda_autopsy ) of Amanda's autopsies live in the exhibit.

While my session (in a charming, but decidedly indoors-and-underground room) coincided with the sunniest Saturday the UK saw all year, a few people did manage to come in to see the exhibit while I was around to answer questions, offer opinions, and generally natter on about the many interesting pieces in the exhibit, as well as my own research. It also gave me a chance to test out my new interactive... to be fully uncovered at the forthcoming Science Uncovered (woo! bar at work! how could that go wrong?) on September 28th, 2012 ... technology permitting.

In the meantime, a sneak preview of the beta test...

Trivia (personal)

archaeologist. dental anthropologist. yes, that's a real thing. Author of Built on Bones, available in February 2017 (UK), May 2017 (USA) from Bloomsbury.



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