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Putting Flesh on the Bones: cataloguing and digitising the Calvin Wells Archive

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, this project will unlock a hidden collection with huge potential for research, teaching and public engagement. It's all about the bones!

Now recruiting a Project Archivist.  Full details on the Vacancy webpage.

About the Project

Calvin Wells was a doctor turned archaeologist, who pioneered the study of disease and injury in archaeological remains: palaeopathology.  His influence on archaeology and other disciplines remains very strong.  His archive however is under-used, partly because it was split between Special Collections and the department of Archaeological Sciences.  Special Collections, with Dr Jo Buckberry, of Archaeological Sciences, and Sarah George, the archaeology subject librarian, have acquired funding from the Wellcome Trust to bring this collection together and catalogue, preserve and digitise it.  This will also enable archaeologists to use the evidence in the collection to trace the remains and sites with which Dr Wells was involved.

Project Progress

The part of the archive in Special Collections has been catalogued to a basic level and can be used by researchers. The mapping of the part in Archaeological Sciences was started in 2014-2015 by a Special Collections placement student, Lucy Johnson.  We successfully applied for a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Scoping Award, receiving £5,800 to enable us to scope the work required to apply for more funding from Wellcome.  A conservator and archivist visited us in October 2015.  Their reports led to an invitation from Wellcome to submit a full bid.  That was submitted in October 2016 and we heard that we had succeeded the following month.  We are recruiting a Project Archivist, details above. The project proper should start on 1 June 2017.


Web page for the part of the archive in Special Collections

Object 60 Bones, Bodies and Disease and Object 92 The story of Skeleton A8 (leprosy in Saxon England) in our 100 Objects exhibition tell the stories of some of the most important Calvin Wells materials in Special Collections.