Exterior shot of the World Museum Liverpool

Programme of events

Sunday 10 September 2017

Come and ‘Meet the Scientists’ in the fabulous setting of the World Museum! This is an exciting opportunity to find out how scientists study both ancient and living humans by talking to the specialists themselves and trying out a whole range of activities to help you discover the fascinating things skeletons can tell us about our species in the distant past right through to today.

Anthropological Study of the Necropolis of Cortijo Nuevo, Lucena, Córdoba, Dating from the 5th Century AD in Hispanic Late Antiquity

Composite image showing two grave sites and a reconstructed skeleton.

Discover what we can learn from the skeletons and the objects buried with them about the life and death of people from Spain over 1,600 years ago. Were people healthy and what were their lives like? What kinds of belongings and other items did they choose to bury with their loved ones? And why were some graves completely empty?

With Ricardo Ortega-Ruiz, Daniel Botella Ortega, Paula Castellana Martí, Elena García López de la Franca, and Victoria Silva Martínez from the Instituto de Formación Profesional en Ciencias Forenses and  Archaeological and Ethnological Museum of Lucena, Córdoba.

Dredging Up the Past: Uncovering the Archaeological Human Remains from the River Thames

Would you believe that some of the many things that turn up in a major river like the Thames are parts of ancient human skeletons? Well, it's true! Join us to find out just what kinds of human bones are found in the Thames, how old they are, which other kinds of ancient objects that are also found, and what they might tell us about life and beliefs in the past. You can even see some of the finds for yourself!

With Nichola Arthur and Heather Bonney from the Earth Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, London.

Guess who? The Game of Genetic Identification

Image of a researcher drilling into a bones to take a sample - image copyright: Jeff Veitch

It’s that well known game, but not as you know it! Come and play to find out how genetics can be used to reveal information about ancient and modern people which we can't see from their skeletons – such as the colour of their hair, whether they were male or female and where in the world they may have come from.

With Eva Fernandez-Dominguez from the Department of Archaeology, Durham University.

Image copyright: Jeff Veitch

Make Your Own Paleolithic Cave Painting

Around 32,000 years ago, people started painting the walls of caves with stunning images of things like animals, people and human hand prints. But why? Did people think the paintings had magical powers that would make them successful hunters, were they drawn by shamans to show others their mystical visions, or were people illustrating stories about their lives? How can we know? Come and find out more to decide why you think people made these beautiful images, and have a go at making one for yourself!

With Isabelle De Groote from Liverpool John Moores University.

Walking Like Lucy

Humans are unusual animals – we walk on two feet rather than four. But when did our ancestors start walking in this strange way? Did they immediately start walking like us or did some of our ancestors walk in a way that was completely different from other animals and us? At rare sites from Africa to the UK, the footprints of ancient people are preserved. Come and see replicas of these footprints and see what they can tell us about how our ancestors moved. Can you work out how Lucy, a famous three and a half million year old human ancestor found in Africa, walked around? And can you show us how you think she walked?

With Ashleigh L.A. Wiseman and Isabelle De Groote from the Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Paleoecology, Liverpool John Moores University.

Art, Sex and Death: The Forensic Science of Human Evolution

Image of a cave painting showing the outlines of hands

It is fascinating how forensic science can be used to solve crimes, but now something rather special is happening. The scientific skills developed while investigating crime scenes, homicides and mass fatalities are being used to investigate and understand human evolution. Come and see how forensic techniques can be used to tell us about ancient people, such as whether men or women produced hand prints in Paleolithic Cave Art, or how our really ancient ancestors from South Africa, a species known as Homo naledi, might have treated their dead. 

With Patrick Randolph-Quinney, Ashley Kruger, Marina Elliott, Jason Hall, Emma Nelson, and Anthony Sinclair  from the  School of Forensic and Applied Sciences at University of Central Lancashire, the Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand, and the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures, and Institute of Clinical Sciences at the University of Liverpool.

Generating Virtual 3D Models from Dry Skeletal Material Using Computed Tomography (CT)

3D technology offers an exciting new way to print all kinds of things, even realistic replicas of human bones! Find out how we can create 3D copies of bones, see the printed versions for yourself and see whether you think they look realistic. If you were part of a jury, do you think they would they help you understand a forensic case better than just pictures? Could we use copies of bones to take measurements for research, and so protect the precious real museum specimens from damage?

With Rachael Carew , Ruth Morgan, and Carolyn Rando from the Department of Security and Crime Science, the Centre for the Forensic Sciences, and the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

Exploring Aquatic Sctivity in Ancient Cyprus: External Auditory Exostoses and Maritime Resource Procurement

When did people start diving or fishing in deep water to get some of their food, and how can we tell? By looking at extra bone growth in the ear canal! See what these changes look like and how their appearance in ancient skeletons from Cyprus have been used to tell when people started to become regular fishers and divers, and what this might have meant not only for what they ate but how people related to one another.

With Kirsi Lorentz from The Cyprus Institute, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Centre.

What Can (Roman) Teeth Teach Us? Using a Mass Grave to Examine Roman Dental Health

Roman people suffered from problems like cavities and abscesses just like we do today, and had a go at dentistry to relieve them. We will show you what studying people's teeth, using the example of a Roman mass burial from Gloucester, can tell us about their lives, their food, their health and whether their attempts at dentistry were any good. Would you have wanted to visit a Roman dentist? Remember, they had no painkillers, no anaesthtic and relatively simply tools...

With Eleanor R. Dove, Ian Towle, Joel D. Irish, Constantine Eliopoulos, and Isabelle De Groote from Liverpool John Moores University.

Overhead image of the skeleton of King Richard the 3rd against a black background

Discovery and Identification of Richard III

We will take you on a journey from the discovery to the identification of Richard III, the ‘King in the Car Park’. This is your chance to see a complete, life-size, 3D replica of Richard III's remains, discover how we were able to learn about Richard's life and death from his skeleton and how we can be so sure that these remains really are Richard.

With Alison Brough, Caroline Wilkinson and Turi King from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Leicester.

Drones and Cultural Heritage

Did you know that we can use drones to help record and protect archaeology and our cultural heritage? Talk to experts about the kinds of things we can use drone technology for, and see some examples of the kinds of work drones are being used for when studying the past.

Isabelle De Groote, Frederic Bezombes, Ashleigh Wiseman and Alex Moore from Liverpool John Moores University.