The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Direct Digital Radiographic Imaging of Archaeological Skeletal Assemblages: An advantageous technique and the use of the images as a research resource


Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, Museum of London, Gaynor Western, Ossafreelance, Mark Farmer, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust

March 26, 2015 , Gateway Ballroom 4 Add to calendar

The application of radiography to archaeological skeletal assemblages has often been limited with constraints of access to equipment & facilities for wet film radiography processing, time and financial costs. Direct Digital Radiography (DDR) is a method of radiography that provides a rapid and relatively inexpensive means for visualising and analysing the internal structure of skeletal elements, providing a valuable additional level of pathology data and in depth interpretation of archaeological skeletal assemblages. Important features of the technique are that it is non-destructive, mobile and being digital, can produce large data sets of images in a short time in multiple formats compatible with many online platforms. Based upon the results of research using digital radiographic images taken of a selected number of curated skeletal remains from the Museum of London, St Bride’s Church and Worcester Royal Infirmary this presentation will demonstrate the advantages of DDR application to archaeological skeletal remains. Highlighted will be the importance of working with radiologists & the clinical base of orthopaedic knowledge in diagnosing and understanding pathology; development of a valuable research resource for access by a wider audience and the impact to palaeopathology for a greater understanding of disease processes. Established clinical standard frameworks, DICOM and PACS, can be easily applied for use in the anthropological field. Following such existing systems for accessing, transferring, storing and sharing digital radiographic images between institutions, provide a means to address a curatorial issue necessary to face in regard to long term digital curation of such research resources.