Happy Holidays!

Season’s greetings from TUBA!

To mark the end of the year, we had a little Christmas party with our friends over in the Humbugs research group! As we get together, it’s time for us to reflect on how busy and successful this year has been.

It’s a TUBA Humbug Christmas around the fireplace! (Thanks Netflix)

We’ve each presented at several international conferences: RAC/TRAC in Edinburgh, European Meeting on Forensic Archaeology in Belfast, the Ancient Protein Conference in Copenhagen, TRACamp at Vindolanda, and at the 10th Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum. If you haven’t read our posts about these visits, or fancy a trip down blogging memory lane, feel free to follow the links!

We welcomed Aboli to the TUBA team during the height of the gorgeous summer, and she’s settled in excellently. We have also written several papers that have been accepted or are being peer-reviewed as we speak (we’ll share the juicy deets soon!), and starred in the Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology magazine.

TUBA Rewind:

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Behind the scenes, we’ve been running lots of experiments and finishing method development for various techniques. Rhys is tying off his pXRF and 3D scanning experiments. Helga has completed her first excavation of a whole range of microcosm leather experiments. Aboli is designing HPLC protocols for examining dyed textiles, and examined enough fibres with a scanning microscope to make a tacky tasteful Christmas jumper. Finally, Gillian has done tremendous work with the construction and development of the state-of-the-art National Horizons Centre, which we’re all extremely excited to work in – please get in contact if you want to collaborate with us there!

At first we felt like this year had flown by, however, looking at this list of all the major things that TUBA have done, outdoing these achievements next year has become quite the daunting task! So, what’s next on the cards for TUBA? All three of the PhD students have their progressions in the coming months, some more conferences in February and April, intense experiment sessions at the NHC, and maybe finishing off with a little bit of world domination (first, we’ll take Manhattan and Berlin!).

TUBA

P.S. here’s a terrible archaeology Christmas cracker joke.

What do you call a very, very, very, very, very old joke?

… Pre-hysterical

Special Delivery!

Extra extra, read all about it!

We have just a mini bumper post (you lucky people, two posts in one week!). This week, we got our copies of the Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology magazine, an annual summary of work along the Wall. It ties perfectly with the Hadrian’s Wall Forum we attended last weekend!

And better yet…  a fantastic Vindolanda section, with our scientific research there, is featured right in the middle! Thanks to David Mason for making possible – pick up a copy and enjoy!

(Before you ask and claim this is a plug, no, we don’t get any royalties!)

Research Trip – 10th Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum

Hello all!

This weekend, Helga and I attended the 10th Hadrian’s Wall Archaeology Forum at Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, in Hexham. A whole decade since the first forum! This was a day conference dedicated to the general public, with talks about new discoveries or ongoing work along the frontier of Hadrian’s Wall. This year, TUBA were invited to talk about some of the work we have been doing at Vindolanda.

A very keen audience looking forward to the ‘new’ archaeology of Hadrian’s Wall!

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Research Trip – A Tremendous Time at TRACamp

Good evening everybody!

This weekend, we had the utmost pleasure to attend TRACamp (Theoretical Roman Archaeology Camp) at the glorious Vindolanda. And it really was glorious – clear, sunny skies all weekend despite the miserable forecast for the whole of the UK all weekend!

Vindolanda is almost like something out of a Wizard of Oz scene, so magical!

TRACamp, tag-lined ‘putting theory into practice’, is an experimental archaeology workshop dedicated to our good old friends, the Romans. This was an excellent opportunity to really see what some aspects of Roman life was like. It’s all well and good writing about some of the food they ate, but how about actually making and, better yet, eating it!?

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Ancient Protein Conference 2018 – Copenhagen

August was conference month for team TUBA. While Rhys gallivanted around Belfast at the European Meeting on Forensic Archaeology, Gillian, Caroline and I travelled over to Copenhagen for the Ancient Protein Workshop. The event has been held every twenty years so far, and it was a great opportunity to be able to attend as the field has seen some massive development in the last few years.

Clear skies outside the conference venue in Copenhagen.

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Research Trip – European Meeting on Forensic Archaeology

Hello all! What’s the craic?

This week, I had the pleasure of attending the 7th European Meeting on Forensic Archaeology (EMFA), in Belfast (where craic means something very different, you scoundrels!). So, relax inside away from the sudden cold weather, ready for me to share my experience with you!

Queen’s University Belfast is quite the picturesque campus!

This conference covered such a wide variety of content. Radiocarbon dating, geophysics, volatile compounds (the smelly stuff), trafficking, rituals, 3D analysis, WWI and WWII, grave identification, drones, and even sea burials. Better yet, all the content as made easy to understand regardless of your background – fantastic job to all the presenters! We also had demonstrations of ground penetrating radar, the human bone lab, and the GIS lab (a layered site mapping system). I love when conferences sprinkle extra bits of these hands-on demonstrations and workshops!

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Congratulations, Graduates!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Congratulations to all the students graduating this day, this week, this month and this year (cue the claps from Friends)! There is a whole group of students who worked hard on their projects with TUBA this year, and we couldn’t be more proud!

Is this a graduation version of Where’s Wally? I can see Wizard Whitebeard, but where’s Odlaw..!

Graduation is a great time of year, where both the students and staff are so happy and proud of all the hard work and accomplishments. The campus gets a real buzz – and not a pair of jogger bottoms in sight!

But what did the TUBA graduates do to get here? What was their work with TUBA on? Who are the people behind the graduation regalia? Well, settle down for a quick synopsis and a mini gallery of their smiley faces:

Didn’t I say they had smiley, proud faces? They were well-deserved!

We had Ollie Pepper looking at structural degradation of leather using Scanning Electron Microscopy, Kirsty looking at organic changes in buried woods using FTIR, Talia looking at organic changes in buried bone, Kealey looking at elemental changes in buried bone with the influence of preparation methods, and Jade looking at how we can present all this science nicely at Vindolanda.

Once again, congratulations to you all! We at TUBA wish each and every one of you the best in your future endeavours.

TUBA

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Rhys for winning the Sheppard Frere Prize, a prestigious award for research in Roman archaeology!

Prize giving with Gillian Taylor (left), Rhys Williams (middle) and Andrew Birley (right) and sunny Vindolanda (background)

As you may remember, we recently had several posters presented at the RAC/TRAC conference in Edinburgh. Thanks to the hard work and hours put in by everyone on the TUBA team, we got some great feedback for each poster. Rhys was even awarded the prize for the best and most innovative student poster for his work titled: “Bullseye: Analysis of ox skulls used for target practice at Roman Vindolanda”.

Please, read more about this in an interview over here!

TUBA

Warm Welcome to Aboli!

We’d like to give a very warm welcome to our newest team member Aboli Sanjay Vavle!

Aboli is an international student from India. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology in India. During her course, she was a part of a seminar on DNA Fingerprinting and studied modules like Toxicology and Biotechnology Techniques in Forensic Science which influenced her a lot to choose Forensic Science as her subject for Masters degree. For her Master’s final semester project she worked on Secondary transfer and persistence of fibres, which is now submitted to Science and Justice and will be published soon – watch this space. She completed her Masters in Forensic Science from Northumbria University, Newcastle. Following completion of her degree her passion for research in fibres remained and thus, enrolled onto a PhD program to continue this area of research. She is currently a full time PhD student at Teesside University. With good background knowledge in fibres on surfaces, she will now be investigating fibres in buried environment, mainly focusing on degradation of the dyes and how this study can be useful in forensic and archaeological context. Besides science, she is very passionate about singing, reading, travelling, new gadgets and photography. She is a foodie and loves trying out new and different cuisines.

Spectroscopy and Pastry. Is there anything better?

On top of the  need for speed, two members of this research group found themselves in need of a course in spectroscopy this month. Luckily, ThermoFisher Scientific came to our aid, and so new PhD student Aboli and I (hi, this is Helga!) were able to take a trip up to Paisley, Scotland, to be showered with spectroscopic knowledge this week.

Aboli and I took a seat at the back of the room closest to the morning pastries, with direct access to the tea station. Luckily, we both remembered to bring our glasses!

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