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Your chance to become a real pathologist


Just like the BBC TV programmes Waking the Dead and Silent Witness, The Novium is getting to grips with some of the bones in its collection. A new lecture series starting next month will reveal fascinating facts about the reality of life in the past, based on the study of human remains. There will be an opportunity to examine a skeleton as part of an 'autopsy' workshop.

Chichester has one of the largest documented leper cemeteries in England. The cemetery of the Hospital of St James and St Mary Magdalene was discovered on Swanfield Drive.

The human remains from the cemetery are currently on loan from The Novium to the University of Bradford. Recently, the university received funding enabling them to produce 3D scans of the bones. These scans provide an invaluable resource for clinical training and research.

The museum also cares for the remains from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered at Apple Down, East Marden. These remains have recently been used to research early evidence of syphilis. They also currently feature as part of a project with the University of Oxford, mapping ancient human DNA in order to better understand what happened to the Romano-British population after the arrival of the Saxons.

The three lectures are led by experts in human osteology, who have researched the Chichester collections. The lectures are:

·       An 'Autopsy' of Bones - Dr Paola Ponce, bone processor at Archaeology South East, undertakes an 'autopsy' of a skeleton and looks at the medical issues this can reveal. Thursday 7 March from 6pm to 8pm.

·       From Cemetery to Clinic - Dr Jo Buckberry, Human Osteology and Palaeopathology Lecturer at the University of Bradford, will examine bones excavated from the Hospital of St James and St Mary Magdalene, Chichester. Recent 3D scans of the bones have provided a deeper insight into the realities of the disease. Thursday 14 March from 6pm to 8pm.

·       Sex and the Saxons - Early Evidence of Syphilis - Garrard Cole, Honorary Research Associate at University College London, will discuss his research on Burial 152 from Apple Down Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Wednesday 27 March from 6pm to 8pm.

Councillor Eileen Lintill, Chichester District Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing and Community Services, says 'We are really lucky. Chichester has a very rich and interesting history. Its Roman past and its importance in both the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods have led to some significant archaeological findings. These lectures will provide a great insight into the realities and experiences of past peoples."

Pre-booking for all three lectures is essential as places are limited. Each lecture costs £15 or £40 if all three are booked together.

For more information please call The Novium on 01243 775888, email at or visit