Winchester archaeologists help establish origins of leprosy
posted: 26 Oct 2013
Dr Simon Roffey and Dr Katie Tucker recently contributed to research that has provided new insights into the genetic origins of leprosy. The research, published online by Science, is a genome-wide comparison of medieval and modern Mycobacterium leprae, the bacterium that causes leprosy. Co-authors Roffey and Tucker supplied the UK medieval skeletons, excavated from the high-profile 'leper hospital' excavation. The analysis indicates skeletal evidence of leprosy in over 85% of the burials, the largest percentage recorded in Britain.
“I believe St Mary Magdalen was a pioneering hospital, created as a response to the sudden spread of leprosy in England,” said Dr Roffey. “This idea is further supported by the genome research that has revealed that the disease spread during the time of the Crusades. I think it might also be linked to the increased popularity of pilgrimage, especially to the Holy Land, during this period.”
Archaeologists present their research at local community events
posted: 2 Oct. 2013
This autumn, two researchers from the 'leper hospital' excavation team will present talks in central Winchester on this groundbreaking project. On Nov 26th, Leper Hospital Co-Director Dr Simon Roffey will be one of three prominent local archaeologists speaking at an event organised by the Winchester Excavations Committee at the Guildhall, while on Dec 9th, osteoarchaeologist Dr Katie Tucker will talk about evidence for leprosy in skeletal remains at the Hampshire Record Office
Find out more about the event featuring Dr Tucker
Find out more about the event featuring Dr Roffey
Departmental excavation subject of art exhibition
posted: 11 Oct. 2013
Our high-profile 'leper hospital' excavation is now the subject of an exciting exhibition currently on display in the University's Link Gallery. The exhibition, titled Negative Capabilty Part 1, will run until 2 November and is part of the series of events '10 Days Winchester Creative Collisions'. (Image: Negative Capability Part 1. Excavation, by Sue Wood). Find out more about the exhibition Negative Capabilty.
Winchester archaeologists kick off City Centre Conversations series
posted: 11 Sept. 2013
On Sept 26th, Drs Phil Marter and Simon Roffey (photo) will present the first in the new series of City Centre Conversations in Winchester, a monthly series of short events in social venues, bringing the University’s research into the heart of the city. Their talk, titled Contemporary sense of place in a historic city, will take place in La Place Bistro on The Square in central Winchester (opposite the museum) from 18.30 to 20.00. Book your place HERE.
Hayling Island Pop-up Museum and public lecture
posted: 24 July 2013
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of July, Northney Farm on Hayling Island will boast a 'pop-up museum', which will showcase the fascinating archaeology of North Hayling and in particular the nearby Roman Temple site. The site was excavated by Professor Tony King, who, together with Graham Soffe, will deliver a free public lecture about the site and the excavations on Saturday evening. The lecture will begin at 19.30 and take place at Northney Farm Tea Rooms, St Peters Road, Hayling Island, Hampshire, PO11 0RX. To book seats, email email Tim Pike.
This event is one of the many events taking place all over the country as part of the Council of British Archaeology's Festival of Archaeology.
Departmental 'leper hospital' excavation to feature in new TV programme
posted: 30 Jan. 2013
The Archaeology Department's Magdalen Hill Archaeological Research Project, fondly known as the 'leper hospital', will feature in an episode of the new History Channel series Grave Trade, to be broadcast in February.
Find out more about Grave Trade
Find out more about the leper hospital excavation
18 Oct. 2012
Out now: latest issue of Departmental newsletter
Featuring updates on research from Barbados to Belgium and Cornwall to Winchester as well as on staff and student activity and research facilities. Download your copy via the link in the right-hand side column.
10 October 2012
Saudi Arabian PhD student among artists in exhibition about Islam
Saudi Arabian Archaeology PhD student Noha al-Sharif, who is also one of the few well-known female artists in Saudi Arabia, is breaking new ground with her sculptures as part of the exhibition Made in Makkah® in London's Artspace (4 - 27 Oct). Noha's PhD is on the archaeology of Islamic textiles; her research is partly informed by her artistic work.
Find out more about the exhibition Made in Makkah®
Find out more about Noha al-Sharif
5 July 2012
Centre for Applied Archaeology and Heritage Management conference
CAAHM, the Archaeology Department's research centre, hosted its first major event since the successful launch event in June 2011: the day conference '21st-Century Archaeologists: Teaching, Training and Professional Development' on 19 June. Find out more about the 21st-Century Archaeologists conference
24 May 2012
Local funding for medieval leper hospital research project
Dr Simon Roffey, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology, has been awarded a research grant of nearly £4000 by the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society for osteoarchaeological examination of human remains from St Mary Magdalen Winchester (the 'leper hospital'). This follows another recent successful funding bid to the British Academy, in which Dr Roffey was awarded £8000 for the same project. He will be working with Osteoarchaeology Researcher Dr Katie Tucker (photo: human bone expert Dr Katie Tucker examining human remains in the Archaeology Laboratory with Professor Alice Roberts).
3 May 2012
Leper hospital excavation cover story in latest issue of Current Archaeology
Having already made headlines across the national media, our groundbreaking excavation of a medieval leper hospital on the outskirts of Winchester is now the cover story in the popular magazine Current Archaeology.
Find out more about the leper hospital in Current Archaeology
21 March 2012
The Winchester Pilgrimage
For thousands of years peopled have journeyed to places of worship and sites of religious significance, in the hope that they might find salvation, peace of mind or reward in the afterlife. The University of Winchester, in conjunction with the Leprosy Mission, is proud to present a traditional pilgrimage, in aid of charity, from the centre of the historic city of Winchester to the site of Britain's oldest known hospital.
On the 10th of May (dedicated to St Damien, Patron Saint of lepers and leprosy), pilgrims will journey from the west end of the Cathedral via stopping stations at St John's House, St John's in the Soke, St Giles Hill and Morn Hill, before arriving at the archaeological excavation site of the Hospital of St Mary Magdalen. A series of short talks will be given and a service of commemoration/celebration of the lives of those who lived and died at the site will be held on arrival.
All proceeds from the pilgrimage will go to the UK charity The Leprosy Mission, whose work aims to highlight the plight of sufferers of leprosy or Hansen's Disease, to help ease their suffering with medical treatment and to reduce the stigma attached to this once feared disease.
If you would like to take part in this event, please meet at the west end of the Cathedral at 17.30 on 10 May. Pilgrims will be asked to make a small donation (minimum of £1) to the charity and in return will receive their pilgrim's badge on completion of the walk. Pilgrims may also be sponsored to walk on someone else's behalf, with sponsors receiving their pilgrim's sponsor badge upon completion of the pilgrimage. For more information about this exciting event, please contact Dr Phil Marter.
Photo: the in situ pilgrim's badge found at the 'leper hopital' excavation, evidence of medieval pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
15 March 2012
Archaeology Department to feature in new TV programme
On 14 March, Dr Simon Roffey and PhD candidate Katie Tucker were filmed for a new programme called Grave Trade, to be aired by the History Channel in the autumn; they discussed the leper burials at the Magdalen Hill Archaeological Research Project (MHARP).
Find out more about The Grave Trade
Find out more about MHARP
23 February 2012
Winchester archaeologist joins Time Team
Archaeologist and History PhD student Alex Langlands, of Victorian and Edwardian Farm fame, has joined the team of Time Team presenters; Series 19 of the popular long-running programme is currently being broadcast on Channel 4.
Find out more about the latest Time Team series
Photo: Alex Langlands dressed as an Edwardian farmer (Photo Lion TV)
1 February 2012
Winchester Archaeology students organise museum exhibition
An exciting exhibition by Archaeology undergraduates in collaboration with Hampshire Museums and Galleries Trust was launched on 31st January at Milestones living history museum in Basingstoke. The exhibition, Ancient Wessex, tells the story of Wessex from the Roman to medieval periods, featuring rarely seen artefacts from the University's private collections.
Find out more about the Ancient Wessex exhibition
19 January 2012
Department's high-profile 'leper hospital' excavation featured on BCC's The One Show
For a recent episode of The One Show, Ruth Goodman paid a visit to the Archaeology Department's headline-making 'leper hospital' excavation, to find out about the latest findings of this exciting project. In 2011, the Magdalen Hill Archaeological Research Project found evidence that at this hospital, the earliest in Britain, lepers were treated with care and respect.
Find out more about MHARP