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Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC)

The Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC) is part of the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, University of Bradford. The centre specialises in the analysis of human skeletal remains, both ancient and modern. All members of staff are active academic researchers and the centre also undertakes a wide range of contract work on behalf of various archaeological units, museums, and other organisations.

The BARC (formerly the Calvin Wells Laboratory) houses the second largest collection of human skeletal remains in an archaeology department in the UK. This includes material dating from the Neolithic to the 19th century. While most of the collection derives from cemeteries excavated in the UK, a small amount of material comes from overseas excavations. Much of the material currently housed at the BARC is on temporary or long-term loan from museums and archaeological units throughout the UK.

We are located in the Faculty of Life Sciences Integrated Life Sciences Learning Centre which contains state-of-the-art laboratories and world class teaching facilities. The BARC consists of the Keith Manchester laboratory (for teaching osteology and palaeopathology), the Don Ortner Laboratory (for osteological; and palaeopathological research), an osteology workroom (study space for students), the bone store and radiography lab.

Further Information on:

BARC staff

  • Dr Jo Buckberry
  • Dr Hannah Koon
  • Dr Shirley Curtis-Summers
  • Dr Andrew Wilson

 

archaeologist using a microscope to examine remains

The BARC Collections

The collections of human remains curated by the BARC are large, varied, and cover a considerable time span from the Neolithic to the 19th century. It is the largest collection of human skeletal remains used for teaching in the UK. Most of our collections come from England, and were excavated by different field units or research projects as a result of the planning process.

You can find further details below.

Prehistoric

Wetwang Slack, East Yorkshire (Bronze Age and Iron Age, c.450 individuals)*

  • Barton-under-Needwood (Bronze Age cremations)

* On loan from the Hull and East Riding Museum

Roman

Baldock (California Cemetery), Hertfordshire (139 individuals)

  • Kingsholm, Gloucester (51 individuals)**
  • Gambier Parry Lodge, Gloucester (223 individuals)**
  • Various other smaller Roman sites from around Gloucester**
  • Piccadilly, York (9 individuals)
  • Odiham, Hampshire (5 individuals)

** On loan from Gloucester City Council Heritage and Museums Service

Anglo-Saxon

Eccles, Kent (7th century and later, 171 individuals)

  • Raunds, Northamptonshire (10th to 11th centuries, 357 individuals)
  • Sancton, East Yorkshire (5th to 6th centuries, 23 cremations)*
  • Crayke, North Yorkshire (9th to 10th centuries, 21 individuals)

* On loan from the Hull and East Riding Museum

 

Medieval

St. James and St. Mary Magdalene, Chichester, West Sussex (leprosarium and alms house, early 12th to 17th century, 374 individuals)***

  • St. Giles, Brough, North Yorkshire (rural hospital, 92 individuals)
  • Blackfriars, Gloucester (Dominican Friary, 1246 to 1539 AD, 127 individuals)**
  • Hereford Cathedral (lay cemetery including, two large plague pits, Late Saxon to Medieval, c.1200 individuals)
  • Box Lane, Pontefract (lay cemetery, 88 individuals)
  • Towton (mass grave related to the Battle of Towton, 1461 AD, 47 individuals)

** On loan from Gloucester City Council Heritage and Museums Service
*** On loan from The Novium (formerly Chichester District Museum)

Post Medieval

New Bunhill Fields, Southwark, London (urban 19th century, 514 individuals)****

  • St Peter's Wolverhampton (urban, 19th century, 150 individuals)
  • Hickleton, South Yorkshire (rural, medieval and post medieval, 28 individuals)
  • Helmsley, North Yorkshire (rural Quaker cemetery, 19th century, 7 individuals)
  • Tanyard, Bromyard, Herefordshire (urban, Quaker cemetery early 18th century, 11 individuals)
  • Villiers Street, Sunderland (urban, 19th century, 364 individuals)†

**** On loan from MOLA

† This collection currently cannot be accessed for research

International collections

  • Niah Caves, Sarawak, Malaysia (Neolithic, 56 individuals)

In addition, small numbers of skeletons or skeletal elements from many different archaeological sites are curated by the BARC. Most of these have interesting pathological conditions, and are used extensively in our teaching and research.

The skeletal collections held by the BARC are continuously added to with populations coming to the laboratory for research or for analysis on a contractual basis, many of which are returned to museums and archaeological contractors following analysis.

Access for researchers

The Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC) curates the second largest collection of human skeletal remains in a University in the UK. Researchers at PhD level and above are welcome to apply to access our skeletal collection. Please note that MSc students from other institutions will not be granted access to our skeletal collection. They are welcome, however, to consult our paper archive.

Many of our collections are currently on loan from other holding institutions and museums, and researchers should be aware that details of their research will be passed on to these institutions. In the case of destructive sampling, these institutions may also review applications.

Collections Access Form

All applicants should read the information regarding access to the BARC collections, and in particular should ensure their application meets the criteria outlined in the document.

External students require a letter of support from their supervisor, to be submitted at the same time as the application form.

Please fill out the application form above and email to Jo Buckberry j.buckberry@bradford.ac.uk. If you have any questions or require any further details please contact Jo Buckberry.

 Bench Fees

  • £20 per day
  • £60 per week
  • £200 per month

Download the collections access information and BARC Collections access application form below.

Collections access form

Collections access information

Human remains policy