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Gifted 12 Year Old to Meet 1200 Year Old Norfolk Resident

Originally published 5 April 2004

Oliver Banks, a gifted 12 year old from Spalding, Lincolnshire, will meet a 1200 year old ancestor in Sedgeford, Norfolk and learn about how people lived in the distant past as part of an outreach event run by the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), based at the University of Warwick, on 7th April 2004.

15 students aged 12 to 15 from across England will study anthropology and archaeology as they analyse human skeletal remains dug up from an ancient Christian burial site that are over 1200 years old. The gifted young students will investigate how ancient human remains unlock the secrets of the dead. The past is often written in bones, and by scientifically examining skeletons we can get an idea of how people lived, and died, in the distant past.

Students will be involved in hands-on analysis of the bones, so it’s certainly not an event for the faint-hearted.

Almost 200 skeletons have been excavated from the burial site, and many more are still to be studied. Using the extensive and well-preserved collection of mid-Saxon skeletons, the students will be introduced to techniques of sexing and ageing using skeletal evidence, shown how to detect pathologies and how to infer eating habits. From these remains of the ancient Sedgeford people the students will learn about past lives and experiences.

The course will examine to what extent a person can be reconstructed from skeletal remains and what can be inferred about past lifestyles. The students will study the skeletons of those who died in battle and study disease, focusing on causes, development and progress of disease, and how the body is affected.

Professor Deborah Eyre, Director of NAGTY at the University of Warwick, said: “This Academy outreach event offers the gifted a real opportunity to learn how to carry out the archaeological interpretation of ancient human remains. The course covers basic anatomy, determination of age and sex and dentition, as well as recording methods, and excavation issues.”

“Following the successes of our Summer Schools the Academy has developed a comprehensive range of outreach events to meet the needs of the country’s brightest students. Pupils with high potential need to have the opportunity to become high-achievers, and giftedness needs to be brought out through access to challenging opportunities. The Academy is reaching out to students all over England to ensure that the gifted are given the education they need.”

NAGTY is open to the top 5% of gifted and talented pupils in the UK, and is working to improve educational provision for the most able students by working with students, educators and parents.

Outreach events are short courses that normally take place at weekends or in school holidays and are open to all of the Academy’s current 14,000 members. This year NAGTY is offering around 200 events at venues all over the country. Top experts in their field deliver the events.

Photo / Filming Opportunity: 11.00am, Wednesday 7 April 2004, New Village Hall, Sedgeford, Norfolk (Between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton). You are invited to illustrate your coverage of the Academy’s event with a photo of the young students undertaking hands-on analysis of the ancient human remains

For more information or high resolution images contact:

Jenny Murray,
Communications Office,
University of Warwick,
Tel: 02476 574 255,
Mobile: 07876 71 7740,
Email: jennifer.murray@warwick.ac.uk