The end of the bones

Bone Detectives

for British Science Week

12th – 20th March 2016

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There were bones, and teeth, there were skulls and even the fragmented paw of a cave lion. And there was time to look, to handle , turn over, touch, test a fingertip against a crocodile’s tooth.

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Time to talk, wonder, ask and ask again and say, “No!” and “What’s a hyrax?” and

“This is a porpoise?”

“Where is the elephant’s trunk?”

“Can I pick this up? Oh. Can I pick that up? Good”

 

There were beautiful replica skulls for the slightly squeamish and gloves for the bolder – or for anyone who just wanted to look sort-of-scientific like they were on some police procedural drama

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For British Science Week, in a collaboration between Stone and Water, Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project and Creeping Toad, we ran a series of “Bone Detectives” workshops. These set out to introduce people to some basic skull features to look for and understand the clues they can give us about the original animal. The thought was that this would encourage people to look – to really open their eyes when they are out or maybe even to set off and do the hopeful walk they wouldn’t have done before

 

Skulls, skeletons or bits often turn up on walks over the moors of the Peak District, or perhaps are found by someone strolling in a casually acquisitive manner along a beach. We were looking for the questions (and their answers) that would set some inspired investigation in motion. We concentrated mostly on British mammal skulls – given time and the scope of vertebrate anatomy we had to draw some lines somewhere. But there were extension opportunities and as confidence grew, participants could move onto British bird skulls, a few exotic extras – a crocodile, assorted horns, replica hyrax, lynx and wallaby and a wide selection of shells including a spread of annoying cone shells (this one? That one? No, the other one? Why would you call something a geographical cone, for goodness sake”. There was even a d-i-y snake spine

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The workshops were a delight: from keenly questioning WATCH members to the surprise of casual visitors, workshops invite participation and challenged preconceptions. “But it’s so small! “ (same comment applied to rabbit, rat and squirrel skulls). People brought their own puzzles with them: beautfully delicate mouse and hedgehog skulls, a mysterious jaw bone (probably sheep), the museum added some mind-boggling teeth: woolly rhino and hyena.

 

The very bold in the museum went off to find the cave bear skull

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We were pleased: these were sessions that maybe didn’t get quite the quiet, dedicated concentration we had imagined but they were sessions that got people handling material, talking, asking questions, feeling more confident.

 

Sources:

Just to be clear, the skulls and shells we sued were all found materials or were already in established collections. Nothing was killed for the sake of this project

 

Reproduction skulls came from a wonderful online shop: CrimsonRichDesire

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Bone Detectives, 1

Bone Detectives 1

The secrets of the skulls

Buxton Museum and Art gallery, 12th March 2016

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There were skulls, and some more skulls, and a Victorian Engineer’s cabinet of little bits of things and a decoupage box of seashells and then a box of mystery skulls….There was laughter and drawing and attempts to have big sisters/little brothers eaten…and there is more to come

a shell that went round and round, and the drawing that did the same

a shell that went round and round, and the drawing that did the same

see the foot of the page...

see the foot of the page…

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Wednesday 16th March: Bone Detectives, 2:at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA, Tel: 01629 533540. 1 session: 10am – 1pm

This is a free session with activities and delivery aimed more at adults or young people of secondary school age

Again, this workshop is free and visitors are welcome to drop in. We recommend allowing an hour to work through activities but you are welcome to come for longer and spend more time handling, drawing and talking about the bones, skulls and shells we will have on display

Visitors are welcome to bring their own clean mystery finds with them – with no guarantee that we’ll be able to solve the mystery but have confidence that we will be enthusiastic about them!

Our wonderful friends in the community group Stone and Water have achieved a grant from BSW towards the community participation in these events and to cover the costs of a similar session with a youth group. In fact, we’ve got 2 – so a local WATCH group is going to be going all skeletal and what will happen to Taxal Scouts, I almost dread to think.

deeply involved

deeply involved

These events are supported by British Science Week and are also part of Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

That drawing: australopithecus skulls, sheep skull, the bear in the corner of the gallery, some scared people…and a landrover…you can sort the story out yourself!

skulls, packed, a mug of tea and a stray chamaeleon bone...

skulls, packed, a mug of tea and a stray chamaeleon bone…

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Bone Detectives

Skulls- long

we have now finalised events for our Bone Detectives events in British Science Week

Discovering the secrets of the skulls

Here are the clues that will help you identify the mysterious skull you found on the beach or the bones on the moor, or perhaps here is simply the skills to exercise a fascination with ancient remains, old bones and hidden histories

When we examine a skull, we can tell a lot of an animal’s story: diet, behaviour, age, senses: the clues are all there for the skilled osteologist to read

These workshops will introduce participants to some of those skills, offering activities and inviting questions, setting an investigative procedure in motion so that even if we know what the animal is, we can still find out more

 Materials:

there will be skulls to handle, gloves to wear (for the wary), plastic skulls as back-up, paper to draw on, pencils, etc to draw with information sheets to work with and keep

Lynx skullPUBLIC EVENTS

Saturday 12th March: Bone Detectives, 1: at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA, Tel: 01629 533540. Sessions 10 – 12, 1 – 3

Free, no booking needed, children 7 years and under need to bring an adult and squeamish adults probably need to be accompanied too

These sessions are aimed at family groups

Wednesday 16th March: Bone Detectives, 2:at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA, Tel: 01629 533540. 1 session: 10am – 1pm

This is a free session with activities and delivery aimed more at adults or young people of secondary school age

Again, this workshop is free and visitors are welcome to drop in. We recommend allowing an hour to work through activities but you are welcome to come for longer and spend more time handling, drawing and talking about the bones, skulls and shells we will have on display

Visitors are welcome to bring their own clean mystery finds with them – with no guarantee that we’ll be able to solve the mystery but have confidence that we will be enthusiastic about them!

These events are supported by British Science Week and are also part of Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

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Bone detectives!

BONE DETECTIVES

Discovering the secrets of the skulls

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We are very excited to announce some delightfully bony workshops happening in March. As part of British Science Week, we are working with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad to offer a series of events and workshops exploring skulls. Stone and Water was awarded a BSW grant to support these workshops.

BSW2016RGBMID_BBLUEHere are the clues that will help you identify the mysterious skull you found on the beach or the bones on the moor, or perhaps here is simply the skills to exercise a fascination with ancient remains, old bones and hidden histories. We will guide visitors through the wonders of animal teeth, and horn cores, the marvels of eye sockets and tympanic bullae. We’ll even introduce you to scroll bones and senses of smells

“There are so many bones in so many animals,” said Gordon from Creeping Toad, “that we had to focus on something. So we are starting with skulls, especially mammal skulls. We’d like to invite people to look more closely at the skulls of Peak District mammals ( I suspect some birds might sneak in as well, and possibly a selection of sea shells…) and understanding the signs to look for and the questions to ask that will help you find out what the animal is and something about its life”

For the Museum, this is part of the Collections in the Landscape project, aiming to both remind people about the museum and its collections but also to get people out there in the Peaks, looking, thinking and wondering about the history of the places we visit. There will be skulls to handle (we’ll supply gloves if you’d rather) and quality replicas if you really don’t want to touch the actual bone (it will all be clean!), other bones to look at, some shells for a bit of the exotic. We’ll hold and think, question, count and scribble. There will be useful guide sheets to take away and drawings to do to build up your own forensic notes. And we’ll do a mystery quiz at the end….

 

Events

Public event: Saturday  12th March 2016, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery : free public sessions: no booking needed just drop by and join in but give yourself 45 minutes for a good skeletal experience. Sessions 10 – 12 and 1 – 3

Youth group: we have one free workshop on offer for a group of young people in or around Buxton in the week of 12 – 20th March. Activity best suited for 8 – 12 year olds

A workshop introducing young people to exciting natural history forensics. If you are interested, please contact us at stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Venue and time: to suit you

Older group workshop: we will also be running a workshop with a limited number of places during the week. Date and time to follow. This will be a more formal session than the Saturday events, aimed at  young people and adults. Details to follow

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Peak District creatures? or not?