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Science Week Osteology Workshop: From Bones to People- Life in Early Medieval Ireland

As part of this special Science Week workshop, students can take part in hands-on, practical activities with the assistance of Osteologists from Queen's University Belfast to discover what archaeological and osteological evidence can reveal to us about the lives of people in the past.

Organised in association with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Queen's University Belfast.

Excavation at Ranelagh, Co. Roscommon. Image courtesy of Irish Archaeological Consultancy.
In the Summer of 2015, a long forgotten ringfort was discovered in the townland of Ranelagh in County Roscommon as part of pre-construction work on a new road. Over the next year, the site was excavated by a team of over 20 archaeologists, revealing evidence of farming, animal butchery and fine metalworking in the early medieval period, as well as more than 1,000 skeletons, thought to belong to the extended family of the ringfort's inhabitants.

Workshop at a Glance

During this workshop, students will:
  • Learn about the various analyses carried out on the Ranelagh skeletons and the results of these analyses
  • interact with replica human skeletal remains and apply these same analytical techniques
  • identify diagnostic features on the remains to establish stature, ages at death, gender and more

Date: Thursday 15th November
Time: Three workshops available:

  • 11.30am - 12.30pm
  • 1.00 - 2.00pm
  • 2.30 - 3.30pm

Level: Transition Year - 6th Year

Group size: 30 max

Duration: 1 hour

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible

Booking: please email bookingscb@museum.ie or call 01 6486 453.

Curriculum Links:

Transition Year Teaching Methods and Approaches

Activity based learning
Group work, discussion and debate
Study visits and field trips


Senior Cycle History 

The Skills of History
To develop an appreciation of the nature and variety of evidence

Skills in Working with Evidence
Students should develop the ability to recognize different types of historical source materials and extract information from source materials to answer historical questions

Preparation for Life and Citizenship
Students should develop the ability to think critically by making judgements based on an evaluation of evidence

Knowledge and Understanding
Students should acquire knowledge and develop understanding of human activity in the past, from a variety of perspectives

Senor Cycle Biology

Sub Unit 3.5.3 Responses in the Human
The Musculoskeletal System


Learning Outcomes

  • Explore the work of the osteologist and the archaeologist
  • Work with replica human skeletal remains
  • Learn how to use evidence to establish  stature, age at death, gender of people in the past.