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Roman skull radiography - A surprise find!

Re-imaging a Late Roman skull excavated in Canterbury.

Lisa Duffy (PhD Archaeology candidate) and I took x-rays of this individual from the Hallet's Garage excavation, Canterbury. The remains were part of a large archaeological dig conducted between 2010-2011 and we originally imaged this skull nearly three years ago. Previously, Lisa had been looking at possible skull pathologies, but today we had a fresh look at a possible projectile. Towards the posterior of the skull there looked to be a ferrous item lodged into the bone.

Using the DICOM files (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) I was able to adjust the contrast and brightness of the images and optimise them to see the item. It certainly looked like a projectile, but the position and direction indicates that it entered from the back, not the front of the face. The investigation is ongoing. It may not be a projectile at all, but what else could it be?

In the meantime, I've created a video to demonstrate how digital x-ray imaging can be useful in paleoradiography research.

Check out this video here:


All performed by James Elliott

Please contact for usage.

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