Recorded Lectures

Life and Death in Medieval Leith | ARP 2023

A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the Medieval population of Leith

Ongoing analysis of the human remains recovered from GUARD Archaeology’s excavation of South Leith Parish Church is revealing evidence about the life and death of the people of Medieval Leith. Preliminary studies of the assemblage of human remains included radiocarbon dating, parasite analysis, as well as facial reconstruction. A multidisciplinary approach involving osteological analysis, isotope analysis, parasite analysis, pollutant analysis and aDNA analysis of the remains will aim to provide a broader understanding of this Medieval population.

Iraia Arabaolaza is one of GUARD Archaeology Ltd’s Project Managers, responsible for managing projects from fieldwork to publication. Her main areas of specialism is Osteoarchaeology. Iraia assisted the St Nicholas East excavation in Aberdeen, the most extensive excavation in a medieval parish church, providing specialist advice and post-excavation analysis. Iraia has also undertaken numerous excavations and publications of prehistoric burials, including Bronze Age cist graves in Arran and Sutherland and two Bronze Age cemeteries in Galloway. Iraia is leading the post-excavation analysis of human remains from South Leith Parish Church. Lauren Reid is a Senior Project Archaeologist at GUARD Archaeology. She specialises in Osteoarchaeology and provides advice and excavation expertise in the recovery of human remains. Her main areas of interest include forensic age and sex estimation techniques and aDNA analysis. She was part of the excavation team on the Trams to Newhaven South Leith Parish church graveyard and helped to excavate the remains discussed in this lecture. Lauren is also undertaking ongoing post-excavation analysis of this population.

This recorded talk took place on Saturday 27th May 2023, at Augustine United Church and was chaired by Moira Greig, President of Archaeology Scotland. ARP 2023 is sponsored by Forestry and Land Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, GUARD Archaeology Ltd, Association of Local Government Archaeology Officers, and the Federation of Archaeological Managers & Employers.

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