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ArchaeologyPart of Humanities

Research project: A Joint Effort: Understanding Kneecaps Past and Present

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Over recent years, three-dimensional imaging and shape analysis have revolutionised how biological and non-biological material can be understood, quantified and analysed. For osteoarchaeology particularly, this provides a new window into human variation in bone shape and the impact of different lifestyles and choices on human physiology. Taking a closer look at the kneecap, this project aims to highlight both the potential of these three-dimensional techniques and the complexity of kneecaps and human lifestyles (“knee-haviour”).

A Joint Effort

The kneecap is an often-overlooked aspect of our anatomy, viewed as purely biological scaffold and a means for movement. Yet kneecaps may have the ability to testify our everyday activities past and present. Furthermore, with subtle differences in their shape, even an individual’s sex is believed to be determined. This interdisciplinary Public Engagement with Research (PER) funded project, through the incorporation of three-dimensional data from both the Hampshire running community, and supported with an extensive archaeological dataset, will investigate the kneecap in unparalleled detail within archaeology. Specifically, this project will investigate how the sex and lifestyle of an individual is demonstrable through kneecap shape and form in past and present populations.

Related research groups

Osteoarchaeology
Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins
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