UCL Researchers in Museums

UCL Researchers in Museums We are a small team of doctoral researchers at UCL, employed to explore links between our research and UCL Museum collections, and develop innovative new ways of engaging with the public. Visit our webpage: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/

Free event at UCL tomorrow, come along to hear 3 talks about migration, how and why people moved in prehistory, how mate...
06/02/2019

Free event at UCL tomorrow, come along to hear 3 talks about migration, how and why people moved in prehistory, how material culture can decode migration and the human movement of medicines around the world.

Wine and snacks to follow!

Join us this Thursday for an evening all about migration!

Join us this Thursday for an evening all about migration!
05/02/2019

Join us this Thursday for an evening all about migration!

Our most read post last year was all about... *drum roll please* ...wombats! Arendse Lund dissects the reason behind a w...
14/01/2019
Question of the Week: Why Do Wombats Poop Cubes? | UCL Researchers in Museums

Our most read post last year was all about... *drum roll please*

...wombats! Arendse Lund dissects the reason behind a wombat's cube-shaped poop. Is her wombat enthusiasm contagious?

With pudgy little legs and a determined waddle, wombats are amongst Australia’s cutest marsupials. I mean, have you ever seen a wombatlet (not the technical term, unfortunately) sneeze? There’s lots to love about wombats—including their cube-shaped poop.

Our #2 most popular post last year was about the prevalence of incest in ancient Egypt. Alexandra Bridravioli wrote abou...
13/01/2019
Consanguinity and Incest in Ancient Egypt | UCL Researchers in Museums

Our #2 most popular post last year was about the prevalence of incest in ancient Egypt. Alexandra Bridravioli wrote about its effects on Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

My curiosity was piqued during one of my turns at the Petrie Museum. Facing all these artefacts, traces of dynasties of pharaohs, I was suddenly reminded of the stories of incest and marriages between brother and sister which were common in ancient Egypt among the ruling class. More recently, the to...

The ancient Egyptian love for cats comes in as #3 on our most read list! Josie Rose thinks cats are purrfect, do you?
12/01/2019
Why did Ancient Egyptians Love Cats? | UCL Researchers in Museums

The ancient Egyptian love for cats comes in as #3 on our most read list! Josie Rose thinks cats are purrfect, do you?

You really wouldn’t want to get into a cat versus dog argument with me (cats are superior obviously) and as it turns out the Ancient Egyptians agree! Ancient Egyptian iconography is packed with representations of cats — from tomb paintings to statues, their feline friends were everywhere. But di...

We're swimming along here: #4 on our blog countdown is the mystery of the mermaid!
12/01/2019
Myths in the Museum: The Dugong and the Mermaid | UCL Researchers in Museums

We're swimming along here: #4 on our blog countdown is the mystery of the mermaid!

There’s a 2.7-meter-long skeleton of a big underwater creature in the Grant Museum of Zoology, right when you enter the main room. On my first Saturday shift as a PhD museum engager, a 7-year-old boy stopped to point and ask his mom what this monster was, and why it had hands. The mom glanced at t...

#5 on our most read list is all about how colourful ancient Egyptian art used to be! We're green with envy at the very t...
11/01/2019
Colours of Ancient Egypt – Introduction | UCL Researchers in Museums

#5 on our most read list is all about how colourful ancient Egyptian art used to be! We're green with envy at the very thought of what we're missing out on.

When viewing exhibitions of objects from ancient Egypt (or any ancient civilisation for that matter) we are used to seeing the beige and grey appearance of bare stone. Indeed, we have come to appreciate the simplicity and purity of ancient sculptures, reliefs and carvings, perpetuated by the numerou...

Continuing our popular blog countdown, #6 is a no-brainer! Citlali Helenes González tells us how ancient Egyptians were ...
11/01/2019
Neuroscience in Ancient Egypt | UCL Researchers in Museums

Continuing our popular blog countdown, #6 is a no-brainer! Citlali Helenes González tells us how ancient Egyptians were the first to describe the cerebral cortex.

You might think that ancient Egypt has nothing to do with neuroscience but you would be wrong. When ancient Egyptians practiced mummification, the brain was usually liquefied and pulled out from the cranium through the nose using a hook-like tool—a method known as excerebration. You do this by mak...

UCL Researchers in Museums's cover photo
11/01/2019

UCL Researchers in Museums's cover photo

Hopping right along, #7 on our most read list is a ribbeting piece by Hannah Page on frogs!
11/01/2019
What is the relationship between frogs and fertility? | UCL Researchers in Museums

Hopping right along, #7 on our most read list is a ribbeting piece by Hannah Page on frogs!

During my first few weeks as a student engager I began to notice the presence of frogs… everywhere. I saw them in various forms and objects in the Petrie Museum, and found frog and other amphibious specimens in the Grant Museum. The Surinam toad quickly became one of my favourite objects to show v...

Coming in at #8 on our most read posts of 2018 is a piece that's a cut above the rest. Josie Rose tells us all about anc...
10/01/2019
What are the Oldest Artefacts in Egypt? | UCL Researchers in Museums

Coming in at #8 on our most read posts of 2018 is a piece that's a cut above the rest. Josie Rose tells us all about ancient handaxes!

The oldest artefacts in the Petrie Museum weren’t made by the Ancient Egyptians or at least the people we associate with pyramids, mummies and hieroglyphs. They may look unassuming, but these amber coloured stones are handaxes that were made by our human ancestors around half a million years ago. ...

On our most popular blogs countdown, coming in at #9 is the mummy mask from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology th...
10/01/2019
The Invisible Glow of Egyptian Blue | UCL Researchers in Museums

On our most popular blogs countdown, coming in at #9 is the mummy mask from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology that secretly fluoresces infrared light! Cerys Jones shed light on the subject.
https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2018/07/20/the-invisible-glow-of-egyptian-blue/

If you were to visit the Petrie Museum with infrared vision, you would probably be drawn to wildly different parts of the collection than you would normally. Certain artefacts would appear to glow before your eyes. This is because of the inventively-named pigment Egyptian blue, which, as the name te...

What were our most read blog posts in 2018? We crunched the numbers and cannibalistic neanderthals came in at #10! Did y...
10/01/2019
Did Neanderthals Eat Brains? | UCL Researchers in Museums

What were our most read blog posts in 2018?

We crunched the numbers and cannibalistic neanderthals came in at #10! Did you appreciate how Josie Rose really sunk her teeth into the topic? Let us know!

In the archaeological record, ‘cannibalism’, also known as ‘anthropophagy’, is usually identified through studying human bones and analysing any cut marks left on them that were made by stone tools. These cut marks would have occurred during the process of de-fleshing, or excarnating, the in...

Read our latest post about mathematician Grace Chisholm-Young, a mathematician who published much of her joint work with...
13/12/2018
Young’s Inequality: The erasure of women’s names in history | UCL Researchers in Museums

Read our latest post about mathematician Grace Chisholm-Young, a mathematician who published much of her joint work with her husband under his sole name, including the ironically named Young's Inequality: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2018/12/13/youngs-inequality-the-erasure-of-womens-names-in-history/

Young’s Inequality is a powerful result in mathematics, named after William Henry Young, a British mathematician who was president of the London Mathematical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society. However, I recently learned that much of the work published under William’s name was actually i...

What do people working in museums want to be doing in the future? Kyle Alexander asked some experts for answers: https:/...
06/12/2018

What do people working in museums want to be doing in the future? Kyle Alexander asked some experts for answers: https://bit.ly/2QfIGKo

The image reads: A future where collections are relevant and facilitate "optimistic outrage".

A new blog post just posted by Mark Kearney on fibulas and the link between chickens and dinosaurshttps://blogs.ucl.ac.u...
28/11/2018
The leg bones connected to the hip bone… | UCL Researchers in Museums

A new blog post just posted by Mark Kearney on fibulas and the link between chickens and dinosaurs
https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2018/11/28/the-leg-bones-connected-to-the-hip-bone/

One of the nice benefits of working as a student engager is that during the down times when there aren’t that many people in the museum — the last 20-30 min before closing gets pretty calm — I have a little time to explore the collection. Despite my lack of formal study in biology (a strange f...

The Plagues of Egypt- A new blog post series from current research engager Hannah Page. https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/research...
23/10/2018
The Plagues of Egypt | UCL Researchers in Museums

The Plagues of Egypt- A new blog post series from current research engager Hannah Page.

https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2018/10/23/the-plagues-of-egypt/

For my blog post this week I am starting a new series based loosely on the Plagues of Egypt. The idea came to me while I was working in the Grant Museum and was thinking about possible connections between the Grant and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. For some reason as I was stood next to...

Today in the series on Incest in History, we talk about the Habsburgs: another Royal family whose incestuous alliances m...
22/10/2018
The rampant consanguinity in the Spanish branch of the Habsburg family | UCL Researchers in Museums

Today in the series on Incest in History, we talk about the Habsburgs: another Royal family whose incestuous alliances might have led to its doom.
New blog post by engager Alexandra Bridarolli.

https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2018/10/18/the-rampant-consanguinity-in-the-spanish-branch-of-the-habsburg-family/

Welcome back to this series of articles on Consanguinity in History. In my previous article, you have heard about incest in Ancient Egypt and the case of Akhenaton and his son Tutankhamun. Let’s continue our investigations around consanguinity and look at another famous case: Charles II from the S...

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