Topic description and stories

Understanding how we interact with our material world can reveal unparalleled insights into what it is to be human.

The Sick Child

Heart-Breaking History: Voices of sick children from the past

25 Apr 2012

A new study into the grim and frequently heart-breaking history of childhood sickness and death has opened a window on to a surprisingly tender world...

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Katy Barrett

Things are getting complicated

24 Oct 2011

In the recent riots looters made off with some of the items that have come to symbolise our materialistic society - trainers, track suits and flat...

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A painting thought to be of Simon Forman

Magic and medicine

27 Sep 2011

A digital resource dedicated to Simon Forman, the notorious, self-styled astrologer-physician, later dubbed the 'Elizabethan Pepys', has been...

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Stephen Leonard in Greenland.

Death by monoculture

02 Sep 2011

Having just returned from a year spent documenting the language and culture of the remote Inughuit community of north-western Greenland, Dr Stephen...

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Fragments of figurines found on Keros

Island of broken figurines

10 Jun 2011

Why were Bronze Age figurines smashed, transported and buried in shallow pits on the Aegean island of Keros? New research sheds light on a 4,500-year...

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Detail from Westminster Retable

Dragonsblood: the alchemy of paint

01 Sep 2009

Through his exploration of the science of art, the recipes of medieval artists and the writings of alchemists, art conservation scientist Spike...

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