Thanks David - very helpful!
(I'd heard some rumour about the Royal College of Surgeons post bombing
skull-swapping incident, so I am pleased that this did not prove to be true)
Quoting David Rice <[log in to unmask]>:
> It seems to me to be archaeological folklore.
> These are what I understand to be the facts of the Birdlip skulls:
> In 1882 Dr Cook exhibited 3 skulls from Birdlip/Crickley Hill: the lady who
> had the mirror (with a jaw indicating a `powerful masculine individual' as
> one of the audience said), the crushed skull of an old male `warrior' and
> that of a male `soldier' from Crickley Hill.
> In the 1910s the lady and warrior skulls were presented to Cheltenham Museum
> (and eventually to Gloucester Museum) by the widow of a Mr Sawyer who said
> they had been obtained from Dr Cook. They were labelled as `Romano-British
> from Birdlip' (the Birdlip mirror was originally thought to have been
> Roman). The same Mrs Sawyer presented the bucket found in the warrior burial
> to Gloucester Museum in the 1920s. There is no evidence that the Sawyers
> ever had the male soldier skull.
> In 1918 W St. Clair Baddeley (`The Crickley Hill Birdlip Late Celtic Finds of
> 1879' Cotteswold Naturalists Field Club XX)identified the skulls as those
> found in 1879, he wrote that she had a blue stain over one eye, he assumed it
> was from the bronze bowl placed over her face in the grave. That's the first
> mention I've seen of the stain, the skull now in Gloucester Museum does have
> a small blue/green area over one eye but this now appears flaky, more like
> paint. That skull is also female with a `masculine' jaw.
> There is another twist. There is a story that the skull was loaned in the
> 1930s to the College of Surgeons were it perished in a bombing raid during
> the war and was replaced by another. This cannot be the case as the skull
> was photographed in 1918 and is without question the one in Gloucester Museum
> (Green doesn't mention any doubt by the way)
> David Rice
> Archaeology Curator
> Gloucester Museums Service
> Gloucester City Museum Tel. 01452 396131
> and Art Gallery Fax 01452 410898
> Brunswick Road
> Gloucester, GL1 1HP
> www.gloucester.gov.uk www.livinggloucester.co.uk
> -----Original Message-----
> From: British archaeology discussion list
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Kirsten Jarrett
> Sent: 03 August 2010 16:40
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [SPAM] - Re: [BRITARCH] Birdlip mirror burial - Bayesian Filter
> detected spam
> I've read somewhere (sorry, can't recall where; possibly the Green article??
> Green, Charles 1949 'The Birdlip Early Iron Age Burial: a Review',
> of the Prehistoric Society Vol. 15, pp. 188-90. But maybe not!) that there
> doubts raised over the sex of the Birdlip burial, as the skull may have
> mixed with that of the Crickley Hill burial. This was thought possible, as
> Birdlip skull reputedly had copper staining (due to the placement of the
> whereas the skull that was examined had no such staining.
> Perhaps this is merely archaeological folklore, but if anyone can refute
> possibility (or has any more info.), I'd be interested
> Kirsten Jarrett
> PS developments since the Staelen article (1982: 25) was published (a link
> this was provided in a previous post by David Tooke): there is now probable
> evidence for late Iron Age - early Roman reoccupation of the adjacent
> at Crickley Hill. I can provide details, if required, but see:
> Dixon, P.W. 1994 Crickley Hill: The Hill-Fort Defences
> Quoting David Rice <[log in to unmask]>:
> > This assertion has a long history, but ultimately is not the case,
> > she does have a `male' chin.
> > The Birdlip Mirror and associated finds were described, when discovered in
> > 1879, as in a cist grave with three skeletons: 2 men with a woman
> > all of the objects were with the woman. A Dr Cook preserved the woman's
> > skull (all of the other bones were lost). At a presentation in 1882 he
> > challenged by a fellow doctor who pointed out the masculine jaw of the
> > but Dr Cook who had seen the complete skeleton, as had other members of
> > audience, was clear that it had come from a woman.
> > In 1971 she was examined in detail with arbitrary points given for the
> > strength of male and female traits, with the female having 36 points to 16
> > male. I have not seen any record of an examination, nor spoken to an
> > osteologist who has seen the skull, that has come to any other conclusion.
> > would be pleased to see a reference to one.
> > David
> > David Rice
> > Archaeology Curator
> > Gloucester Museums Service
> > Regeneration
> > ________________________________________
> > Gloucester City Museum Tel. 01452 396131
> > and Art Gallery Fax 01452 410898
> > Brunswick Road
> > Gloucester, GL1 1HP
> > www.gloucester.gov.uk www.livinggloucester.co.uk
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: British archaeology discussion list
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Charlie Stokes
> > Sent: 03 August 2010 11:28
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: [BRITARCH] Birdlip mirror burial - Email found in
> > subject
> > Having decided to tackle the issue of gender in archaeology this year with
> > my
> > students, I found a sentence in the archaeology course book that suggests
> > that
> > the burial accompanied by the Birdlip mirror may have been male rather
> > female, on the grounds that the skull has 'masculine traits'. Has anyone
> > any
> > references for this re-examination of the skull?
> > Thanks
> > Charlie
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