We are experienced in every aspect of the recovery, recording and analysis of human remains; Headland’s osteoarchaeological team has excavated around 5,900 skeletons and cremations.

Featured Projects

Location: Scotland, Sector: Property, Service: Contracting, Service: Desk-based Assessment, Service: Evaluation, Service: Excavation, Service: Historic Building Recording, Service: Monitoring, Service: Osteoarchaeology, Service: Specialist
Location: Scotland, Sector: Transport, Sector: Utilities, Service: Contracting, Service: Excavation, Service: Monitoring, Service: Osteoarchaeology, Service: Specialist
Location: North, Sector: Conservation, Service: Excavation, Service: Geomatics, Service: Historic Building Recording, Service: Monitoring, Service: Osteoarchaeology

Our experience in assessing and evaluating sites means that we are best placed to identify at an early stage sites which are likely to contain human burials. Legislation regarding the treatment of human remains differs across the UK and the Headland team knows how to deal sensitively with human remains and keep our clients’ projects on track.   We  work to the highest ethical standards and are able to guide clients through the Home Office licence application process and Bishops’ Faculty requests.

Our specialists will analyse both burial and cremated remains and we will use a variety of techniques appropriate to the individual projects, including chemical analysis or radiographic analysis.

One regular issue for us and our clients is how to deal with the sheer volume of burials some sites can produce; medieval or later cemeteries can contain thousands of burials. This is an issue for the on-site team in terms of resources and rates of progress and for the client who is keen to stay on programme. But it is also an issue off-site in terms of the cost of analyses and reporting and also storage. We can advise on technological solutions to record burials quickly and we can design sampling strategies to keep the number of burials retained for analyses to a workable level that meets best-practice and research aims.

Headland also works alongside other contractors, such as exhumation contractors, we can arrange for reburial of the remains at an appropriate time and we can deal with the media on your behalf.

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Alex Smith