Welcome to "From Cemetery to Clinic", a blog set-up to document the progress of the JISC funded project `From Cemetery to Clinic': Digitised pathological data from archaeological leprous skeletons, which is part of the Rapid Digitisation strand. The project is based at the University of Bradford, and is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Archaeological Sciences and the Centre for Visual Computing.
Leprosy is a debilitating disease with a strong social stigma. Once common throughout the old world, it is still encountered in the developing world. This project seeks to digitise data pertaining to leprous medieval skeletons and clinical x-rays of modern sufferers to allow medical historians, palaeopathologists, clinicians and the interested public to observe and better understand the skeletal lesions of this disease, how they manifest across the skeleton and how they arise. This will also offer an opportunity to inspire an emotional response from the wider public (to give them a chance to feel an affinity with the past and to better understand past human experiences). By offering people the chance to come face-to-face with the realities of the disease it provides the chance to gain insight into how people in the past may have responded to the social stigma of the disease.
3D laser scans of affected bones from the medieval leprosarium of St. James and Mary Magdalene, Chichester, alongside digitised x-rays of these individuals and those of clinical cases will be disseminated via an interactive GIS cemetery plan and associated database, with pathological descriptions. The project requires rapid digitisation now to ensure the sustainability of this unique, but extremely fragile collection.
The project team, led by Dr Andrew Wilson, and including Dr Jo Buckberry, Professor Hassan Ugail, Dr Christopher Gaffney, Dr Christopher Watkins, Mr Andy Holland, Mr Tom Sparrow, and Dr Rebecca Swift will document our progress over the coming weeks including images and videos of the digitised material as well as action shots from the process and meetings with our advisory panel.
We welcome any comments that you may have, and will happily answer any questions. We hope that you enjoy following our blog over the lifetime of this project, and beyond.