This year’s cohort of twenty-one first year students were the final group to experience the two-week training excavation at Dorchester-on-Thames which comes to a close this summer. The Oxbow Prize for Fieldwork was awarded to Rosie Crawford (St Peter’s College) for her report detailing her work with the zooarchaeology collections at Manchester Museum. The Final Honour School finalists celebrated the completion of their exams with staff and students at a garden party at the Institute of Archaeology on Friday of week 8. This year’s Meyerstein Prize for best overall performance was awarded to Li Chen Kwok (St Hugh’s College) and the Archaeology & Anthropology Dissertation Prize was awarded to Bridget Johns (Hertford College) for her dissertation titled: “Cave art and symbolism: is there less to cave art than meets the eye?”.
More details on the Archaeology and Anthropology BA degree can be found here.
Human Sciences has had a busy year. The review of the curriculum has continued with changes being agreed to the Finals papers on Animal Behaviour and on Genetics and Evolution. From next year the Animal Behaviour paper will combine lectures given by members of the Zoology Department on Animal Behaviour with bespoke lectures delivered by members of the School of Anthropology on Human Evolution and on Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology making the paper more interdisciplinary. This follows on from changes a few years ago to the Human Ecology paper which now combines Biological Anthropology and Ethnobiology and is examined by a 5,000-word essay and presentation. The number of tutorials for some Finals papers has been reduced from eight to six in an attempt to reduce the workload for the students. The Prelims course will be reviewed next.
Human Sciences Finalists achieved a record number of Firsts this year – 14 out of a cohort of 24. Our first year students also did well in Prelims with 12 Distinctions being awarded to a cohort of 31.
In September 2017 the Institute was extremely sad to learn of the death of Geoffrey Harrison who had been instrumental in the founding of the degree and who continued to be a supporter of Human Sciences throughout his life, having attended the 2017 Symposium with his wife Elizabeth. A very moving funeral was held at Christ Church at which David Coleman spoke of Geoffrey’s contribution to the degree and was attended by past and present Institute members and alumni. It is obvious from the plethora of tributes the Institute received following Geoffrey’s death that generations of students are indebted to his and his co-founders’ insight in setting up the degree as well as his personal kindness and encouragement as a tutor and mentor to many. The first Harrison lecture in honour of Geoffrey was given in November, fittingly by a Human Sciences alumna, and one of Geoffrey’s former DPhil students, Professor Melissa Parker.
Human Sciences was pleased to welcome two new members of teaching staff this year: Dr Teresa Street and Dr Ridhi Kashyap. Teresa’s Departmental Lectureship in Human Sciences is part-time and she combines this with being a research scientist with Modernising Medical Microbiology, a research group within the Nuffield Department of Medicine. Teresa is the convenor of the Genetics part of the Prelims Genetics and Evolution paper and contributes Genomics lectures to the Final Honour School. Ridhi Kashyap also joined the Institute in Michaelmas Term, taking on the convenorship of the Demography and Population Finals paper. She completed her doctorate in the Department of Sociology here at Oxford and her research interests span a number of substantive areas in demography and sociology, including gender, fertility and marriage, health and mortality, ethnicity and migration.
We are very pleased that St Benet’s Hall has started to offer places for Human Sciences and Dr Pieter Francois will become its first Director of Studies for the degree. Two applicants from this year’s admissions round were offered places at St Benet’s and will hopefully begin their studies here in October 2018.
Congratulations are due to Dr Paul Griffiths, Statistics tutor, for winning a best tutor award in the OUSU Teaching awards. Dr Rachel Tanner, Genetics tutor who shared the role of Director of Studies for Human Sciences at Wadham College during Emma Cohen’s maternity leave this year, was also short-listed for an award.
Andrew Gosler, Vice-Chair of the Institute, has been made Associate Professor in Applied Ethnobiology & Conservation. The British Ornithologists’ Union also honoured Andy with honorary life membership in recognition of his exceptional service to the BOU and IBIS. Many members of the Institute attended Andy’s ordination as a Deacon in the Church of England at Christ Church on 30th June 2018.