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November 17, 2013

Dr Debbie Challis (University College London): Skull Triangles: Flinders Petrie, Craniometry and Race
25 November 2013, 17:00 – 19:00 CRASSH, University of Cambridge, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

This paper takes as it’s starting point a ‘Diagram of Climate and Race’ published by the archaeologist Flinders Petrie in the anthropological journal Man in 1902. I will consider Petrie’s assumptions around race and skull dimensions inherent in the diagram and how this relates to his work at this time. The graph will be places in context of the rise of statistical thinking and connections with ideas about evolutionary development. I then link these ideas to the collection of skulls by Petrie for Karl Pearson and what became the National Eugenics Laboratory at University College London. I finish with the use by ‘computers’ at UCL of skulls from the predynastic site of Naqada to establish the importance of craniometry in biometrics.

Discussant: Dr Kate Nichols (CRASSH, University of Cambridge). Open to all, no registration required


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