Professor Naomi Sykes gave her "inaugural" lecture to the Society in January. She justified this claim with the details that her enthusiasm for archaeology and thus her career was sparked when her father brought her to a WAS lecture given by Con Ainsworth. Having listened to him speaking about Fishbourne she decided to visit the site and join in the digging. She has not looked back.
Her fascination with bones was infectious as the audience sat spellbound listening to a delivery of such wide ranging and detailed knowledge regarding the dating and origin of the animal bones found at Fishbourne and other such sites.
A fallow deer jaw from the Roman period found at Fishbourne proved, by strontium 90 analysis of its teeth, that it had spent its early years in Turkey but its later developed teeth showed that the remainder of its life was spent in Sussex. A jaw dropping discovery!
A widely reported story that hit the headlines in 2019 stating that rabbits had been proven to be a Roman introduction to this country caused raised eyebrow among many archaeologists as it was assumed that rabbits were a Norman introduction. With the remains of rabbits being present in so many excavations they were never seen as a dating tool and thus ignored.
Naomi has spent her career disproving this by dating and tracking the movement of different species across the world. Her research has been further applied to chickens, pigs, dogs, cats and numerous other species thus opening a whole new study of dating and migration. A fascinating lecture.