Dr Miles Russell mystery guest on BBC Radio Solent

BU archaeology lecturer Dr Miles Russell was the mystery guest on BBC Radio Solent’s Nick Girdler show.

The regular feature involves Nick having to guess who his studio guest is, having only been told one clue about why they are in the news.

Miles, a senior lecturer in prehistoric and Roman archaeology, has recently helped to identify the Bosham Head, which was discovered in a flowerbed in Chicester in around 1800, as a statue of Roman Emperor Trajan.

The only clue Nick was given as to Mile’s identity was that he ‘helped solve a 200 year old mystery.’

With a little help from Miles, Nick worked out who he was and the pair discussed the importance of the Bosham Head and where the statue came from.

“The problem is that the face has been so badly battered that no-one thought we would ever be able to identify who it was, and some people doubted whether it was even Roman,” said Miles.

“What we did was a 3D laser scan of it, which picks up all the finer detail of the eyes and the hair and from that you can see things that aren’t normally visible to the human eye.

“Thankfully, most emperors have a highly realistic image of themselves created so as soon as you get the position of the eyes and the hair, you’ve got your man.”

Miles added that he now planned to work with colleagues to use the technology to try and identify other statue heads at museums around the country.

The pair also discussed Bournemouth University’s reputation for archaeology.

Miles said: “We are renowned for doing practical archaeology and training people up to do that. We’re in a fantastic landscape around Bournemouth with Cranborne Chase and Dorset, up onto Salisbury plain. There’s so much archaeology around us so there’s a lot to do.”

You can listen to the feature at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003d430/clips