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Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 31st annual meeting of the Australasian Society for Human Biology (ASHB) that was hold not far from Melbourne, in Ballarat. There were many interesting talks, ranging from bioarcheological studies from Southeast Asian populations to palaeonthropology research on Homo floresiensis. We presented a study on the dental macrowear pattern and cortical bone thickness in the Neanderthal mandible from Regourdou (Southwestern France).

It was interesting to see so many HDR students presenting their works, which was pretty impressive. Ballarat was an unusual location (because it is not a capital city), but I think it was an excellent choice. First, this town (the third largest inland city in Australia with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants) has a very rich architecture, with beautiful massive victorian style buildings, built during the gold-rush era. We were quite fortunate to have our conference at the beautiful Craig’s Royal Hotel (that you see in the photo below), built in 1862. Second, the Art Gallery of Ballarat was ruinning a new special exhibition called Romancing the Skull, that focused on how artists depict the human skull through time, and how the skull was used as a symbol for addressing social and political issues. A highly reccommended axhibition.

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