Following 2008’s unusual job, providing a frozen environment for a film crew (see “Chillspeed goes to War” below), 2009 & 2010 have seen us involved in yet more support work for the TV industry.
This time, the occupant of one of our vans was definitely deceased – by about 2,000 years! Unearthed at Caistor St Edmund near Norwich, a male skeleton was found in what appeared to be a shallow grave. Once the tribal capital of Queen Boudicca’s Iceni tribe before being occupied by the Romans, Caistor is an important archaeological site. It is owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and is currently being investigated by the Caistor Roman Project (www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/venta).
In late 2009 we transported the skeleton, dubbed “Caistor Man” to Dundee University, home of The College of Life Sciences and The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification for detailed forensic investigation. There, scientists who were deliberately left unaware of the origins of the skeleton were to carry out various tests to try and determine as much information about him as possible, including carbon dating, DNA testing and facial reconstruction. In early 2010 we brought “Caistor Man” back home again.
Shine Productions Ltd has made a four-part TV series called, “History Cold Case”. This focuses on life in Britain through the ages, determined by forensically examining various human remains. It all sounded grimly fascinating and certainly made a change for us from our usual cargo of fresh herbs or chilled chickens! In fact, Don Clarke, the driver who collected the boxed skeleton from local project volunteer, Hazel Leese was pleased to observe that this was the first cargo he had carried that was actually older than him!
Although there was no requirement for temperature controlled transport, the TV Production Company felt that such an important and fragile historical artefact could not be entrusted to any of the national couriers and so contracted us to provide a dedicated vehicle and all the careful cargo handling for which Chillspeed has such an enviable reputation.
We are pleased to report that “Caistor Man” made the long journey from Norfolk to Dundee and back again without incident. When it comes to reliability, we like to think that no-one can pick a bone with us!
Neatly packed and ready for the
journey up the Great North Road
Footnote: The series was shown on BBC2 in May 2010. Unfortunately, the forensic investigation team were unable to glean sufficient information from Caistor Man’s skeleton to provide enough material for a one-hour programme and this particular episode had to be dropped.
Photographs reproduced by kind permission of Shine Ltd & Norfolk Archaeological Trust. May 2010.