The Calvin Wells Palaeopathology Archive

Scope and Content

  • Notes, reports and correspondence on archaeological sites, principally on skeletal material; many sites, including North Elmham, Iona, Caerwent, Kingsworthy, and Icklingham.
  • Short notes on cremations (a) Norfolk and Suffolk, (b) other U.K. sites.
  • Correspondence with archaeologists, museum staff, medical professionals, editors, publishers.
  • Scripts of video programmes and tape/slide presentation on palaeopathology.
  • Microfilm (16mm) of Calvin Wells' reference files.
  • The Times obituary of Calvin Wells, August 1978.
  • "Calvin Wells: a short biography of a friend" by Gerald D. Hart, 1983 (typescript).

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr Calvin Bampfylde Wells (1908-1978) played an important role in developing the science of palaeopathology (the study of ancient disease). He began his career in medicine in London, training at University College London and University College Hospital and specialising in obstetrics. He also became interested in anthropology. In the period after the Second World War, when he had moved to Norfolk, he began to combine these two strands, using his medical knowledge to interpret archaeological finds and so shed light on the diseases and injuries suffered by ancient people and sometimes also on modern health problems. His works include Bones, bodies and disease (1964), a general introduction to palaeopathology, besides more detailed journal articles and papers on specific excavations and topics. After Calvin's death his widow acted as a literary/scientific executor, encouraging publication of his work.

Conditions Governing Access

Available to researchers, by appointment

Acquisition Information

In 1984 Calvin's widow, Winifred "Freddie" Wells, donated his books, journals and papers to the Department of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford. This material was later moved to the University Library.


Mainly in English, but with some articles in French

Other Finding Aids

Handlist in preparation

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied or produced at the discretion of Special Collections staff, subject to copyright law and the condition of the originals. Applications for permission to make published use of any material should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian in the first instance. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Personal Names

Geographical Names