Oxford's stone heads: history and mysteries

oxford head
The History and Mysteries of Oxford’s Broad Street Heads’ display is the culmination of over 5 years’ of research by the School of Geography and the Environment team. The display reconstructs the history of the heads right up to the present day. It showcases a range of fascinating items from the University archives as well as the science being done to reveal more about their decay and future conservation. Most excitingly, first, second, and third generation heads will come face-to-face for the very first time!
A team of ‘head hunters’ from the School of Geography and the Environment has been piecing together the story of the Broad Street heads. By digging in the archives and appealing for help from the local community, many of the missing heads (or what remains of them) have been rediscovered and a wealth of fascinating new information has been found. They are proving to be an invaluable archive of Oxford’s stone decay and heritage conservation practice. Currently, we are using state-of-the-art science to learn more from the heads themselves. We employ methods such as 3D scanning, microCT scanning and neutron imaging to understand weathering processes.


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