Memento Mori: Skeletons in London

No, no, the Rolling Stones aren’t doing a show in London. But the Museum of London is lending some of its skeletons to the Wellcome Trust for a nice, macabre display.

The Museum of London has excavated and studied 17,000 skeletons over the past 30 years. Let me write that again in case it didn’t sink in. Over the past 30 years, the Museum of London has excavated and studied 17,000 skeletons spanning sixteen centuries. That’s a whole lot of bones from a whole lot of time.

Twenty-six of those skeletons will be on display at the Wellcome Collection to show how people have lived and died in this city for those sixteen centuries. The Wellcome Trust is a biomedical research trust of which the Wellcome Collection is a subsidiary that explores what it is to be a human through examining the links between medicine, life, and art.

While I may be an artsy historian, I ADORE science (no, really, I sometimes sit and think about mitochondria and calculus theorems in my spare time – I’m an equal opportunity nerd.). So, combining my two loves is absolutely awesome. I am also a huge fan of the Museum of London as I have these great memories of their old exhibit on the Great Fire of London from when I first visited London as a four year old (though apparently they have a new exhibit on it that I really need to get off my butt and go see). So hearing that the Museum has done this much study of bones makes me very happy.

Some short videos showing a few of the skeletons and their history can be found on the BBC website here. Longer videos can be found here on the Wellcome Collection site.


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