Wellcome Collection

Skeletons: London’s Buried Bones

Drawn from the Museum of London’s collection of 17,000 skeletons spanning 16 centuries, this exhibition examined the bones of some of those who lived, died and were buried in our city.

These specially commissioned photographs capture the sites where historically signifiant skeletons were discovered as they exist in London today, contextualising them as a reminder of the layers of human history all around us.

The skeletons reflected London’s rich past and varied social geography: from the affluent district of Chelsea to the Cross Bones cemetery in Southwark, believed to have been established originally as a graveyard for prostitutes. Through careful forensic analysis by the team at the Museum, each skeleton revealed its own story, offering fascinating insights into the times in which it lived and the major health hazards of the day – syphilis, smallpox and rickets.

A 64-page book to accompany the ‘Skeletons’ exhibition, which includes all of the burial site photographs commissioned for the exhibition, case studies of five of the skeletons and an interview with the osteologists from the Museum of London.

Published by the Wellcome Trust
Edited by Emily Jo Sargent
Design by Jon Hares & Laurent Benner

Wellcome Collection

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