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Skeletons: London’s Buried Bones


23 July 2008 - 28 September 2008

As Londoners go about their busy lives, little do they imagine that they are walking over the bones of generations of their predecessors. Excavations required for the continuous redevelopment of London have revealed a city of skeletons hidden beneath our streets. Burial grounds have been uncovered right across the city - sometimes beneath familiar landmarks and at other times in the most banal of locations.

Drawn from the Museum of London's astonishing 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. The skeletons reflect 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 of London, each skeleton reveals its own story, allowing us fascinating insights into the times in which they lived and the health hazards of the day - from syphilis to smallpox and rickets.

"Compelling... The show probes the most intimate recesses of human experience."
'The Times'

In collaboration with the Museum of London.

Image galleries

Video gallery


Jelena Bekvalac and Bill White describe the process of examining bones.



Curator: Emily Jo Sargent.