Delivering the Past: the bones beneath

By acollinson on 31 Oct 2016
The skull of a body uncovered at the General Post Office site in the 1970s.

The skull of a body uncovered at the General Post Office site in the 1970s.

A graveyard, uncovered in London during the 1970s, offered both a huge opportunity and a terrific challenge for archaeologists, who had to excavate over two hundred bodies before the bulldozers rolled in. Lucy Creighton investigates what stories these bones have to tell, nearly 1000 years on.

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Drawing on the collection: Illustration student Sam Bushaway

By spetty on 4 Dec 2015

In September, Sarah Castle (Higher Education Programme manager at the museum) was approached by BA (Hons) Illustration student Sam Bushaway, studying at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, who was about to start a project where she was required to spend time drawing on location. Sarah was interested in seeing how illustration might allow us to look differently at our collections, and what inventive interpretations might materialise. As well as working to a project brief which asked for work that was ‘visually unusual’ Sarah also asked Sam to consider whether illustration can change our perception of objects.

Here’s what Sam has to say about her time at the museum…

BA Illustration student Sam Bushaway from UCA (right) and Sarah Castle Higher Education Programme Manager at the Museum of London. © Museum of London

BA Illustration student Sam Bushaway from UCA (right) and Sarah Castle Higher Education Programme Manager at the Museum of London. © Museum of London

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Big, Tiny, Broken: Top 3 Animal Remains at the Archaeological Archive

By adam corsini on 13 Aug 2014

A lumbar vertebra from a whale found during excavations at Vintry (VRY89)From excavations at the Fleet Valley (VAL88)From excavations at Lower Warbank, Keston (LWB67)

We’re all just a bunch of animals sharing this space called Earth. And we have been for a very long time now. Vertebrates, invertebrates, molluscs and sponges, being created, living and dying in a continuous circle of life. We’ve got them all at the Museum of London’s Archaeological Archive, from the very small to the shelf consuming. Here are three of our favourite examples of archaeological animal remains.

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Digitised Diseases

By mike henderson on 24 Jul 2012

  Since the beginning of 2012 the Osteology Department at MOLA has been involved in the Digitised Diseases project in collaboration with the University of Bradford the Royal College of Surgeons and funded by JISC. The ultimate aim of the project is to produce a web resource featuring high resolution 3D images of human bones with evidence of disease. Intended as a teaching tool, the website will allow detailed inspection of pathological lesions. Users will be able to move each image around in order to view it from every angle. They will also be able to zoom in to a high […]

Burnt Bones (The process and method of excavating cremation vessels)

By mike henderson on 1 Feb 2011

S. Matthews, BA, MSc This month Sarah Matthews talks about the process of excavating human remains from cremation vessels. Click on the images to see further details of the excavation. Archaeological investigations in 2010 by the Museum of London Archaeology revealed a number of Roman cremation vessels from a site in Surrey. While many of the vessels had been badly damaged by ploughing, 10 remained intact enough for further study. The purpose of excavating cremation vessels is to ascertain how efficient the cremation process was, determine the distribution of bone in the vessel, gather knowledge about the pyre, and information […]

Casualty 1800’s

By mike henderson on 4 Nov 2010

This month human osteologist Don Walker talks about the analysis of nineteenth century trauma victims from the Royal London Hospital. The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London is a venerable institution with a rich history of serving the local community, and was featured in a series of historical medical dramas produced by the BBC (‘Casualty 1906’ and ‘Casualty 1907’). The hospital was founded in 1740, and opened on its current site in 1757. One of the functions of the hospital was as an accident and emergency department accepting ‘special cases necessary to the preservation of life’. Emergency treatment would […]

The City Bunhill burial ground

By mike henderson on 28 Oct 2010

This month osteologist Brian Connell talks about the human skeletons excavated at the City Bunhill burial ground, Golden Lane, London. Archaeological excavations by MOLAS in 2006 uncovered 239 human skeletons from the City Bunhill burial ground. This nonconformist burial ground was in use from 1833 to 1853 and was very intensively used with over 18,000 burials taking place over a relatively short period of just 20 years. This was located in a poor area, with a high Irish immigrant population, many of whom would have been buried within this ground. The skeletons provided a fascinating insight into the mortality and […]