In 2006, Museum of London archaeologists excavated a burial ground at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. What they found was both extraordinary and unexpected.
The excavation revealed some 262 burials. In the confusing mix of bones was extensive evidence of dissection, autopsy and amputation, bones wired for teaching, and animals dissected for comparative anatomy. Dating from a key period – that of the Anatomy Act of 1832 – the discovery is one of the most significant in the UK, offering fresh insights into early 19th century dissection and the trade in dead bodies.
Now, 180 years later, you can uncover this intriguing story in Doctors, Dissection and Resurrection Men, a major exhibition at the Museum of London. Bringing together human and animal remains, exquisite anatomical models and drawings, documents and original artefacts, the exhibition reveals the intimate relationship between surgeons pushing forward anatomical study and the ‘Resurrection men’ who supplied them; and the shadowy practices prompted by a growing demand for corpses.
The exhibition will run until 14 April 2013.