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Anatomical Specimens Unearthed in Scotland

Friday, January 24, 2014

Scottish Medical Bones FemurEDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Some 60 bones from at least four adults and one child that were unearthed in a backyard in Edinburgh last year by consultants from GUARD Archaeology may have been used by medical students to study human anatomy in the early nineteenth century. The bones have small holes drilled in them that could have been used to articulate them with wire. Some of the bones also have shiny patches, suggested that they had been handled often. “Edinburgh’s medical schools acquired human remains legally from hangings, unclaimed poor, or, in fact, from illegally dug graves,” commented John Lawson of the City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service. These bones in particular may have been acquired illegally and then buried in order to hide them, or perhaps they were buried when they were no longer needed.