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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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18th-Century Scottish Woman's Face Reconstructed

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Scotland Facial Reconstruction

 

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—The Scotsman reports that a facial reconstruction has been made of an eighteenth-century woman whose remains were discovered on the grounds of Lady Yester’s Church. The graveyard was directly opposite of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and it appears that her body was autopsied at the hospital, which at the time was developing a reputation for advanced medical research. But it also seems that many of her teeth were removed after her autopsy by hospital staff, who likely sold them on the black market. “As the move towards grave-robbing in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries tell us, such readily available bodies for research were in great demand,” says Edinburgh city archaeologist John Lawson. “This led medics and hospital staff to meddle with Edinburgh’s criminal underworld.” To read in-depth about the dubious origins of early modern medical science in Great Britain, go to “Haunt of the Resurrection Men.”

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