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Backyard Bones May Have Been Buried by 19th-Century Students

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Scotland Garden BonesOLD ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND—The Evening Express reports that 115 human bone fragments recovered from a private garden in northeastern Scotland by archaeologist Alison Cameron may have been buried by medical student Alexander Creyk and his roommates, who lived on the property in the early nineteenth century. Rebecca Crozier of the University of Aberdeen said the bones came from five to seven people, two of whom were children between the ages of two and seven. “In the case of the child, we were able to tell that a hole had been drilled into the skull and I was able to match it to a particular tool,” Crozier said. A similar hole was found in the skull of an adult. In both cases, the procedure occurred after the person’s death. Carbon dating indicates the bones belonged to people who lived between 1650 and 1750. The Anatomy Act, passed in the United Kingdom in 1832, was intended to halt grave robbing and the illegal trade in corpses by regulating the study of donated human bodies. Aberdeenshire Council archaeologist Bruce Mann said Creyk and his colleagues may have buried the remains on the property to avoid legal troubles. The bones will be reburied in a cemetery close to where they were found, he added. To read about medical professionals' use of cadavers in nineteenth-century London, go to "Haunt of the Resurrection Men."

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