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Southwark and Bermondsey skeletons on display at Wellcome Collection

London SE1 website team

Skeletons found at Cross Bones Graveyard in the Borough and at the site of Bermondsey Abbey are featured in an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection.

Smallpox victim
A young smallpox victim buried at Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark

26 skeletons from the Museum of London's collection of more than 17,000 have been put on display at the Wellcome Collection in Euston Road. Each is accompanied by a recent image of the location by photographer Thomas Adank.

Among the skeletons recovered from Cross Bones Graveyard in Redcross Way is that of a smallpox victim of indeterminate sex, aged about 9 months.

Also from Cross Bones is the skeleton of a young woman who archaeologists believe may have been a prostitute.

"We think this individual was probably in her very late teens or early twenties," explains curator Emily Jo Sargent.

"The damage to her skull is evidence of syphilis. The scarring on her skull would have been physical in soft tissue changes – so she would have had open sores on her forehead.

"She has got fairly poor dental hygiene despite being so young ... quite a lot of decay and cavities.

"She's also got some bowing to her legs which may be evidence of rickets or may be to do with the syphilis."

From excavations of the Bermondsey Abbey site at Long Walk a male skeleton is displayed. The caption explains the multiple fractures which are in evidence, as well as traces of osteoarthritis.

• Skeletons: London's Buried Bones continues at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, until Sunday 28 September. Open Tue-Sat 10am-6pm (Thu till 10pm); Sunday 11am-6pm; free

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