The Museum of London curates archaeologically derived human remains in order to promote research into past human health and to understand the history of London.
The Centre for Human Bioarchaeology encourages Museum staff and external researchers to undertake ethical research using its extensive collections, which date from the Neolithic to the Post-Medieval period (see ‘Museum Policy on Human Remains’).
The Museum of London will produce and then keep under review, a research assessment of its collections following the recommendations of the 'Guidance for the Care of Human Remains in Museums' document published by the DCMS (DCMS 2005 (PDF 342kb)).
The Wellcome Osteological Research Database
The Wellcome Osteological Research Database (WORD) was created to promote research into human remains held by the Museum of London. The Museum is committed to the active curation and development of this resource.
WORD data is available for unrestricted download by members of the public from the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology website. We ask all users to register and cite the Centre if data is included in research and/or publications.
We recommend that the WORD is used by researchers planning to visit the Centre, in order to identify London archaeological sites and skeletal samples best suited to their studies.
The Museum of London, through Museum of London Archaeology, will continue to excavate, record and curate human remains as part of its PPG16-led archaeological investigations (Planning policy guidance: Archaeology and planning (PDF 252kb)). In 2012, the legislation was updated by the Government and incorporated into the National Planning Policy Framework document.
Where there is a requirement by planning conditions and/or the Research Framework for London Archaeology for human remains to be studied, this is usually carried out by commercial archaeological units. However, if necessary, the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology will undertake the work. Accordingly, skeletons from newly-excavated sites may be added to the research collection from time to time.