Body parts: skulls, mummy heads, and bones from a plague pit

A collection of human body parts stored at the University of Cambridge has been revealed in a new set of photographs.

A human skull from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge

A collection of human body parts stored at the University of Cambridge has been revealed in a new set of photographs.

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Images released by the university depict skulls, mummy heads, and bones from a 17th-century plague pit. The body parts are housed in the university’s Duckworth Laboratory – one of the world’s largest repositories of skulls, skeletons, death masks, hair bundles and blood samples. The collection includes a jawbone tens of thousands of years old, and axe-cleaved skulls from Iron Age battles.

Among the 18,000 remains are those of individuals who lived up to 8,000 years ago in the Sahara Desert.

Researchers from Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES) and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research are examining the teeth and bones to find out more about how the individuals lived.

To find out more about the Duckworth Laboratory, click here.

All images credited to Duckworth Collection, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES), University of Cambridge.

Clay heads from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
A clay head from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
The Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
The remains of 18,000 individuals are housed at the Duckworth Laboratory – one of the world’s largest repositories of skulls, skeletons, death masks, hair bundles and blood samples.
A femur from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
The bone pathology is known as ‘Cobbler’s Femur’.
Bones from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
A human skull from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
A human skull from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
A human skull from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
A human skull from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge
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Here you can watch a video about the body parts housed in the laboratory: