Three fascinating skeletons on loan from the University of Sheffield are star exhibits in a ground-breaking new show.
Skeletons: Our Buried Bones brings together 12 skeletons from Yorkshire and London, some of which have never been seen by the public before.
It opened at Leeds City Museum this week, but three of the skeletons featured were loaned from the university and one was originally buried in Sheffield.
They include a female who was probably an anchoress (the female version of an anchorite), and possibly Lady Isabel German who lived in a cell in the Church of All Saints in York between 1428 and 1448.
Her skeleton shows she suffered from severe osteoporosis and advanced venereal syphilis.
A male, buried in Carver Street Methodist Chapel in Sheffield, was part of Oliver Cromwell’s army attacking York in 1644 and is likely to have died along with others as the result of a mass outbreak of infectious disease.
And another male, who had fractures to the right upper and lower leg caused by a high-impact fall or collision, is also on loan from the university to the exhibition.
Katherine Baxter, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of archaeology, said: “From a historic and scientific perspective, what this exhibition allows us to do is to build a very vivid picture of how each of these people lived, some of the illnesses and injuries they suffered and how they died.
“But by learning more about these individuals and their lives, we’re also able to engage with their stories on a human level and forge a very real and very powerful connection to our past.
“Each of these skeletons is representative not only of a distinct chapter in our heritage, but of a person who played their own unique role in shaping the world we know today and who then became part of the fascinating history beneath our feet.”
Curators painstakingly reassembled each skeleton, displaying them anatomically and side by side in the museum’s special exhibitions gallery.
All the skeletons were analysed by specialist osteoarchaeologists from the Museum of London, revealing more about their stories as well as health conditions and injuries they suffered and how they may have died.
The exhibition is open until January 2018.