Fascinating antique annotated real medical skeleton in box


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The title and even the photos do not do this justice. As you can see from the images, this is an antique medical half skeleton. Considering its age, it is in great condition and is unusual with still having the cartilage present on the sternum. Most of the bones are very finely and neatly annotated to show the attachments of the muscles turning this skeleton into a real work of art. The writing is a little faded in places, but still in generally good condition.

The skull is typical of these Victorian or early 20th Century specimens where the jaws have been built up with plaster and teeth inset into this. This was a common practice with the skulls in those days as many of the skulls came from older people who may have naturally lost most or all of their teeth pre-mortem. Some of the teeth are missing and the plaster has started to crumble in places where it has become dry and friable. The lower part of the left nasal bone is also missing although I suspect that this may have been the result of an injury or accident in life as there seems to be a clear angle of cut to the nasal bones and the edges are smooth which would suggest healing of an injury. The brass fittings on the skull are all present and original and are indicative of the turn of the 20th Century.

I don't think that the box would have originally come with the skeleton. It appears to have been purpose made a little later and might have started life as a military ammunition box. It is heavily constructed and measures 59cm x 30cm x 23cm and has metal reinforcing straps on the corners. There is one metal handle at one end, but unfortunately, the other has broken over the years. In the bottom of the box are a couple of pieces of the Radio times dating from Sunday May 9th 1941.



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