Strange Remains

Human remains in the news, strange history of corpses, and odd things that happen to human bones. #forensicanthropology #bioarchaeology
www.strangeremains.com

The resurrection of a mortsafe that protected a corpse from body snatchers and saved the bones for archaeologists.

The theft of dead bodies in England was a common occurrence in the early 19th century because medical schools could only dissect the bodies of executed criminals, which were in short supply.  As medical schools expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries, and more people attended universities, the need for cadavers far exceeded the supply of condemned prisoners, so anatomy lecturers had to resort to doing business with unsavory resurrection men.  Resurrection men, or body snatchers, would sneak into graveyards at night and exhume the bodies of people who had just died and sell them to medical schools.  It was important that the cadavers were fresh since the anatomy lecturers needed to dissect the remains.

Body snatching became so widespread that people came up with ways to deter resurrection men from stealing the bodies of family members.  Relatives would guard a body before burial, some cemeteries installed watchtowers to discourage body snatchers after interment, and some families purchased iron contraptions, called mortsafes, in which to bury their dead.

Read more at StrangeRemains

Top Image: Mortsafe at in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Middle Image: Mortsafe at  a church yard in Logierait, south of Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland.

Bottom Image: 19th century skeletal remains of a woman found buried in a mortsafe

  1. sassy-kartoffeln4042 reblogged this from anthrocentric
  2. prikka reblogged this from anthrocentric
  3. themotherflippinvoss reblogged this from anthrocentric
  4. daveysama reblogged this from wildcard67
  5. wildcard67 reblogged this from anthrocentric
  6. mickuschickus reblogged this from anthrocentric
  7. inspire-dirt reblogged this from anthrocentric
  8. justlavie reblogged this from icecreamfundsneeded
  9. osteophoria reblogged this from anthrocentric
  10. icecreamfundsneeded reblogged this from anthrocentric
  11. devonwontgotoheaven reblogged this from mallaidha
  12. mallaidha reblogged this from anthrocentric
  13. forgetregretforlifeisyourstomiss reblogged this from anthrocentric
  14. od-atollo reblogged this from anthrocentric
  15. ill337erate reblogged this from anthrocentric
  16. nostalgicinatimeparadox reblogged this from anthrocentric
  17. anthrocentric reblogged this from elventanz
  18. ljspillowbook reblogged this from lostinhistory
  19. aboxthecolourofheartache reblogged this from strangeremains
  20. archaeoadventuretime reblogged this from valdanderthal
  21. dimens1ons reblogged this from strangeremains
  22. paleopsychotic reblogged this from vexedtofind
  23. sarcastic-animals reblogged this from tessagratton
  24. violette-royale reblogged this from forestpines
  25. forestpines reblogged this from lostinhistory