Medical Practice

Some Social and Forensic Aspects of Exhumation and Reinterment of Industrial Revolution Remains

Br Med J 1974; 1 doi: (Published 23 March 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;1:563
  1. E. J. Duff,
  2. J. S. Johnson


    The aetiological aspects of exhumed remains from two burial sites were examined using 1839 and 1879 as years of comparison. We tried to discover whether the sample of recovered remains was representative of those buried. The state of the remains varied according to the type of soil and coffin material in which they were buried. At the earlier date most deaths were caused by infectious lesions rather than degenerative ones and 76% of those who died were below employable age—whereas in 1879 the commonest causes of death were tuberculosis (“phthisis”) and bronchitis, and 42% died before they could be employed. The registration of deaths were recorded more accurately at the later date, and it was easier to build up a picture of the age, sex, and occupation of the people who died.

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