Left and right foot showing effects of leprosy

Made:
1250-1500 in Netherlands
maker:
Unknown

Left and right foot showing effects of leprosy, from a skeleton from a medieval Danish leprosy cemetery, reputedly c.1350

The right and left feet show the devastating effects of leprosy on the bones of the body. This erosion and damage, caused by the decay of protective fatty tissue, does not occur in all cases.

These feet are believed to be from an adult female buried in a Danish leprosy cemetery attached to a leper hospital. Those with leprosy were social outcasts due to fear of catching the disfiguring disease and it appears the same happened in death. However, similar skeletal remains have been found in graveyards not attached to leper hospitals.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Object Number:
A635011/1
Materials:
bone, human remains, plexiglass
Measurements:
overall (with base): 15 mm x 301 mm x 298 mm, 1.83 kg
overall (right): 75 mm x 80 mm x 210 mm, 0.13 kg
overall (left): 77 mm x 80 mm x 230 mm, 0.14 kg
type:
skeleton
taxonomy:
  • animal remains
credit:
Wellcome Trust

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