A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
Skeletal REvelations through the Industrial Haze
Skeletal revelations through the Industrial Haze
An in-person talk at Kensal Green Cemetery with Jelena Bekvalac

Saturday 2nd October 2021 at 1:30 pm

Cancer, diabetes, dementia.. We think of these diseases as scourges of modern industrial living, but have they always existed undetected in humans? Do we have genetic predispositions to such conditions? The archive of human skeletal remains at the Museum of London provides a large bank of evidence to investigate how far some of these diseases go back in time.

The industrial age was a key period in human history where the population’s lifestyles changed radically in terms of occupations, housing, diet and leisure activities: all of which impacted on their health. London had become the most densely populated metropolis in the world - the beating heart of trade and consumerism - but at what price? Jelena Bekvalac explains how, using modern medical imaging technologies and osteoarchaeological examination of nearly 2,400 human skeletal remains, she has been able to establish the existence of present day diseases in individuals living both before and during industrialisation and how the perils of unregulated rural and urban lives, changing food consumption, transport and technologies as well as improving medical treatment and life expectancy, have altered human health patterns over time.

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation toward a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery. Please click here to buy.

Jelena Bekvalac
Jelena Bekvalac is the Curator of Human Osteology at the Museum of London and was an original member of the research osteologist team at the Wellcome funded Centre for Human Bioarchaeology. Her recent research project with Gaynor Western investigating the impact of industrialisation on London health, enabled the opportunity for the analysis of the skeletal remains of over 2,000 adults from the pre-Industrial and Industrial period from London and locations outside London.

Image credit - public domain courtesy of the Wellcome Collection Library

The Venue - Brompton Cemetery