Museum of London, U.K.
Osteology Department

Jelena Bekvalac is the Curator of the Osteology department at the London Museum and adds another dimension to our series "The Embrace of Dying" by taking us back in time and allowing us to see more than 20,000 skeletal remains from old London. Many of which she says that she knows better than some of her own family members.

There are remains that date back to medieval times and range from common folk to bourgeois.   Jelena and her team study the remains to piece together London’s history, discovering what individuals may have died from.  As Jelena led us through the room used to house the remains in boxes, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.

When excavation at a site takes place, often times human remains are unearthed.  When this happens, they are sent to Jelena.  Some bodies are in iron caskets and many of those individuals died from “The Black Death.”

It was an experience unlike any other as we went back in time to attempt to gain an understanding at how we have honored our dead throughout the centuries.

To learn more about the Museum of London, go to