3D scanned human skull

Digitised Diseases osteoarchaeology project

Project partner: 
University of Bradford, RCS

Digitised Diseases www.digitiseddiseases.org  is a unique online resource that brings together 1,600 specimens of diseased human bone. The collection offers trainee medics, clinicians and medical historians the chance to study the effects of chronic diseases on the skeleton.

"This will be a unique resource both for archaeologists and medical historians to identify diseases in ancient specimens, but also for clinicians who can see extreme forms of chronic diseases which they would never see nowadays in their consulting rooms. " Dr Andrew Wilson, University of Bradford

The online resource contains 3D models of bones affected by over 90 chronic pathological conditions, ranging from common complaints such as osteoarthritis to rare bone cancers and conditions that are often considered to be diseases of poverty, such as tuberculosis.

The Digitised Diseases project, created by the University of Bradford and Jisc, brings together world-renowned skeletal collections. MOLA osteologists worked with a multi-disciplinary, led by colleagues at Bradford, to digitise the specimens using a combination of 3D laser scanning, CT and radiography. All 3D models are accompanied by descriptions of the conditions.

Within the collection are records of specimens that would otherwise be too fragile to handle. The online resource is of particular value to students and researchers in countries that do not have access to bone collections or where the study of real human remains is restricted.

Skeletal collections digitised come from the University of Bradford’s Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC); the Hunterian Museum and the Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology at the Royal College of Surgeons; and include human remains excavated by MOLA.

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