Digitised Diseases: seeing beyond the specimen, understanding disease and disability in the past


Digitised Diseases is a major web-based 3D resource of chronic disease conditions that manifest change to the human skeleton. The resource was established through funds from Jisc, the University of Bradford and Bradford Visualisation. The multi-disciplinary team involving project partners MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) and the Royal College of Surgeons of England undertook a programme of mass digitisation of pathological type specimens from world-renowned archaeological, historic and medical collections at the University of Bradford, in London and York. We continue to augment this resource through ingestion of new content.

The resource was always envisaged as needing to appeal to a diverse user community, having impact not just among academic and clinical beneficiaries, but also enriching the wider understanding of public health in the past. From the outset, our focus was on making sure that the digitised palaeopathological exemplars were represented and understood within a broader clinical context. In essence we wanted to emphasise the impact of living with disease and disability in an era before modern therapies were available and the significance of care provision that would have been required at a societal level, given the longevity of many of these conditions.

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Cite this Record

Digitised Diseases: seeing beyond the specimen, understanding disease and disability in the past. Andrew Wilson, Keith Manchester, Jo Buckberry, Rebecca Storm, Karina Croucher. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395745)