Museum of London Ponders Fate of Skeletons

Guardian Unlimited: The Museum of London has 20,000 skeletons in its closet and is being urged to give them Christian burial. The Museum of London has 17,000 skeletons stacked in boxes in its "closets," and now some of the museum's staff is urging burial for most of the remains.

Hedley Swain, head of early London history and collections, said: "The people making decisions should ask themselves whether they would feel comfortable about their bodies being dug up one day and stuck in a cardboard box."

Most of the skeletons in question have been unearthed up over the years in a number of excavations around the city. They include remains from monasteries and disused churches, making museum official consider the posibility of Christian reburial. Other oppose the move since it will deprive researchers of a wealth of study material for medical, sociological or historical research.

James Steele, chairman of the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, told The Times: "Reburial may mean the loss of any future potential to analyse the material."

The debate continues.

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