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In what ways can human skeletal remains be used to understand health and disease from the past?
  1. Neil H Metcalfe
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Neil Metcalfe
 4 Philadelphia Terrace, South Bank, York YO23 1DH, UK; neilmetcalfe{at}


Disease and illness in previous generations can be investigated using palaeopathology. This article describes the commonly used techniques in palaeopathology, includes examples of how such techniques are able to formulate data on a variety of health issues that occurred in the past and suggests how these data can be relevant today.

  • ancient medicine
  • autopsy
  • history of medicine
  • imaging
  • palaeopathology

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  • Competing interests: None.