From Cemetery to Clinic: Digitised Pathological Data

Scope and Content

This collection is a unique interactive resource on the disease of leprosy (properly known as Hansen's disease). The collection holds 120 3-D scans and X-rays of skeletons excavated from a medieval leprosarium, or leper hospital, in Chichester - the St. James and St. Mary Magdalene. The hospital was located outside the boundaries of the town walls and was in use from the early 12th century until at least 1418.

The resource is the only large-scale one of its kind in the UK and there are only a few such collections worldwide. Alongside a clinical description of each specimen, the collection also features 400 X-rays of the affected bones of leprosy patients living in Ethiopia during the 1980s. These modern images are a valuable tool for analysing the way the disease has pathologically remodelled itself in the centuries since the Chichester leprosarium was in use.


This is a description of an Online Resource. Online Resources are websites that describe, interpret and provide access to archives. They often provide access to digital content but they may also describe physical materials. They usually cover a theme or topic, such as an individual, a movement, or an important historical event.

Other Finding Aids


A Jisc funded digitisation initiative. Publisher: University of Bradford

Additional Information

This collection serves as a medical and pathological resource for those studying the disease itself, as well as those studying mutations of ancient diseases into modern forms and anyone interested in the history of medical treatments and medical developments.

It is also of general use to those studying, teaching or researching anthropological subjects and religious history, as leprosy sufferers were believed to be morally lacking and in need of spiritual guidance and prayer to cure their disease.

The collection's resources are freely accessible. Detailed introductions to the bone changes caused by leprosy are available to all users – both at a general level and from a clinical and palaeopathological perspective.