An illustrated scene of eight figures in preparation for death.

Human remains

The British Museum holds and cares for human remains from around the world.

Representing diverse cultures over thousands of years, this important collection is a unique record of the varied ways different societies have conceived of death and disposed of the remains of the dead.


Their display and study provides one of the most direct and insightful sources of information on past lives, human biology, different cultural approaches to death, burials practices and belief systems, including ideas about the afterlife.

Regarding the Dead

A collection of essays, Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum details the issues surrounding human remains in museum collections, offering possible solutions to the dilemmas relating to their curation, storage, access management and display.

Written predominantly by British Museum staff, a PDF of Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum is available, or you can purchase Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum.