Physical Anthropology Department

Access to Collections and the Museum Library

The Department of Physical Anthropology stewards the human remains collections at the San Diego Museum of Man.

The Hrdlička Paleopathology Collection: This collection consists of the remains of individuals whose bones show disease, trauma, and cranial surgery. The collection was assembled by Aleš Hrdlička of the Smithsonian Institution for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. Most of the remains were collected in Peru in 1913 from over 30 vandalized sites. An important part of the collection is a series of 70 trephined skulls.

Trephination by cutting

The Stanford-Meyer Osteopathology Collection: This collection was a gift from Stanford University in 1981. It consists of approximately 3500 human bones from 1500 individuals. The remains of these individuals were used from the early 1900s to 1960 by the Anatomy Department of Stanford University to train medical students in bone diseases and disorders. An important aspect of the collection is that it was made before antibiotics, so the reaction of bone to infection is well documented.

The Boring Collection of Human Skeletal Anatomy: This collection was a gift from Professor Eugene Boring of Chaffey College. Its origin is India, where it was assembled in the 1950s and 1960s when India was exporting skeletal material to teaching institutions around the world. An important part of the collection is a series of 85 skulls showing various dental diseases and conditions.

Early Man Busts: Ten sculptural busts were made by the artist Mascré for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. They range from “Java Man” to Cro-Magnon.

Peruvian Mummy Bundle, child age 4-5

Wenner-Gren Foundation Casts: There are 202 cataloged casts relating to human evolution. They were made from human fossils in worldwide museums in the 1960s by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.