Human Remains

The IEM holds the following collections in dedicated special specimen storage rooms at Irchel Campus.

Researchers at the IEM work under the IEM Code of Ethics.

Galler Collection

The Galler Collection is a historic Swiss bone reference series of high value for paleopathological research. The Galler Collection consists of approximately 1700 mostly dry-bone specimens of many major bone diseases, some of them dating back to the early 20th century. Clinical information and autopsy reports are available for the majority of specimens. Rarely documented conditions represented in the collection include: severe forms of myositis ossificans progressiva, kyphoscoliosis, endemic cretinism, hypo- and hyperparathyroidism, phosphorus-induced bone necrosis, and many more.


  • Rühli FJ, Hotz G, Böni T (2003). Brief communication: the Galler Collection: a little-known historic Swiss bone pathology reference series. Am J Phys Anthropol 121 (1), 15-18.

To learn more about the collection, please contact Dr. Martin Häusler.

Dalheim Collection

The Dalheim Collection contains the remains of at least 151 individuals excavated in 1989 from the Late Medieval monastery Dalheim (‘Kloster Dalheim’). The skeletal remains were recovered from 110 graves in the Bartholomaeus Chapel and nearby sheep stalls.


  • Hofmann MI, Böni T, Alt K, Woitek U, Rühli FJ (2008) Paleopathologies of the Vertebral Column in Medieval Skeletons. Anthropologischer Anzeiger 66(1), 1-17
  • Hofmann MI, Böni T, Rühli FJ (2010) Osseous Talocalcaneal Coalitions in a Medieval Skeleton (ca. 1050AD). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 20(6), 623-629
  • Olsen KC, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, von Heyking K, McGlynn G, Grupe G, Rühli FJ (2914). Intraskeletal Isotopic Compositions (d13C, d15N) of Bone Collagen: Nonpathological and Pathological Variation. Am J. Phys. Anthrop 153(4), 598-604
  • Krüttli A, Bouwman A, Akgül G, Della Casa Ph, Rühli F, Warinner C (2014). Ancient DNA analysis reveals high frequency of European lactase persistence allele (T-13910) in medieval Central Europe. Plos One, published January 23, 2014.
  • Warinner T et al. (Rühli F: shared last authorship) (2014). Disease and dietary reconstruction from ancient oral microbiomes. Nat Genet 46, 336-344.
  • Pieper Roland (2003). Dalheim: Pfarrot-Kloster-Staatsdomäne, published by Ardey-Verlag Münster.
  • Oslen KC, White CD, Longstaffe FJ, Rühli FJ, Warinner C, Salazat-Garcia DC (2016). Isotopic Anthropology of Rural German Medieval Diet: intra- and inter-population variability. Archeol. Anthropol. Sci.

To learn more about the collection, please contact Dr. Martin Häusler

Other Collections

General Collection:

The General Collection contains skeletal and soft tissues, as well as casts, radiological images and other teaching materials, from a wide variety of sources. The General Collection is an expanding collection.

To learn more about the collection, please contact Dr. Martin Häusler.

Visitor and temporary Collection:

The Visitor and Temporary Collection includes specimens that are on temporary loan to the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine.

Histology Collection:

The Histology Collection comprises specimens prepared for histological analysis and includes histological slides and paraffin-embedded samples e.g. from Iranian Salt-Mummies, the baby woolly Mammoth Lyuba Egyptian mummies, a Greek mummy, a mediaeval brain, mediaeval bones, etc.

To learn more about the collection, please contact Dr. Martin Häusler.



Wet Specimen Collection IEM UZH

The Wet Specimen Collection is composed of several smaller collections, all originating from the University of Zurich. The collection mainly consists of wet specimens from human pathology which dates back to the early 20th century, and contains over 1500 specimens of great scientific relevance. The other collection, of wet specimens from forensic medicine dating to the 20th century, contains approximately 200 pieces. Clinical information is available for the majority of specimens.

To learn more about the collection, please contact


  • Fluid Preservation: A Comprehensive Reference. John E. Simmons, Rowman&Littlefield, 2014. 
  • Beyond the Museum Walls. Medical Collections and Medical Museums in the 21st Century. The 19th European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences biennial Congress, Barcelona (Spain), September 2018. Ed. By. Alfons Zarzoso.
  • Swiss Academies Communications: Handbook on natural history collections management – A collaborative Swiss perspective. Holger Frick, Michael Greeff, 2021.