• Post-medieval London;
  • coffin plate;
  • metastatic carcinoma;
  • palaeopathology


In 1999 the AOC Archaeology Group excavated the cemetery of All Hallows by the Tower, London, UK, prior to redevelopment. The majority of the burials are post-medieval, dating from circa 1776 to 1835. Skeleton (4105) was buried with a lead coffin plate. The data on the coffin plate revealed that the skeleton was that of Ann Sumpter, who died aged 31 years on the 25 May 1794. The skeleton displays pathology that is indicative of a metastatic carcinoma. A precise diagnosis is not possible, but given the individual is female it is statistically most likely the secondaries have originated from a breast or lung tumour. Breast tumours are thought to have been more common than lung tumours in the past, and therefore the most probable diagnosis is a breast carcinoma. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.