Written in Bone: Mystery Woman Found in Lead Coffin

ID: SIA Acc. 16-150 [SIA16-150_D00065]

Creator: Clark, Chip

Form/Genre: Born digital

Date: 2007

Citation: Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History

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G0500 HSMC-99-200 Comparison of the femurs of Ann Wolsey Calvert showing misaligned, healed fracture and infection draining sinuses of the right femur. Smithsonian forensic anthropologists Douglas Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide opened her lead-covered coffin to find well-preserved remains of a woman strewn with rosemary sprigs. Her coffin lay between a larger lead coffin holding the remains of a man, and a small lead coffin, holding the remains of an infant. By using all the available evidence, investigators determined the identity of the woman in the lead coffin. She was Anne Wolseley Calvert, the first wife of Philip Calvert. He had come to America in 1657 and served as chancellor and governor of Maryland. At the time of her death, she would have been the most socially prominent woman in the colony. Specimens from Historic St. Mary's City.


  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Department of Anthropology
  • Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake (Exhibition) (2009-2014: Washington, D.C.)


This image was for Dr. Douglas Owsley's exhibit "Written in Bone." "Written in Bone" was a popular exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History that ran from February 7, 2009 to January 6, 2014. The exhibit examined history through forensic anthropological investigations of 17th-century human skeletal remains including those of colonists teetering on the edge of survival at Jamestown, Virginia; those living in the wealthy and well-established settlement of St. Mary's City, Maryland; and farmers located in Leavy Neck in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Original filename: G-0500_04_HSMC-99-200_AnnWolCalvert.jpg

Cite as

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 2007
  • September 26, 2007

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  • No restrictions. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Contact SIA Reference Staff for further information (email photos@si.edu)
  • Personal/Educational Use


  • Forensic anthropology
  • Physical anthropology


Born digital

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SIA Acc. 16-150 [SIA16-150_D00065]

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