Crania collection of this Museum was created by Dr.Federico Oloriz Aguilera (Granada, 1855-Madrid, 1912) although he includes in his Collection 50 crania coming from Zarauz Cemetery deposited by Prof. Pedro González de Velasco when he was Director, as said Prof. Pulido in 1890.

Prof. Oloriz arrives at Madrid after winning the oppositions to Proffesor of Anatomy in 1883 and , in 1894, he published a work entitled "Crania Collection for Anthropological Studies" where he gives the rules in order to obtain and identify the crania and the types of measures that have to carry out.

In this way, he began to create the Crania Museum. In his own words(1899): "This laboratory is recent and different from the Anthropological Museum created by Dr. Velasco with different elements and today belongs to the Faculty of Sciences. In 1884, just before Dr. Velasco died and before the building and some scientific Collections were bought by Government I collected materials for the Anthropological Anatomy study in the School of San Carlos." [El Laboratorio de Antropología de la Facultad de Medicina de Madrid, Revista Iberoamericana de Ciencias Médicas, Vol.1,March.1899:76-91].

Crania studied in the Museum, permit us thinking that Prof. Oloriz should begin the Collection when he was Assistant Proffesor and Disection Proffesor in Granada because exist twelve crania labelled in this Faculty.

In this article, Oloriz thanks facilities that Deans Magaz, Bald and Letamendi offered him in the beginning and to Dean Calleja a place and the necessary infrastructure. He talks about a file with 15.000 observations done in alive humans. With this aim he designed a leaf for observations in order to include this data with other regarding 1000 cadavers.

Regarding Anthropological Museum he talks about a Collection with more than 1900 crania dated in Instructions published in 1884. "Most of them are Spanish, less than 50 came from our colonies. The 5/6 of them were prepared in the Department of Anatomy during fourteen years".

After, he explains some modifications in identification and measures instructions compiled in "Crania Collection for Anthropological Studies" (Granada-1884) and "Anatomical Technique" (Madrid-1890).

This technique has got five steps: 1/ Mark the cadavers 2/ Filiation 3/ Measure the cadaver 4/ Skull determination 5/ Maceration and bleaching 6/ Identification 7/ Cataloguing. Data from three first steps are compiled in an anthropological card and this one confers an ordinal number that is impressed in a metal sheet and fixed to the cadaver. In the forth step data about dental formula are included, also specific skull data (anteroposterior and transverse maximum diameters). The sixth step is a forth step corroboration in order to discard mistakes.

Inmediatly after it is catalogued and a identification with ink is done in the frontal bone and in the mandible. Other data are written in parietal bone: origin, age...and if they are obtained from Department, place of birth and sex (expressed with usual sign used by Naturalists: female varon.jpg (794 bytes) and male hembra.jpg (785 bytes)). Based on this data, Oloriz publishes "Cephalic Index in Spain" (Madrid -1894).

In this work we can appreciate the dissapointment about lack collaboration in order to obtain data in some spanish provinces. After this moment Prof. Oloriz works regarding this Collection are not found so most of his works are about dactyloscopy.

In 1913, just after Oloriz death, in a Prof. Gómez Ocaña article [Memorias de la Real Sociedad Española de Medicina Natural, vol.VII, memoria 5: 343-454, 1913] we found a new reference about crania Collection. In this work, Prof. Gómez Ocaña says " his Collection, the best of the world although is smaller than Collection created by Broca, in quality, in objective weight, is the Collection created by Professor from Madrid...Oloriz Collection in the only place where exist 2220 crania...Oloriz Collection has 2250 speciments although the last one is number 2124. Most of them, about 1700, came from the Hospital and represent different Spanish Regions and Provinces"

Afterwards Prof. Gómez Ocaña asserts that Prof. Oloriz upholds in March, 1899: "Inequality representation in Provinces was the fundamental reason that forces Prof. Oloriz to leave, fourteen years ago, the Collection. He considered searching and preparing crania as a vain sacrifice."

From conversations between Professor Orts-Llorca, Prof. Serafín Rodríguez-Gallego and Mr.Mariano Aranda-García (Disection Room Technician) we can deduce that Oloriz Collection was divided in three parts when it was moved from Atocha Street to Ciudad Universitaria. The bigest part of it was maked up un the Department of Anatomy I , in other time directed by Prof. Oloriz, and the other two parts were deposited in Department of Anatomy II and Legal Medicine Department.

Collection placed in the Department Museum belongs to the first Department of Anatomy so it is which has got the most crania. Current inventory includes Oloriz Collection and some more which were in this Museum.

If you want consult about this Collection using Key Words which include age, sex, will obtain a list where you can see crania photographs. If you prefer better quality or complementary information you can contact with : Departamento de Anatomía y Embriología Humana I / Facultad de Medicina / Ciudad Universitaria-28040 Madrid. E-mail:


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        Sex:    Mandible: 


oloriz.jpg (14509 bytes)  

Dr. Federico Oloriz Aguilera (Granada 1855 - Madrid 1912)

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It registers Anthropological (enlarged)

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Relationship of skulls up to 1896 (enlarged).

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Map of the  cephalic index (enlarged).

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Skull 3056. Metopic sutures.

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Skull 1079. Lateral vision. Coming from Madrid. Male. 33 years old.

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It fringes homage to professor Oloriz   (enlarged)