Our aim was to analyse the effect of avascularity on the morphology and mechanical properties (tensile strength, viscoelasticity) of human bone-patellar-tendon-bone (BPTB) grafts in vitro. These were harvested at postmortem and stored submerged in denaturated human plasma at a constant pH, pO2, pCO2, temperature and humidity under sterile conditions. Mechanical testing was performed two and four weeks after removal of the graft. The mean ultimate strength was 1085.7 ± 255.8 N (control), 1009.0 ± 314.9 N (two weeks cultured) and 1076.8 ± 414.8 N (four weeks cultured). There was no significant difference in linear stiffness or deformation to failure between the groups. There was a difference in viscoelasticity between the control group and the avascular grafts and the latter had significant lower peak load-to-load ratios after 15 minutes compared with the control group. After two and four weeks the graft contained viable fibroblasts. There was regular cellularity in the superficial layers and decreased cellularity in the midportion. The structure of the collagen including the crimp pattern appeared to be normal in polarised light. We conclude that avascularity does not significantly affect ultimate failure loads or stiffness of BPTB grafts. Slight changes in viscoelasticity were induced, but the significance of the increased stress relaxation is not fully understood.