Time-varying compressive loading was applied to unembalmed human cervical spines using an MTS closed-loop hydraulic testing machine. Load programs included relaxation, cyclic loading, variable rate constant velocity loading (0.13-64 cm/sec), and constant velocity loading to failure. The failures produced were similar to those observed clinically. A generalized quasi-linear viscoelastic Maxwell-Weichert model incorporating a continuous relaxation spectrum was developed to predict the relaxation and constant velocity test responses. The fit was adequate considering the complexity of the structure involved.