Written within the bones: Medieval skeletons inform story of social inequality in Cambridge

The remains of an individual buried in an Augustinian friary, excavated in 2016 on the University of Cambridge's New Museums site.

Enlarge / The stays of a person buried in an Augustinian friary, excavated in 2016 on the College of Cambridge’s New Museums website.

There’s hardly ever time to write down about each cool science-y story that comes our means. So this yr, we’re as soon as once more operating a particular Twelve Days of Christmas sequence of posts, highlighting one science story that fell via the cracks in 2020, every day from December 25 via January 5. Our last publish within the 2021 sequence: Skeletal stays excavated from medieval websites in Cambridge reveal occupational and social disparities within the inhabitants.

A working class lady who suffered from home violence. A friar who might have been the sufferer of a horse-and-cart hit-and-run. These are simply two examples of the stays of 314 folks excavated from three very completely different medieval burial websites in Cambridge, England. The proof of skeletal trauma on a lot of these stays sheds gentle on what medieval Cantabrigian lives have been like, when it comes to occupation, dwelling circumstances, and social standing, based on a paper revealed final January within the American Journal of Bodily Anthropology.

The analysis stems from the After the Plague mission at Cambridge College’s Division of Archaeology, which explores how historic circumstances affect well being and the way well being, in flip, shapes historical past. The mission notably focuses on the Black Loss of life interval (1347-1350 CE) in later medieval England, which worn out between a 3rd and a half of Europe’s inhabitants.

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