Health in the medieval world: Regionality and the bioarchaeology of Ireland and Britain

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Tesorieri, Mara Lee
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University College Cork
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This study assesses regional health patterns in early medieval Ireland and Britain by analysing and interpreting palaeopathological indicators of stress. This was achieved by incorporating the results of demographic and palaeopathological study into the specific historical contexts. Although relatively small islands, both are home to unique and diverse cultural, physical, and political landscapes, which could potentially affect the general health of the population in different ways. To accurately answer the research question, a bioarchaeological survey of six regions within both islands was carried out, specifically analysing and comparing the demographic profile and general health trends within each region with one another. Results from the analysis have demonstrated statistically significant differences within and between the islands. Inferring that even the more subtle differences observed within the cultural, physical, and political landscapes, such as in the case of Ireland and Britain, can and do affect general health trends. The health of early medieval Ireland and Britain appears to be significantly affected by the physical landscape, specifically a north/south divide. The most northerly regions, Scotland South and Ireland North, manifested higher levels of stress indicators when compared to the more southerly positioned regions. Although it can only be hypothesised what factors within these regions are causing, enhancing or buffering stress, the study has established the potential and necessity for regional work to be continued when interpreting the historical past of these two islands.
Early medieval , England , Ireland , Scotland , Wales , Stress , Non-specific stress indicators , Regional studies , Bioarchaeology
Tesorieri, M. L. 2014. Health in the medieval world: Regionality and the bioarchaeology of Ireland and Britain. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.