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Small town life in war-torn post-medieval Scania : a bioarchaeological study of human skeletal remains from 16-18th century Ängelholm, and a discussion of the merits of small osteological samples

Stråhlén, Rebecka LU (2015) ARKM23 20151
Historical Osteology
Classical archaeology and ancient history
Abstract
The now Swedish province of Scania has had a long history of violence and unrest, with several wars being fought on Scanian soil. Such tumultuous times must have impacted the common people and their living conditions, yet bioarchaeological research is lacking for post-medieval Scania and much of Sweden. By analysing a skeletal material from a 16-18th century semi-urban cemetery in Ängelholm, for which very few written records are available, I wish to shed more light on the living conditions of this time.

In 2011, 35 graves were excavated resulting in the retrieval of the bones from 33 individuals. Five of these were children, two adolescent, and 26 adult. Sexing was problematic due to taphonomic factors such as preservation and... (More)
The now Swedish province of Scania has had a long history of violence and unrest, with several wars being fought on Scanian soil. Such tumultuous times must have impacted the common people and their living conditions, yet bioarchaeological research is lacking for post-medieval Scania and much of Sweden. By analysing a skeletal material from a 16-18th century semi-urban cemetery in Ängelholm, for which very few written records are available, I wish to shed more light on the living conditions of this time.

In 2011, 35 graves were excavated resulting in the retrieval of the bones from 33 individuals. Five of these were children, two adolescent, and 26 adult. Sexing was problematic due to taphonomic factors such as preservation and representativity, but the bones could nevertheless be assessed for health indicators. As could be expected from a material such as this, the result yielded signs of infection, mild osteoarthritis, healed fractures, linear enamel hypoplasia, and especially in children – vitamin deficiencies. The tooth health was overall poor with a large amount of caries, and periodontitis in all six individuals with intact maxillae and/or mandibles. Compared to other materials from the same period, the individuals from Ängelholm seem to have been slightly taller than the average. This combined with the poor dental health, possible gout, and the graves’ proximity to the chapel, could suggest high social status. Despite the small sample size, this result adds another facet to the image of post-medieval living conditions in Scandinavia. It shows that all osteological samples merit analysis, and that extensive in-field documentation of human remains can add much valuable information. (Less)
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author
Stråhlén, Rebecka LU
supervisor
organization
course
ARKM23 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Scandinavia, palaeopathology, stature, socioeconomic status, taphonomy, 16th century, 17th century, 18th century
language
English
id
8001133
date added to LUP
2016-05-11 10:45:59
date last changed
2016-05-11 10:45:59
@misc{8001133,
  abstract     = {The now Swedish province of Scania has had a long history of violence and unrest, with several wars being fought on Scanian soil. Such tumultuous times must have impacted the common people and their living conditions, yet bioarchaeological research is lacking for post-medieval Scania and much of Sweden. By analysing a skeletal material from a 16-18th century semi-urban cemetery in Ängelholm, for which very few written records are available, I wish to shed more light on the living conditions of this time.

In 2011, 35 graves were excavated resulting in the retrieval of the bones from 33 individuals. Five of these were children, two adolescent, and 26 adult. Sexing was problematic due to taphonomic factors such as preservation and representativity, but the bones could nevertheless be assessed for health indicators. As could be expected from a material such as this, the result yielded signs of infection, mild osteoarthritis, healed fractures, linear enamel hypoplasia, and especially in children – vitamin deficiencies. The tooth health was overall poor with a large amount of caries, and periodontitis in all six individuals with intact maxillae and/or mandibles. Compared to other materials from the same period, the individuals from Ängelholm seem to have been slightly taller than the average. This combined with the poor dental health, possible gout, and the graves’ proximity to the chapel, could suggest high social status. Despite the small sample size, this result adds another facet to the image of post-medieval living conditions in Scandinavia. It shows that all osteological samples merit analysis, and that extensive in-field documentation of human remains can add much valuable information.},
  author       = {Stråhlén, Rebecka},
  keyword      = {Scandinavia,palaeopathology,stature,socioeconomic status,taphonomy,16th century,17th century,18th century},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Small town life in war-torn post-medieval Scania : a bioarchaeological study of human skeletal remains from 16-18th century Ängelholm, and a discussion of the merits of small osteological samples},
  year         = {2015},
}