The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Batle of the sexes: Identifying victims of domestic abuse in the archaeological record


Archaeology, Durham University

Saturday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Domestic abuse is one of the sources, if not the most common source of injury for women today. It is a problem that has existed for millennia. Domestic abuse was also a problem at the post-medieval communities of Coach Lane, Tyne and Wear, and Fewston, North Yorkshire. For a problem which affects the daily life and health of women, little work has been done to identify victims of domestic abuse in past populations. This thesis attempts to remedy that situation. Victims of domestic abuse are identified based on the examination of fracture patterns of the ribs, sternum, facial bones and long bones. The fracture data is the analyzed using Shannon Novak’s predictive formula. Three women were identified who were most probably the victims of domestic abuse. All three of these victims came from the urban Coach Lane site. The rural site of Fewston did not have any female individuals with evidence of fractures common to domestic abuse. This perhaps suggests that domestic violence was more common in urban environments than rural environments.

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