The 89th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2020)

Ill at Home vs Hospital: Survival and Physiological Stress Comparison of Medieval England


School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent

April 16, 2020 , Platinum Ballroom Add to calendar

During the 11th to 16th centuries, catastrophic events and adverse environmental conditions caused people in England to become ill. Lower status individuals who became ill were cared for by family or sought out a hospital. This study compared age-at-death, biological sex, and linear enamel hypoplasia between individuals associated with a hospital and almshouse from Chichester and lay cemeteries from Gloucester and Pontefract, England. Linear enamel hypoplasia was analyzed to identify the relationship between childhood stress and age-at-death of individuals from St. James and St. Mary Magdalene Hospital (n=34) and Almshouse (n=56), Box Lane (n=34), and Blackfriars (n=56) cemeteries. The results show no significant differences were found between the age distributions of individuals from the hospital and lay cemeteries (P > 0.05) and age distributions and linear enamel hypoplasia (P > 0.05). Also, the survival curves display that the individuals from the hospital were more likely to survive before the age of 30, whereas, lay males with linear enamel hypoplasia were more likely to survive compared to lay and hospital females and hospital males. This study provides preliminary insight on demographic comparison of individuals being ill under the care of family and hospitals during the medieval period in England.

Slides/Poster (pdf)