Famine, the Black Death, and health in fourteenth-century London

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Daniel Antoine; Simon Hillson;

In the first half of the fourteenth century two catastrophes struck the population of Europe: the Great Famine and the Black Death. The latter has been extensively studied, but much less is known about the biological effects of the Great Famine. A large assemblage of sk... View more
  • References (14)
    14 references, page 1 of 2

    1. See P. Ziegler, The Black Death (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1 970) and D. Hawkins, "The Black Death and the new London cemeteries of 1 348", Antiquity 64, 637 -42 , 1 990.

    2 . The project is fundedby aWellcome Trust Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Bioarchaeology held by one of us (D. A.). We wish to thankthe Museum ofLondon,and in p articular John Shepherd and Bill White ofthe Museum's Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, for allowing us access to the Royal Mint skeletal assemblage. Other participants in the project are Professor Derek Keene [Institute of Historical Research, University of London), Professor Chris Dean (Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, UCL), and Gustav Milne and Professor TonyWaldron (Institute of Archaeology, UCL).

    3. See pp. 64-5 in R. D. Horrox, The Black Death (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994).

    4 . See detailed discussions in S . Scott & C. J. Duncan,Return ofthe BlackDeath(Wiley: Chichester, 2004)and The biolo gy of plagues: evidence from historical populations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)a;nd S. K. CohnJr, The Black Deathtran sformed: disease and culture in early Renaissance Europe (London: Arnold, 2003)A. review of the debate surrounding the cause of the Black Death epidemic can also be found in S. Porter, "An historical whodunit", Biologist 5 1 , 109-1 1 3 , 2004.

    5. See G. Karlsson, "Plague without rats: the case offifteenth-centuryIceland", Journal ofMedieval Histor y 22, 263-84, 1 996.

    6. See Scott & Duncan 2004(n. 4 above).

    7. Personal communication from Derek Keene, and see B. M. S. Campbell, J. A. Galloway,D. Keene, M. Murphy, A medievalcapital and its grain supply:agrarian pro duction and distrib ution in the London region c. 1 3 0 0 (Historical Geography Research Series 30,Institute of British Geographers, London, 1993).

    8. W. C. Jordan, The Gre atFamin e: northern Europe in the early fourteenth century [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1 996).

    9 . The ageing of an adult skeleton is usually based on the degenerative age-related changes that occur onparts ofthe skeleton where two bones come into contact (joint surfaces). The most reliable areas are found on the hip bone andthe changes are assigned scores. Scores are combined to provide an approximateage-at-death within a 5-or 1 0-yearrange. See J. E. Buikstra & D. H. Ubelaker, Standards for data collection from human skeletalre mains (ArkansasArcheological Survey Research Series 44, Fayettevi lle, 1 994).

    10.The permanent teeth develop in a sequence, starting just before birth with the first molars, followed by incisors, canines, second molars and premolars, and finallythe third molars (wisdom teeth ) . Several teeth, with overlapping periods of formation, are required to investigate growth over several years.

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