Skip navigation
Skip navigation
Open Research will be down for maintenance between 8:00 and 8:15 am on Tuesday, December 1 2020.

Health in medieval and early modern Norway: a comparative analysis of the impact of social, economic and environmental change on skeletal remains

Cairns, Allison Mary

Description

The medieval and early modern periods in Norway and Europe were characterised by economic, social and environmental change. In particular, famines, epidemics, economic decline and climate change had effects on agriculture, population size, subsistence and health. The impact of environmental and social variables on human health has become increasingly prominent in the research literature. This research contributes to a broader understanding of the interactions...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCairns, Allison Mary
dc.date.accessioned2016-12-05T23:45:40Z
dc.date.available2016-12-05T23:45:40Z
dc.identifier.otherb4039394x
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/111076
dc.description.abstractThe medieval and early modern periods in Norway and Europe were characterised by economic, social and environmental change. In particular, famines, epidemics, economic decline and climate change had effects on agriculture, population size, subsistence and health. The impact of environmental and social variables on human health has become increasingly prominent in the research literature. This research contributes to a broader understanding of the interactions between human health and our environment by studying a skeletal sample from 12th-17th century Norway and comparing it to a number of other skeletal samples from medieval and early modern Europe. Utilising a sample of human skeletal remains from the Library site in Trondheim (Norway), and data on pathological lesions from 38 European sites, this thesis quantifies the effects of these factors. The Library site sample was assessed for sex; age; stature; a number of pathological lesions and abnormalities, including dental caries, alveolar defects of pathological origin (ADP), ante-mortem tooth loss (AMTL), cribra orbitalia (CO), linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH), and non-specific signs of infection (NSI); and evidence for specific infectious diseases, such as syphilis and leprosy. The impacts of sex, phase and age on the frequencies of pathological lesions in the Library site sample were analysed and compared to those frequencies from the other European samples. Examinations revealed a complex picture of health and wellbeing during this period. Results indicated significant differences between the sexes in a number of instances, with higher frequencies of dental caries, LEH and NSI in males, and significantly higher frequencies of AMTL and CO in females. Prominent differences in frequencies of dental caries and LEH were also observed across the phases. It is likely that the majority of these differences were linked to social or biological factors, such as diet, which may be indirectly linked to environmental factors. Examinations also found evidence for endemic syphilis and probable leprosy in the Library site sample. Comparisons of the skeletons from the Library site to the others from Europe demonstrated that the health of the population from Trondheim was comparatively good, with the exception of high levels of NSI. Groupings of the skeletal samples in clusters by site were also apparent, probably influenced by common economic, social and dietary pressures. Finally, statistical modelling of the data from all the samples revealed significant relationships between pathological lesions and social and environmental variables. In particular, diet and settlement type were found to have a number of significant relationships with pathological lesions. Specific diets and settlement types were also associated with significantly higher frequencies of certain lesions. Modelling relative to latitude resulted in a single significant relationship with stature, whilst analysis of other environmental variables resulted in few significant relationships with pathological lesions. Further statistical modelling with a greater sample size, the inclusion of more variables and known data from historical documentation could produce a greater number of significant results when assessing these relationships. However, the complexities of these relationships are perhaps better served by a multi-disciplinary approach like the one taken here, rather than statistical modelling in isolation.
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectmedieval Norway
dc.subjectmedieval Europe
dc.subjectpalaeoepidemiology
dc.subjectbioarchaeology
dc.subjectpalaeopathology
dc.subjectclimate change
dc.subjectmedieval health
dc.subjecthuman skeletal remains
dc.subjectNorway
dc.subjectpathological lesions
dc.subjectarchaeology
dc.subjecthistory of syphilis
dc.subjecthistory of leprosy
dc.subjectsocial change
dc.subjecteconomic change
dc.subjectenvironmental change
dc.subjectdiet
dc.subjectinfection
dc.subjectstatistical analysis
dc.subjectpalaeoclimatology
dc.subjectpaleoclimatology
dc.subjectpaleoepidemiology
dc.subjectpaleopathology
dc.subjectScandinavian history
dc.subjectMedieval Warm Period
dc.subjectLittle Ice Age
dc.subjectbubonic plague
dc.subjectsubsistence
dc.subjectTrondheim
dc.subjectNidaros
dc.subjecthuman adaptation
dc.subjecthuman health
dc.subjectosteology
dc.subjectdental health
dc.subjecturbanisation
dc.titleHealth in medieval and early modern Norway: a comparative analysis of the impact of social, economic and environmental change on skeletal remains
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorAttenborough, Robert
local.contributor.supervisorcontactra478@cam.ac.uk
dcterms.valid2016
local.description.notesauthor deposited 6/12/2016
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2015
local.contributor.affiliationSchool of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d7634d31d3f5
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

Download

File Description SizeFormat Image
Cairns Thesis 2016.pdf5.22 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  19 May 2020/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator