What this skeleton told us: Evidence
A young woman around 25 to 30 years of age and 167 cm tall (5 feet 6 inches). Tooth decay on the lower front teeth is seen as well as plaque and some enamel thinning (enamel defects, or hypoplasia) affecting some teeth. There are chips taken out of the surfaces of the upper incisor teeth. The main bone of the left and right big toes both have shallow destructive lesions, but only on one surface of the joint.
Interpretation of the evidence
In Anglo-Saxon Britain, survived childhood, she could be expected to live into middle-age, provided she maintained good health and did not die during pregnancy or childbirth. However, we should remember that humans are very good at adapting to challenging times! This young woman is considerably above average height, indicating she was well-nourished and in good general health. In common with many of the people buried at the Bowl Hole, Dental hygiene appears to have been poor for this woman, and she could have experienced toothache. Her enamel hypoplasia illustrates that in childhood she had a deficient diet or disease, and the tooth decay indicates sugar in her diet. The chips on her incisors may indicate the repeated clasping of an instrument like a needle between her teeth, and she may have habitually engaged in weaving or needlework. The lesions on her big toes are typical of gout, which is indicative of a rich diet. She suffered from gout in his big toes, which is indicative of a rich diet (especially alcohol and red meat). She would likely have experienced sudden attacks of severe pain in his toe joints, and his toe would have been swollen and felt hot and very tender, to the point of being unable to bear anything touching it. There are no skeletal clues for why she died at a relatively young age, but in Anglo-Saxon many women probably died during pregnancy or childbirth, often dying with the child, or shortly afterwards from childbed fever (postpartum infection).