What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older woman and 156 cm tall (5 feet 1 inch). Osteoarthritis is present in the spine. Many of the teeth have been lost in life and in most cases the sockets have closed over suggesting the loss happened some considerable time before death. Dental plaque, infected tooth roots and thinning of the dental enamel (enamel defects, or hypoplasia) are also seen. Some squatting facets are present, seen at the ends of both shin bones (tibias) and identified by the presence of small extensions to the joint surface.
Interpretation of the evidence
In Anglo-Saxon Britain, if a woman survived childhood, she could be expected to live into her middle forties or beyond, provided she maintained good health and did not die during pregnancy or childbirth. This female was significantly below average height for this period, and died at a relatively good age, indicating that she was well-nourished and in good general health. However, we should remember that humans are very good at adapting to challenging times! Her enamel hypoplasia illustrates that in childhood she had a deficient diet or disease. The squatting facets suggest squatting for long periods of time and this might have been related to specific activities she was involved in, such as in farming.
The Seven: The local woman
This tall and well-fed woman was about 65, and had spent her whole life in Bamburgh. Perhaps she helped run the kitchens or manage the servants at the royal palace.
Joy, ecstasy, music.