What this skeleton told us: Evidence
A 5-7 year old child with both milk and adult teeth present. Plaque is present on both the milk teeth and the erupted adult teeth. The (unfused) joint surface of the bottom end of the thigh bone (femur) shows possible osteochondritis dissecans, there is an area of bone destruction measuring 2cm x 1cm with smooth margins (healed) and a pitted interior surface. A similar but less extreme example is present on an unfused joint surface of a right ulna: a small circular lesion measuring 0.5cm x 0.5cm with rounded (healed) margins.
Interpretation of the evidence
Child mortality was likely high in Anglo-Saxon Britain. This child probably died from a communicable disease (infection). Osteochondritis dissecans today usually affects young boys/teenagers in sport (injury to the joint). The cartilage covering the joints (a ‘padding’ for the bones) and the underlying bone have been affected. The blood supply to the joint is compromised and this leads to death of the bone and the cartilage that protects it. This condition could have caused swelling and pain and restricted movement, and later in life this can lead to osteoarthritis.
Secret, problematical, wrong.