What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older man with a well-preserved skeleton and 166 cm tall (5 feet 5 inches). The teeth are in a poor condition with tooth decay, plaque, and an infected tooth root that drains into the left maxillary sinus (a cavity in the facial bones). There is also gum disease and evident tooth loss during life. Osteoarthritis is present in both left and right wrist joints and the joints of the right foot. A bone in the left fifth finger might have been broken (fracture), there is some indication of soft tissue trauma to the right lower leg bones (tibia and fibula), and there is a well healed fracture to the right 3rd rib.
Interpretation of the evidence
In Anglo-Saxon Britain, it is likely that if a man survived childhood, he could expect to live a fairly long life, at least into middle-age, provided he maintained good health and was not killed in battle. This older man was below average height for the period and died at a relatively advanced age, indicating that he was well-nourished and in good general health. However, we should remember that humans are very good at adapting to challenging times! In common with many of the people buried at the Bowl Hole, dental hygiene appears to have been poor for this man, and his decayed teeth suggest sugar in his diet. Osteoarthritis is not a surprising condition given his age and he might have had some associated swelling, pain and stiffness, particularly after resting or following physical activity. His healed fractures suggest survival of accidents during his life.
Own land or home.