What this skeleton told us: Evidence
A young woman around 20 to 25 years of age and 154 cm tall (5 feet 1 inch). Some gum disease was present, plaque on the teeth, and an abnormal dental wear pattern. Cribra orbitalia is present (small holes in the eye sockets). There are numerous areas of new bone formation on the bones. Osteophytes are present on the margins of the cuneiform bones of the left foot, possibly resulting from soft tissue injury.
Interpretation of the evidence
In Anglo-Saxon Britain, if a woman 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 was well below average height – which may be due to a genetic predisposition or poor childhood health or nutrition. She was in poor health when she died. Cribra orbitalia is generally accepted to be evidence of anaemia, which can be caused by many things, such as infection, lack of iron in the diet, loss of blood causing anaemia that is often related to iron deficiency. However, together with the new bone formation on a number of bones, including the facial bones, this might be evidence for scurvy. In common with many of the people buried at the Bowl Hole, dental hygiene appears to have been poor for her.
Spine or ridge.