What this skeleton told us: Evidence
A young man of around 20 to 30 years of age and 177 cm tall (6 feet). A benign slow-growing bone tumour that does not spread (button osteoma), was present on the left side of this man’s skull (9mm in diameter). There is also possibly a fracture of the skull on its left side and some evidence of compression, with broken off bone fragments. The injury, if correctly identified as such, was not healed at the time of death. Tooth decay and plaque are evident on the teeth.
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 man was above average height for this period, and this indicates 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, his dental hygiene appears to have been poor, and his decayed teeth may be related to sugar in his diet. His benign tumour would have been of no consequence to him. The skull fracture could have caused bleeding inside the skull and pressure on the brain and been the cause of his early death.
Magic or spell work. From lāc sacrifice or offering.