What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older man and 184 cm tall (6 feet 5 inches). The teeth had plaque on them, and there was tooth decay and an infected tooth root. There is also a well healed sharp injury in the area of the right eye socket, 42mm long by 3mm wide and 1mm deep with a U-shaped profile. This lesion was not deep enough to affect the brain. There is a complete fracture (break) of the back part of a vertebra (neural arch, or the bony structure that arises from the back of the vertebral body and encloses the spinal cord (called spondylolysis), it is a long-standing injury. Gout has affected the left big toe bone on its joint surface.
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 of above-average height for this 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 a problem for this man. He could have had bad breath and may have been in pain from repeated infection in his teeth. His decayed teeth can be linked to sugar in his diet. He suffered from gout in his left toe, which is indicative of a rich diet (especially alcohol and red meat). He would likely have experienced sudden attacks of severe pain in his toe joints, and his toe would have been swollen and felt hot and very tender, to the point of being unable to bear anything touching it. There is a complete fracture of the back of one vertebra from a long-standing injury. The damage to the eye socket could have resulted from a sharp bladed weapon and he might have been blinded in that eye. Perhaps this man is an old battle-scarred warrior.
Dolphin. Literally “sea-pig”. Though Delfin was also in use, a word whose meaning and use stretches back over 3,000 years to ancient Greece; "delphinos".