What this skeleton told us: Evidence
Older man. There is evidence for plaque on some teeth and tooth decay, the worst of which has led to infected tooth roots. There are some chips taken out of some of the teeth. Some degenerative joint changes to the left shoulder joint (humerus and scapula) are present and there may be evidence of gout in the bones of the right big toe.
Interpretation of the evidence
In common with many of the people buried at the Bowl Hole, dental hygiene appears to have been poor for this man. He could have had bad breath and must might have had pain caused by the tooth root infection. Tooth decay indicates sugar in his diet. The degenerative joint changes to the left shoulder may be related to a physical activity or the ageing process, and stiffness and pain in that region may have been a consequence. 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. The chips in his teeth could be an indication of using the teeth as tools.
To beat to death.