What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older woman with a poorly preserved skeleton. Some enamel thinning (enamel defects, or hypoplasia) is present and there was also plaque and tooth decay and a possible infection around the roots of the left upper jaw molar teeth. Squatting facets are present on the shin bones (tibias), identified by the presence of small extensions to the joint surfaces at the bottom of the bones.
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! In common with many of the people buried at the Bowl Hole, dental hygiene appears to have been poor for this woman. Her enamel hypoplasia illustrates that in childhood she had a deficient diet or disease, and tooth decay indicates sugar in her diet. The squatting facets suggest squatting for long periods of time and this might have been related to specific activities she was involved in, such as in farming