What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older man and 187 cm tall (6 feet 1 inch). The teeth show tooth decay, plaque, an infected tooth root and tooth loss during his lifetime. There is a broken rib on the right side, 8th or 9th, and three on the left side, 10th, 11th and 12th. They are all well healed. There is a soft tissue injury evident in both left lower leg bones (tibia and fibula). The neck of the right thigh bone (femur) is at an abnormal angle and the head is flattened, possibly as a result of the head slipping out of normal anatomical position during early life, or from a neck fracture that had healed. Degenerative joint disease is present in the vertebrae of the lower back and there is osteoarthritis in the bones of the right wrist and in the fingers of both hands (with some evidence also in the foot bones). This is a very large and robust man and a possible bone former.
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 male was very robust, significantly above average height for the period, and died at an advanced age. This indicates that he was fit, 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 poor for this man, and tooth decay indicates sugar in his diet. He had lost teeth, would have likely had gum disease and bad breath and might have experienced toothache. The combined evidence of injury indicates that this man might have been a victim of battle.
Honest, righteous. From sōð; truth, certainty and fæst; secure, firm.