What this skeleton told us: Evidence
An older man and 179 cm tall (5 feet 10 inches). Dental plaque, tooth loss in life, an infected tooth root, thinning of the dental enamel (enamel defects, or hypoplasia), and gum disease were all present. Changes in the fingers of the left hand are likely the result of joint disease (arthritis).
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 of above-average height for this period and died at a relatively advanced age, indicating that he was likely well-nourished and in very 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 lacking in the life of this older man. He had lost teeth, and had gum disease and (likely) bad breath, and the enamel defects suggest he had a dietary deficiency or disease in childhood. The arthritis in his fingers could have caused joint pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulties in using the hand.
February. Literally “mud-month” from sol; mud and mōna; moon.