What this skeleton told us: Evidence
A 5-7 year old child with both milk and adult teeth present. Tooth decay is seen in the milk teeth and plaque on both milk and adult teeth. The left thigh bone (femur) shows some distortion that may be the result of a greenstick fracture (broken leg).
Interpretation of the evidence
Death in childhood was likely high in Anglo-Saxon Britain and this child probably died from a communicable disease (infection). Tooth decay indicates sugar in his/her diet. Had this child survived into adulthood, he or she may then have developed the dental problems that so many of the skeletons from the Bowl Hole display. A greenstick fracture is a fracture in the soft bones of an infant or child. The bone bends and cracks instead of breaking completely into two separate pieces. It is so-called because it can look like a fresh branch or twig of a tree that has broken on only one side. When the fracture occurred, the child’s thigh would have been bruised and likely painful, and he/she could have lost a lot of blood. Not treated in the way we would see today, the bone would likely not have healed as well as could be expected.