Tuberculosis, Cancer & Gout: Archaeolgical evidence of disease from Medieval Cambridge

Darwin College Sciences Group
Dr Jenna Dittmar, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
The Richard King Room, Darwin College
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 13:10 to 14:00

The presence of disease in past populations was affected by numerous factors, many of which were not uniformly experienced by members of society. By considering the heterogeneous nature of the inhabitants of Medieval towns, a more nuanced picture of how diseases affected societies can be created. The human skeletal remains from five burial sites located in and around Cambridge were analysed to discover how the inhabitants of that unique urban environment were affected by disease. In addition to substantial evidence of infectious disease, a surprisingly high prevalence rate of gout was identified, as were multiple cases of cancer. The aim of this talk is to contextualise these findings by exploring the factors that contributed to the presence of these diseases within Cambridge.

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