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Title: Dental caries in medieval Britain (c. AD 450-1540) : temporal, geographical and contextual patterns
Author: Caffell, Anwen Cedifor
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2004
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This research examines the prevalence of dental caries in Early (c. AD 450-950), Middle (c. AD 950-1150) and Late Medieval Britain (c. AD 1150-1540). Eighty-eight data-sets (for 79 sites, 14,296 skeletons) were compiled from published and unpublished skeletal reports, but due to the limitations of the data available only 53 data-sets (for 46 sites, 9,136 skeletons) could be included in analysis. Sites were distributed across the country, but the majority were located in the south and east of England, and the Late Medieval sites were predominantly in urban areas. Caries prevalence in teeth from adults, males, and females are compared between: the main Medieval periods; chronological sub-divisions within the Early and Middle Medieval periods; different Late Medieval cemetery types (church, monastic, hospital and cathedral); non-monastic and monastic samples through time and within each period; different religious orders; coastal and inland sites; and five regions. The data are interpreted using a biocultural approach. A low caries prevalence was observed in Early and Middle Medieval monastic compared to non-monastic samples, but the Late Medieval monastic caries prevalence was significantly higher than both preceding monastic samples and the contemporary church sample; hospital sites had a particularly high caries prevalence. Early Medieval coastal sites had a low caries prevalence compared to inland sites, but the trend was reversed in the Late Medieval period; these data are discussed in relation to the consumption of marine fish. Changes in the pattern of sex differences in caries prevalence were observed. The limitations of the data are discussed, together with a critique of the quality of data available in currently available skeletal reports.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available