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Title: A biocultural study of health in late medieval Ireland
Author: Drain, Deirdre Frances
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 2629
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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The primary aim of this study was to expand our knowledge of the health status of those living in late medieval Ireland. It sought to explore any potential differences in the health status that may have existed between those living in urban and rural environments, and between those likely to have belonged to either the Gaelic-Irish or Anglo-Norman cultural groups. A biocultural appraoch was employed in order to produce a more holistic comprehension of health status during this time. This study examined eight skeletal groups from the late medieval period in Ireland: three rural (Ballyhanna, Co. Donegal; Ardreigh, Co. Kildare; Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford) and five urban (Joymount CFIII, Kilroot & Market Place, Co. Antrim; St. Stephen's Hospital and the Green Building, Co. Dublin). The health of these groups was determined through the analysis of palaeodemographic data and the presence of selected palaeopathological lesions. These included dental enamel hypoplasia, cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, and for the first time in Irish populations, chronic maxillary sinusitis recorded using endoscopes. The findings of this study suggest that low prevalence rates of palaeopatholigical lesions do not necessarily reflect good health. The greater longevity despite high prevalence rates int the Anglo-Norman groups of Dublin and Carrickfergus (urban) and Ardreigh (rural/proto-urban) indicates that they may have shared some sort of genetic or cultural immunological buffer to physiological stressors that their rural Gaelic-Irish contemporaries in Ballyhanna may have lacked. Findings of this studies also suggest that environmental factors such as allergens, diet, and air salinity played a significant role in the development of chronic maxillary sinusitis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available