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Title: Urbanism and its impact on human health : a long-term study at Knossos, Crete
Author: Moles, Anna Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 7786
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis presents a study of how social, economic and political changes impacted on the everyday lives of the people of Knossos, in terms of their health and diet, during the Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique periods. Knossos, in north-central Crete, was an important site in Aegean and Mediterranean networks throughout this timespan, though the city experienced cycles of urban development and decline. As an extensively studied and well-documented site, it provides a unique opportunity to study long-term phenomena associated with its varied past. The present osteological research is contextualised using previous work on material culture and textual sources. The skeletal material is mostly fragmentary and commingled, its poor condition exacerbated by excavation techniques and storage conditions. It was necessary to develop a methodology to work around these limitations. A palaeoepidemiological approach was adopted and recording by element rather than individual was necessary. A selection of skeletal and isotopic analyses was conducted in order to investigate the demography, diet, development, and activity documented by the assemblage, as broad indicators of health. The results of this systematic study demonstrate that changes were not only manifested in the political administration, cultural tastes, and urban fabric of the city but also filtered down into the everyday lives of people, affecting their fundamental wellbeing and way of life. Changes occur in diet, activity and living conditions between the Hellenistic and Roman assemblages, and an inactive elite class appears to emerge. The later transition into Late Antiquity is a more gradual socio-economic change and this is also reflected in the less substantial differences in health and lifestyle indicators. However, there is a general picture of an improvement in living conditions alongside the reduction in population size, with less pressure on food resources and suggestion of a less hierarchical society.
Supervisor: Hillson, S. ; Whitelaw, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available