Childhood health as reflected in adult urban and rural samples from medieval Denmark

C. Primeau*, P. Homøe, N. Lynnerup

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review


This study examines the evidence of three skeletal markers relating to childhood health that leave permanent observable changes in the adult skeleton. Two are well known to paleopathology, namely Harris lines (HL) and linear enamel hypoplasia (LEH). The third skeletal marker is less commonly used; the permanent changes in the temporal bones, induced by chronic or recurrent infectious middle ear disease (IMED) in childhood. A total of 291 adult skeletons from an urban (n = 109) and a rural (n = 182) cemetery, from the Danish medieval period (1050–1536 CE) were included. The markers were examined for their co-occurrence, and differences between the two samples. No statistically significant difference for the three skeletal markers between the two samples was found. A trend was nevertheless apparent, with greater frequencies for all three skeletal markers for the urban population. A statistically significant relationship was found only between IMED and HL. This positive relation was very low (rɸ = 0.307, 0.275) and may be considered non-existent. The lack of co-occurrence is interpreted as if an individual was exposed to conditions that could cause the osteological expression of all three markers this could be a life-threatening health condition, during developing years.

Sider (fra-til)6-16
Antal sider11
Udgave nummer1-2
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2018


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