ANTHROPOLOGIE
International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
 
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2019 (Vols. 1-57)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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Vol. 57, issue 3/2019 is in press.

World Archaeological Congres 9
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Full text of article
'Krenz-Niedbala M, 2009: Skeletal health and growth indicators in Medieval children from Ostrów Lednicki, Western-Central Poland. Anthropologie (Brno) 47, 3: 253-263'.
 
Abstract
In skeletal biology it is assumed that living conditions are reflected in the frequency and distribution of nonspecific stress indicators. Since children belong to the most vulnerable section of the population, child health and growth are treated as markers reflecting well-being of the whole society. Therefore, this study combines these two areas of research: health indicators and the growth of long bones, in order to reveal the quality of life in a sample of medieval preadults. A total of 194 skeletons aged 0-15 were examined from Ostrów Lednicki cemetery, western-central Poland, dated to 13th-15th AD. For comparison purposes, data on three other Polish sites were used: medieval Cedynia dated to10th-14th and Gruczno 12th-14th as well as late-medieval/early historical site S³aboszewo dating to 14th-17th. In the Middle Ages the examined site of Ostrów Lednicki played a high political and social role, as it was one of a few residences of the then Polish kings. Cedynia was also a quite privileged site, since it lied at an important trade route leading from the north to the south of Poland. Gruczno was a well-prospering stronghold and S³aboszewo represented a local rural society typical of late medieval Polish villages. Skeletal growth profiles of lower limb bones were constructed - mean diaphyseal lengths were plotted against yearly dental age estimates. The profiles of growth rate were also produced. For the evaluation of health status various skeletal markers were used: non-specific stress indicators - cribra orbitalia, Harris lines, dental enamel hypoplasia and porotic hyperostosis, indicators of non-specific infection - periostitis and endocranial new bone formation and also traces of diet-dependent diseases, scurvy and rickets. The prevalence of cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis and endocranial new bone formation proved markedly lower in the examined population than in the compared European samples, but the incidences of enamel hypoplasia and Harris lines were quite high. The most frequently affected individuals were from 6 to 15 years of age. The general pattern of femur growth was almost identical for all compared Polish samples, particularly in the period from 4 to 8 years of age. After the age of 8 the growth of femur in the examined population started to proceed at a higher level. The health and growth status of Ostrów preadults proved most similar to the Cedynia ones, while the preadults from S³aboszewo likely lived in the poorest conditions. On the basis of health indicators and skeletal growth profiles, Ostrów Lednicki preadults seem to be quite well adapted to their environment. In the Middle Ages Cedynia and, particularly, Ostrów Lednicki sites, because of their location, role in the Polish state and the social position of the inhabitants, provided more beneficial conditions for the development of children. The socio-economic status of Gruczno was definitely lower, and the lowest was of S³aboszewo, rural site, where people lived in rather unchanging poor environmental and cultural environment.
 
Keywords
Stress indicators- Medieval subadults - Skeletal growth profiles - Health status
 
 
 
 

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