THE ICE AGE WITH LITTLE EFFECT? EXPLORING STRESS IN THE DANISH BLACK FRIARS CEMETERY BEFORE AND AFTER THE TURN OF THE 14TH CENTURY
Scott, Amy B.
Hoppa, Robert D.
International Journal of Palaeopathology
The Little Ice Age, beginning in Europe in the 14th century, saw a period of climatic cooling and increased precipitation where food sources dwindled and famine became rampant, particularly in urban city centers. This study focuses on the Black Friars population (13th-17th centuries) to explore changes in stress in Denmark at the onset of the Little Ice Age. This study specifically explores the periods before and after the turn of the 14th century. Forty-five adult individuals were analyzed for cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, and enamel hypoplastic lesions. Results showed no statistically significant differences between the prevalence of these stress indicators between either time period; however, reduced age at death and increased lesion frequency was more prevalent post-1300. It was expected that increased stress would be evident in those buried after the turn of the 14th century due to the many challenges associated with wide spread climatic cooling; however, the reliance on nutrient rich marine resources and alms provisions may have helped lessen the burden of these stressors during this period of climatic hardship. Additionally, while famine characterized the beginning of the 14th century, agricultural rebound shortly after this period may have also influenced the stress levels observed.
cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, enamel hypoplastic lesions, diet, fish, alms