THE SUBTLETIES OF STRESS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SKELETAL LESIONS BETWEEN THE MEDIEVAL AND POST-MEDIEVAL BLACK FRIARS CEMETERY POPULATION (13TH TO 17TH CENTURIES)
Scott, Amy B.
Hoppa, Robert D.
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The study of stress from an osteological perspective is challenging as we use skeletal remains to explore the lived experience and patterns of health. As an intricate overlap of multiple biological processes, the stress response system guides our understanding of how and why stress manifests as it does. Using traditional osteological methods of stress analysis, specifically cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis and enamel hypoplastic lesions, this study focuses on the relationship between these indicators to explore differences in stress manifestation in the medieval and post-medieval periods in Denmark. Using the Black Friars cemetery population (13th – 17th centuries), results show an increase in stress from the medieval into the post-medieval period likely dictated by the strains of urbanism on a predominantly poor population. Additionally, a younger mean age at death was noted when multiple mild-moderate indicators were present as compared to one severe indicator being present. A recognition of the intricacies of the stress response effectively aids in the exploration of stress manifestation and the relationship, if any, between these well-used skeletal indicators.