Table of Contents
Journal of Anthropology
Volume 2013, Article ID 959472, 11 pages
Research Article

Children of the Golden Minster: St. Oswald’s Priory and the Impact of Industrialisation on Child Health

Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AB, UK

Received 28 February 2013; Revised 1 May 2013; Accepted 13 May 2013

Academic Editor: Maryna Steyn

Copyright © 2013 Mary E. Lewis. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study explores the disease experience of children buried within the cemetery of St. Oswald’s Priory, Gloucester from AD1153 to 1857. Evidence for ages-at-death, infant mortality, and the prevalence of stress indicators, trauma, and pathology were compared between the early and postmedieval periods. The skeletal remains of these children provide evidence for child health spanning the economic expansion of Gloucester at St. Oswald’s, from a mostly rural parish to a graveyard catering for families from the poorer northern part of the town and the workhouse. Results showed that the children from the postmedieval period in Gloucester suffered higher rates of dental caries (38%) and congenital conditions (17.3%) than their counterparts from the early and later medieval period. This paper serves to highlight the value of nonadult skeletal material in the interpretation of past human health in transitional societies and illustrates the wide variety of pathological conditions that can be observed in nonadult skeletons.