”Occupational injuries and health in different social classes during the early modern period - based on skeletons”

Project: Dissertation

Project Details

Layman's description

What story do the written sources tell us about health and labor in Sweden during the early modern period? And what can we deduce from the skeletons? The thesis will focus on these issues by comparing skeletons of an early industrial environment (Sala silver mine in Västmanland) and a high status environment (Uppsala Cathedral in Uppland).

Up till now, studies of skeletal material from the early modern period in Swedish osteological research have not been made to any significant degree. And it has a natural explanation - this type of material seldom pops up in Rescue archeology, because cemeteries are rarely objects of exploitation to any great extent.
By chance, my former employer SAU (in Uppsala) 2003 got a request to investigate the cemetery of Sala silver mine in order to locate a church building. After the preliminary investigation in 2004, we found that the skeletons were fairly well preserved. 2007 started the project Health status, work injuries and heavy metal poisoning in the 16th–17th century Sweden. 2008-09 and 2011 excavations of the cemetery took place and more than 100 skeletons were picked up.
The main purpose of the thesis is to examine how the social environment has affected human health, and how archaeological and osteological data comply with contemporary written sources. The materials consist, among others, of the skeletons from an early industrial environment (Sala silver mine, Västmanland) and from Uppsala Cathedral. In particular, diet, signs of malnutrition and other diseases, occupational and acute injury (trauma) should be investigated through osteological analysis. The osteological analysis is complemented by isotopic analyzes of mainly nitrogen and carbon for studies of diet and with analyzes of heavy metals in the skeletons.
Effective start/end date2011/09/01 → …