Health and disease in early Lund, Osteo-pathologic studies of 3,305 individuals buried in the cemetery area of Lund 990-1536

Caroline Arcini

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The purpose of this thesis is to characterize the health status of the population in early Lund. This is pursued by an osteological analysis of 3.305 individuals fron three time periods: c. 990-1100, c. 1100-1300 and c. 1300-1536. The individuals derives from cemeteries connected to four neighbouring churches, where one is the sucessor of the other (Trinitatis). One cemetery (Kattesund) is by and large completely excavated. This represents a situation not common to other excavations of Medieval cemeteries in Scandinavia. The following osteological parameters were studied: age, sex, stature, oral health, joint diseases, infections and trauma. The age distribution is more or less the same between the time periods. There is a tendency of a higher proportion of children found during the later periods. There is no significan difference with respect to stature between time periods. Further, no difference in stature could be substantiated with respect to the position of the graves, a dimension of the material that is known to correlate with socio-economic position of the deceased. Oral health detoriated during the last time period. The frequency of joint diseases, i.e. osteoarthritis did not change over time. Leprosy represents the most common form of specific infection beween 990-1100. At this time there were no separate leprosy hospital in Lund, and the lepers were buried in the periphery of the common cemeteries. Treponematosis could be identified only during the time period 1300-1536, and this in connection with the last buried individuals. Unspecific infections could be found with respect to all time periods. Periostitis was more common among the males during the earliest time period. Osteomyelitis, however, increased over time, being more common among the males. The frequency of traumatic lesions increased over time with regard to the male population of Lund, not the females. As there is no apparent covariation with regard to the osteological parameters, there is no basis for the conclusion that the health changes chronologically. Neither do we substantiate a detoriation nor an improvment from 990 to 1536 with regard to skeletal health. However, the proportion of subadults increases as we approach the later period 100-1536. This result is interpreted as an increased load of infectious diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Social Medicine and Global Health
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 Feb 26
Place of PublicationLund
ISBN (Print)91-628-3368-5
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1999-02-26
Time: 09:00
Place: Lund, Kulturen

External reviewer(s)

Name: Dieppe, Paul
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: [unknown]


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • Social medicine
  • infections and trauma
  • joint disease
  • oral health
  • stature
  • medieval
  • physical anthropology
  • paleopathology
  • Socialmedicin
  • samhällsmedicin


Dive into the research topics of 'Health and disease in early Lund, Osteo-pathologic studies of 3,305 individuals buried in the cemetery area of Lund 990-1536'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this