Sharp Force Trauma Death in a Young Individual From Medieval Gloucester

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Abstract

The authors of the present work evaluate the trauma observed on the skeletal remains of an individual from medieval Gloucester and reconstruct the events that led to his death. The almost complete skeleton was recovered from the cemetery of St Owen and dates to the late medieval period. Several methods were used to determine the sex and age of the individual. The anthropological examination showed that the remains belonged to a young male, between the ages of 17 and 19 years. The young man also had antemortem pathologies that were related to his diet and lifestyle, as he appears to have had iron-deficiency anemia and Schmorl nodes. The trauma observed on the remains consisted of 3 cut marks located on the cranium, left radius, and right scapula. The cuts seem to have been inflicted by a heavy weapon, such as a sword. The trauma pattern observed is consistent with defensive action, and the fact that this skeleton was the only one in the collection that has evidence of trauma suggests that this was a case of interpersonal violence.

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