Living cheek by jowl: The pathoecology of medieval York

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2014
Authors:G. King, Henderson C.
Journal:Quaternary International
Pagination:131 - 142
Date Published:08-2014

Medieval York was one of the largest and most important cities in England. The close confines of the city,the household and industrial waste, alongside the air and water pollution made this a city known for itspervasive smells, which at the time were considered to be a leading cause of disease. This paper aims topresent the environmental context for disease combined with the human osteological record to recon-struct the pathoecology of medieval York. Combining archaeological and historical data, we gain insightinto the interplay between medieval culture, disease, health, and the urban environment. It is clear thatlocal authorities were concerned about urban pollution, and historical evidence demonstrates that legalmeasures were taken to remove or regulate some of the perceived causes of pollution. There is ademonstrable trend towards improving environmental conditions in York between the 11th and mid-16th century. However, it is likely that the extant socio-environmental conditions continued tocontribute to morbidity, as evidenced by the prevalence of infection.

Short Title:Quaternary International
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