Victorian Bones and DiseasesApril 12, 2011 About my museum job, Archaeology, Blogs, Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, MOLA Osteology
Bring the whole family to Museum of London Docklands on Friday 15th April 2011 to learn about Victorian death and disease and meet those involved in the analysis of the burial grounds and skeletal populations from this era.
The Victorian period was a time of great change. In London, the expanding city saw massive population growth and the development of new industries that were to alter the shape of the city forever.
With this change came an increased pressure on resources, leading to poor sanitation, overcrowded living conditions, increased pollution, poor diet and working conditions. This was to have a significant affect upon human health and life expectancy, and such squalid conditions would have contributed to the rise of disease.
Epidemics of smallpox, typhoid and cholera spread through the city and infectious diseases such as venereal syphilis and tuberculosis were rife. Rickets, scurvy, dental disease and many other conditions afflicted the population. The London Bills of Mortality record that approximately 40% of deaths occurred in children aged five or below. In the early nineteenth century, almost half the population would not live past their twentieth birthday.
The excavation and analysis of human skeletons from this period can help us to examine and better understand this changing and diverse population. How the growing city affected the living and working lives of the rich and poor, and how the affects of poverty, deprivation and disease can be seen in the bones of those who lived during this time.
As part of a programme of events run over Easter, there will be an opportunity to discuss and observe the way diseases affected the bones of people from the Victorian era and learn how the study of a skeleton can provide information about age, sex, lifestyle, diet and illness.
Two sessions will be help at the Museum of London Docklands on Friday 15th April 2011: 11:30 – 12: 15 and 13:30 – 14:15
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