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Bioarchaeology of a demographic crisis in the baroque phase of the cemetery St. Benedict in Prague- a multidisciplinary approach

Author(s): Jaroslav Bruzek ; Petr Velemínský ; Kevin Salesse ; Dominique Castex ; Pascal Sellier

Year: 2015

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The new evaluation of the skeletal remains and the archaeological documentation from the Saint Benedict cemetery in Prague is a unique opportunity for a bioarchaeological analysis of past mortality crises. The rescue archaeological excavation (held in 1971) and the first osteological analysis (Hanakova et al., 1988) showed in the baroque phase V (1635-1786) the presence of several multiple graves (approximately 30 with 190 individuals) and also many other simultaneous individual burials concerning all age classes (N= 272). The initial hypothesis of multiple graves connected to the plague epidemic in 1680 AD, when the cemetery and the buildings belonged to the Premonstratensian order, has been refuted. This presentation informs on results of a multidisciplinary study in identity of the people buried in multiple individual graves after 1635 AD. More specifically, the investigations of historical events, the osteobiographic indicators from the skeletons, the stable isotope analysis and the direct radiocarbon dating are used to elucidate the origin of the buried individuals.

The study highlights the pitfall of considering all buried individuals as one unit for further anthropological analysis as well as bioarchaeological interpretation. This contribution was supported by the project Barrande – Mobility, 7AMB13FR012.

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Bioarchaeology of a demographic crisis in the baroque phase of the cemetery St. Benedict in Prague- a multidisciplinary approach. Jaroslav Bruzek, Kevin Salesse, Petr Velemínský, Pascal Sellier, Dominique Castex. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397719)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America