Osteobiographies of two peculiar women from early medieval Poland

Author(s): Matczak Magdalena

Year: 2015


The aim of this paper is to analyse the biographies of two peculiar women from early medieval Poland, one from Ostrow Lednicki and the other from Kaldus sites, both of which were the capitals of the Polish state.

This paper presents the most representative and interesting biographies of the ill and the disabled from these sites. The very best sample for such a study is the giant woman whose skeleton was discovered in the cemetery on the Ostrow Lednicki. Her height was 215,5 cm. Osteoma of skull and femur, extensive degenerative joint disease, scoliosis, fracture of tibia and Harris lines were identified on her skeleton. Her body was not buried carefully what might indicate her different treatment in the society. The other example is a female skeleton with paleopathological lesions that indicate leprosy which was discovered in Kaldus. The location of the grave and the grave goods indicate that the individual buried there could not have belonged to the lowest social layer. Although advanced stadium of leprosy with facies leonia could indicate otherwise.

Their osteobiographies are a bio-cultural history of their life to answer whether illnesses or disabilities could have affected the way people were treated in their societies.

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Cite this Record

Osteobiographies of two peculiar women from early medieval Poland. Matczak Magdalena. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397846)

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Spatial Coverage

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