An Exploration of the Demographics of Non-Adults in Medieval Hospital Cemeteries in England (AD 1050-1600).

Author(s): Esme Hookway

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "The Health and Welfare of Children in the Past" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

During the medieval period (AD 1050-1600) in England, hospitals were associated with the Church and most were governed by Church rule. Distinct types of hospitals were founded: leper hospitals, general infirmaries, and alms houses. These sites provided care, shelter, and spiritual nourishment for those in need. Many hospitals had admission policies, although the extent to which they were followed is debateable. Hospital foundation charters document the refusal of admission to pregnant women, whilst some hospitals were given funds specifically for the creation of wards for the care of pregnant women and children. Little is known of hospital inhabitants however archaeological excavations of medieval hospital cemetery sites and subsequent osteological analysis, is creating a rich source of information. The cemetery demographics revealed at some hospital sites suggest that high proportions of infants, or alternatively, juveniles and adolescents, were present at particular types of hospital. This presentation aims to highlight current research exploring the demographics of medieval hospital cemeteries, using osteology reports, archaeological finds, and historical documentation. It is hoped that this will enhance our understanding of the different types of hospitals in the medieval period and the people who used them.

Cite this Record

An Exploration of the Demographics of Non-Adults in Medieval Hospital Cemeteries in England (AD 1050-1600).. Esme Hookway. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450757)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22803