Understanding Violence in Medieval London: An Examination of the Skeletal Evidence

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It is often taken for granted that the medieval period was a particularly violent time. But how accurate is this stereotype? This project addressed this question by identifying and interpreting the patterns and prevalence of trauma, particularly that attributed to violence, in human remains from medieval London. In total, data from six distinct sites in and around the City of London, comprising over 750 skeletons, were analysed by Kathryn for signs of violence. The collections include the three parish cemeteries of St Nicholas Shambles (GPO75), St Lawrence Jewry (GYE92), and St Benet Sherehog (ONE94), the two religious houses, Blackfriars (PIC87) and St Mary Graces (MIN85), and the early inmate cemetery from the medieval hospital and religious house of St Mary Spital (NRT85). Additionally, the raw data from 5,400 skeletons interred in the main cemetery of St Mary Spital (SRP98) were also included in the overall data, to help create a more complete picture of violence in medieval London. The results were examined using a biocultural approach that combined the archaeological evidence with the historical record.

Kathryn is continuing to publish and conduct supplementary research on this project.