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St Martin's Uncovered: Investigations in the Churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Bull-Ring, Birmingham, 2001

St Martin's Uncovered: Investigations in the Churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Bull-Ring, Birmingham, 2001 (Hardback)

£48.00
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Synopsis

The archaeological excavations at St. Martin's churchyard, Birmingham uncovered 857 burials dating to the late 18th and the 19th century. The burials represent a cross-section of Birmingham's population during the peiod of the Industrial Revolution. Detailed anthropological analysis was carried out on a sample of 505 of the skeletons, investigating aspects of demography and health. Compared to the modern British population, the analysis revealed a high prevalence of metabolic diseases, such as scurvy and rickets. The results of these and other pathological conditions reveal that there were very real links between the prevalence of diseases and the socio-economic status of the individuals under investigation. This is most striking in the patterns of various types of trauma, which graphically illustrate the hard lives led by working-class women. The investigations also provide insights into burial practices and funerary trade, and documentary research on named individuals from the vaults provides information on family histories which complements and informs the anthropological and archaeological analyses. Throughout the report an attempt is made to place the findings in the context of their social, economic and religious background, in order to provide an integrated analysis. The report concludes with contrasting reconstructions of two funerals at St. Martin's, one of a wealthy iron merchant and the other of a butcher's wife.

by Megan Brickley and Simon Buteux with Josephine Adams and Richard Cherrington

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