An astounding discovery has thrown light on how ordinary people in medieval England lived. A hospital graveyard from the 13th century was discovered by researchers beneath a college in Cambridge, England.
Here they found the remains of a man, dubbed Context 958. His skeletal remains were unearthed from among nearly 400 burials in the medieval hospital graveyard, which was discovered below the Old Divinity School of St. John's College. The excavations occurred from 2010 to 2012.
What Did The Researchers Discover?
It was revealed that these bodies are those of patients at the former hospital of St. John the Evangelist. The study was undertaken as a part of the "After the Plague" project, which looks to establish the lifestyle and characteristics of people who lived centuries ago.
After studying Context 958 thoroughly, Professor John Robb, the principal investigator, concluded that he was probably a patient of the hospital.
"Context 958 was probably an inmate of the Hospital of St. John, a charitable institution which provided food and a place to live for a dozen or so indigent townspeople," remarked Robb.
In an effort to learn what people in medieval England looked like, the research team digitally reconstructed the face Context 958 who lived almost 700 years ago. The reconstruction was done based on the skeletal remains of the man. They also analyzed his teeth and bones to get a clearer idea.
Researchers claim that skeletons like these provide a golden opportunity for learning, as well as understanding how people lived during the 13th century. This remarkable feat was achieved thanks to the enhanced capabilities of facial recognition technology, which has been developed in recent years.
The project is said to analyze the hospital burials not only statistically, but also biographically. The remains that have been dug up are on display in the Cambridge Science Festival of 2017.
Context 958: What Do We Know?
According to researchers, Context 958 was over 40 years old when he passed away. The subject's skeleton revealed a lot of wear and tear, likely due to his hard lifestyle.
The study also inferred that Context 958 probably had a rich diet of meat and fish, which the researchers believe point to his job. It was through his work that Context 958 was able to acquire such food items, when compared to the average poor person in medieval England.
The examination also revealed that he had most likely faced an unfortunate illness that limited his working abilities. It is likely that he did not have anyone to take care of him.
There are also hints suggesting that Context 958's tooth enamel stopped growing on two occasions during his youth. This implies that he suffered bouts of sickness, or it was possibly due to famine. Researchers surmised that Context 958 did not have a pleasant and comfortable life.
Check out the video below showing the facial reconstruction of Context 958.