What doesnt kill you: Early life health and nutrition in early Anglo Saxon East Anglia
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AbstractEarly life is associated with high vulnerability to morbidity and mortality - risks which can be reduced in infancy and early childhood through strategically high levels of parental or alloparental investment, particularly in the case of maternal breastfeeding. Recent evidence has supported links between early-life health and care patterns and long-term population health. This growing body of research regarding the broader impacts of infant-parent interactions transcends a traditional partitioning of research into discrete life stages. It also highlights implications of childhood data for our understanding of population health and behaviour. Skeletal and environmental data indicate that the 5-7th century cemeteries at Littleport and Edix Hill (Barrington A), Cambridgeshire represent populations of similar material culture but contrasting environments and health. The high prevalence of skeletal stress markers at Littleport indicates a community coping with unusual levels of biological stress, potentially a consequence of endemic malaria present in the marshy Fen environs. In contrast, Edix Hill was an inland site which exhibited lower skeletal stress marker prevalence comparable to wider British data for the early medieval period. Early life patterns relating to diet and physiological stress at Littleport (n=5) and Edix Hill (n=8) were investigated through analyses of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from incrementally-sampled deciduous dentine. Meaningful variation in isotopic values within and between populations was observed, and should be a focus of future interdisciplinary archaeological childhood studies.
CitationKendall EJ, Millard A, Beaumont J et al (2020) What doesn't kill you: Early life health and nutrition in early Anglo-Saxon East Anglia. In: Gowland R and Halcrow S (Eds.) The mother-infant nexus in anthropology. Switzerland: Springer Nature. 103-123.
Link to publisher’s versionhttps://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27393-4
NotesThe full-text of this article will be released for public view at the end of the publisher embargo on 01 Nov 2021.
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