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The Impact of migration on the lives of city dwellers in the Middle Ages

Vicki Kristensen, Biological Anthropologist, MSc

 

It is a known fact that humans have migrated for many years. This has been established by looking at developments and influences in culture and artefacts alongside written sources describing migrations. However, migration can be hard to validate on an individual level and therefore the effects on the lives of the migrants can be difficult to study. By applying new methods to skeletal material from a medieval population, it will be possible to identify the migrants. Therefore, some of the effects on the migrating people can be defined. This will be examined through three studies: “Estimating the Patterns of Migration”, “Population Dynamics in Medieval Viborg” and “The Health Consequences of Migration”.

All skeletons excavated in and around the area of Viborg will be assessed with the latest methods for age/sex estimations and diseases such as tuberculosis, leprosy and syphilis together with any traumas.  The migrants will also be dated to study the changes in demography through the Middle Ages.

These studies will be strengthened by combining the methods and results from three different disciplines: chemistry, archaeology and biological anthropology.