Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The battle of Towton: Nasty, brutish and not that short | The Economist

The battle of Towton: Nasty, brutish and not that short | The Economist:

"The men whose skeletons were unearthed at Towton were a diverse lot. Their ages at time of death ranged widely. It is easier to be precise about younger individuals, thanks to the predictable ways in which teeth develop and bones fuse during a person’s adolescence and 20s. The youngest occupants of the mass grave were around 17 years old; the oldest, Towton 16, was around 50. Their stature varies greatly, too. The men’s height ranges from 1.5-1.8 metres (just under five feet to just under six feet), with the older men, almost certainly experienced soldiers, being the tallest.

This physical diversity is unsurprising, given the disparate types of men who took the battlefield that day. Yet as a group the Towton men are a reminder that images of the medieval male as a homunculus with rotten teeth are well wide of the mark. The average medieval man stood 1.71 metres tall—just four centimetres shorter than a modern Englishman. “It is only in the Victorian era that people started to get very stunted,” says Mr Kn├╝sel. Their health was generally good. Dietary isotopes from their knee-bones show that they ate pretty healthily. Sugar was not widely available at that time, so their teeth were strong, too."
found this through Phryrangula
1.5m = 4'11"
1.8m = 5'10"
1.7m = 5'6" Average




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