Objective: The study of health-related care provision in archeology gives important indications on the culture and community organization of past populations. This study aims to assess the health status of the skeletal assemblage recovered from the burial site of St. Biagio (Ravenna, 17th-18th Centuries); next, we identified likely instances of need for and receipt of caregiving in response to the condition, to examine evidence of community attitudes toward disease and disability. Materials and methods: The skeletal assemblage is composed of 133 individuals in a generally good state of preservation. Sex and age-at-death were estimated through classical anthropological methods. Health status was inferred through the biological index of frailty (BIF) and paleopathological analysis was performed through macroscopic and radiographic investigations. The "bioarcheology of care" approach was applied to individuals who showed evidence of impairment and disability. Results: The skeletal assemblage of St. Biagio was equally represented by males and females (50% males), with a higher percentage of adults (83.4%) than subadults (10.5%), and this is reflected in the high life expectancy at birth (40.3 years). No significant differences in health status emerged between age groups and sexes, with a generally high percentage of joint diseases, antemortem trauma, and infectious diseases. Evidence of care and compassion was found in some individuals with a high degree of impairment or disability, as in the case of probable Angelman syndrome. Discussion: This study provided important insights into the biological and social aspects of an Early Modern population in Northern Italy, showing that people with functional and/or visible abnormalities were probably cared for in life and were presumably considered full members of the society.

“Heal the sick”: Health status and caregiving during the 17th–18th century in Northern Italy (St. Biagio cemetery, Ravenna)

De Luca, Federica
Primo
;
Pasini, Alba
Secondo
;
Scianò, Filippo;Zedda, Nicoletta;Masotti, Sabrina;Bramanti, Barbara;Gualdi‐Russo, Emanuela
Penultimo
;
Rinaldo, Natascia
Ultimo
2024

Abstract

Objective: The study of health-related care provision in archeology gives important indications on the culture and community organization of past populations. This study aims to assess the health status of the skeletal assemblage recovered from the burial site of St. Biagio (Ravenna, 17th-18th Centuries); next, we identified likely instances of need for and receipt of caregiving in response to the condition, to examine evidence of community attitudes toward disease and disability. Materials and methods: The skeletal assemblage is composed of 133 individuals in a generally good state of preservation. Sex and age-at-death were estimated through classical anthropological methods. Health status was inferred through the biological index of frailty (BIF) and paleopathological analysis was performed through macroscopic and radiographic investigations. The "bioarcheology of care" approach was applied to individuals who showed evidence of impairment and disability. Results: The skeletal assemblage of St. Biagio was equally represented by males and females (50% males), with a higher percentage of adults (83.4%) than subadults (10.5%), and this is reflected in the high life expectancy at birth (40.3 years). No significant differences in health status emerged between age groups and sexes, with a generally high percentage of joint diseases, antemortem trauma, and infectious diseases. Evidence of care and compassion was found in some individuals with a high degree of impairment or disability, as in the case of probable Angelman syndrome. Discussion: This study provided important insights into the biological and social aspects of an Early Modern population in Northern Italy, showing that people with functional and/or visible abnormalities were probably cared for in life and were presumably considered full members of the society.
2024
De Luca, Federica; Pasini, Alba; Scianò, Filippo; Zedda, Nicoletta; Guarnieri, Chiara; Masotti, Sabrina; Bramanti, Barbara; Gualdi‐russo, Emanuela; Rinaldo, Natascia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2535710
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