Articulated Human Skeletal Remains from Nelme’s Paddock, Berkeley, Gloucestershire

Annsofie Witkin, Stuart J Prior

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Human skeletal remains were discovered during the field seasons of 2007-2010 at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire and excavated as part of the Berkeley Castle Research Project, University of Bristol. The remains were located within what is today known as Nelme’s Paddock and are likely to date to the latter half of the 17th century. The remains consisted of 36 individuals of all ages and both sexes. There were a high proportion of children which is normal for the time period concerned. The average stature of the individuals fell within the normal range of the Post-Medieval period. Of the diseases present, it was noteworthy that osteoarthritis was most common amongst the men and the hip joint was mainly affected. This suggests a pattern which may be related to a specific activity, namely farming. Three young children aged between 1.5 and 2 years also had scurvy, a condition caused by the lack of vitamin C. The deficiency is likely to have been related to when the children were weaned and the change to a solid diet did not provide them with sufficient vitamin C. The seasonal availability of vegetables may also have played a part in the development of the condition. The teeth of the adults were also generally in a poor condition with a high level of caries and abscesses. Many teeth had also been lost before death. This reflects a diet high in starchy food such as bread and possibly sticky food such as dried fruits.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Commissioning bodyBristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Number of pages48
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Human
  • Skeletal
  • Archaeology
  • Scurvy

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