Life expectancy has risen quite dramatically during the last 100 years or so, largely due to improved standards of living and health care. The most common causes of mortality today have become the degenerative diseases of old age such as heart disease, strokes and neoplastic disease. Medieval Aberdonians probably succumbed to infectious diseases that are generally regarded as of little significance to the modern western world, such as influenza, cholera and typhoid. It is rarely possible to determine cause of death in archaeological populations, SK 239 being the only individual in the present group for whom cause of death could be given.
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