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5.2 Human Skeletal Remains

Human skeletal remains are one of our only direct connections with people in the past and they can help us determine information about the health and life expectancy of the inhabitants of medieval town such as Aberdeen. Whilst the present report is concerned primarily with the articulated burials, the disarticulated material recovered from the general graveyard soil was used for the determination of the minimum number of individuals represented. This allowed the examination of the age distribution of the sample and broadens the picture of pathology and the general description of the group. Articulated individuals are identified by the prefix 'SK'.

This section summarises findings from both Carmelite friary excavations after ensuring compatibility of data. A full report on the human skeletal remains from the 1994 excavation can be found in the physical archive, whilst the 1980-1 results were published in Stones 1989. Recording methods varied slightly between excavations, the prefix 'SK' being assigned to both articulated skeletons and isolated calvaria (skull not including the lower jaw) in 1980-1 but to articulated burials only in 1994. The isolated 1980-1 calvaria were excluded from the 'SK' sample for the present report. There were 107 SKs from 1980-1 (labelled SK 1-126) and 86 (SK 201-265 and SK 301-324) from 1994 giving a total sample of 193 individuals. Full details of all skeletons and conditions are available in the physical archive.

Over four fifths of the burials were recovered from the confines of the church, this material generally being both more complete and in better condition that that recovered from outwith the church.


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