A Medieval/Early Modern Alpine Population from Zweisimmen, Switzerland: A Comparative Study of Anthropology and Palaeopathology

Somers, Joke; Cooper-Fotsing, Christine; Alterauge, Amelie Sophie; Lösch, Sandra (2017). A Medieval/Early Modern Alpine Population from Zweisimmen, Switzerland: A Comparative Study of Anthropology and Palaeopathology. International journal of osteoarchaeology, 27(6), pp. 958-972. John Wiley & Sons 10.1002/oa.2607

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To date, anthropological comparative studies from Switzerland are rare. Therefore, this research aims to make a comparison between the alpine individuals from Zweisimmen (ca. 14th–19th), and 17 other rural and urban populations from Switzerland all dating to the medieval and early modern period. An osteoarchaeological analysis was carried out on the rural population of Zweisimmen, consisting of 134 skeletons. For each individual, the arm position and orientation were observed in the field, while preservation, representation, sex, age, stature, trauma and pathologies were recorded in the laboratory. These results were compared with data from published and grey literature in order to gain a better understanding of chronological and regional patterns in Switzerland. A chronological development was observed in the orientation, arm position and use of a coffin, which suggests a change in burial practices and beliefs throughout time. The demographic profile represents a natural mortality; however, children and especially neonates are underrepresented in this sample. Some individuals were buried in groups, suggesting simultaneous burial during a period of increased mortality. The palaeopathological findings suggest that the living conditions in rural alpine Zweisimmen were similar to those of other contemporaneous populations, as well as those living in an urban setting.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Anthropology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Somers, Joke; Cooper-Fotsing, Christine; Alterauge, Amelie Sophie and Lösch, Sandra

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
900 History > 940 History of Europe

ISSN:

1047-482X

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

17 Oct 2017 11:21

Last Modified:

30 Aug 2019 10:09

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/oa.2607

Uncontrolled Keywords:

bioanthropology; cemetery; demography; pathology; rural population

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.105307

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/105307

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